The most popular roles among MENA independent consultants

24 May 2024 2 min. read
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The market of independent professionals in the Middle East is growing rapidly, according to analysis from Outsized. What are the most popular roles among freelance consultants in the region?

The freelance platform’s ‘Talent-On-Demand 2024’ report, a wide-ranging look at the freelance market in the MENA region, shows a huge demand for independent consultants thanks to major transformation programs under Vision 2030 banners and construction projects like Saudi Arabia’s Neom and other mega projects.

Such work is driving demand for external consultants, with independent professionals snatching a growing share of the overall market.

The most popular roles among MENA independent consultants

The region is going through rapid development and digital transformation, which means local work culture has also been shifting towards the agile and flexible models that have already emerged as the new normal in Europe and North America after the pandemic.

Most of the demand for independent consultants is in areas like finance, risk, production, sales, marketing, and more. Another crucial area is ESG and sustainability, as countries in the region (especially the GCC nations) are rapidly shifting away from fossil fuels with ambitious net-zero goals.

The UAE and Oman have set a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, while Saudi Arabia has a 2060 goal.

“In high-growth markets like the MENA, more businesses are recognizing the value of agility and specialized expertise that on-demand skilled professionals provide,” said Azeem Zainulbhai, co-founder and chief product officer at Outsized.

“This change highlights the fading myth that the gig economy is reserved for low-skill or low-value talent, signaling a strategic transition towards a more data-informed and technology-focused business environment.”

It has been difficult for companies in the Middle East to keep up with the incredibly rapid pace of development and digitalization. That has led to talent gaps in certain sectors, including tech. Along with more freelance recruiting, there has also been an uptick in companies retraining and reskilling their talent.

Moving forward, 2024 will likely see companies embracing a more holistic approach to agile talent, according to Outsized. Employers will begin to see freelance services as a competitive advantage to be leveraged at scale, not only for specific projects here and there.

In another recent report on independent consulting, Malt (a rival of Outsized) found that most freelancers in Europe are very content with working independently. Its study suggested that six in ten European freelancers was not looking to go back to a salaried full-time position in the future, with autonomy and flexibility the main benefits for most freelancers surveyed.