UAE: Most employees have a second job or business, expert says

Having 'something on the side' is becoming more common, particularly among Gen Z employees


Waad Barakat

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Published: Thu 23 May 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 23 May 2024, 11:04 AM

In the UAE private sector, it is not uncommon for employees to have a side hustle. Recruitment experts said it is important for employees and job-seekers to discuss this with potential employers during the interview process.

Kameron Hutchinson, recruitment director at Allsopp & Allsopp, advised job-seekers to be upfront during interviews.

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"You should research the employer you're considering; if they have a strict policy that requires 100 per cent of your time, that's not the right employer for you," Hutchinson told Khaleej Times.

Hutchinson noted that the key is to ensure that the full-time job remains the main focus.

"You should not be misleading during an interview. If you can give 100 per cent of what the employer requires and you have some time and energy left over to do something on the side, follow your passion and go for it," he said.

Kameron Hutchinson
Kameron Hutchinson

When asked about how common it is for employees to have a second source of income in the UAE, Hutchinson noted that it is very common.

"It's already happening — many corporates and firms are changing their policies to allow people to have something on the side other than their full-time job," he said. "That's why we love Dubai — you can do many things at once, you don't have to be confined to one job."

Hutchinson, a British expatriate, noted the mental difference between the UAE and his home country. "In the UK, the mentality is to have a 9-5 job, 30 days of annual leave and that's it," he said.

Hutchinson said that side hustles could include running an active social media brand that generates income from views or collaborations, without a full-time commitment.

"Some people need a full-time job to afford their passion on the side," he explained.

Hutchinson also recommended building an effective relationship with your employer.

"If you show up to an interview and say 'Hello, I want this job but I have a side hustle,' the chances are that the employer won't favour you," he said.

"But if you have been giving your full performance, impressing the employer, and showing your true value, then you can have a discussion with them about it.”

Nicki Wilson, owner and managing director of Genie Recruitment, has noticed that having part-time jobs in addition to a full-time job is becoming more common, especially among younger Generation Z employees.

Wilson explains: "Especially Gen Z, they're very interested in this. Most of them are very entrepreneurial. They like to advance their skills in different areas, and not be limited to one role."

Wilson also called on employers to be open-minded.

“Employers who are ‘closed off’ to the idea of employees having side businesses or part-time work actually might be missing out on really great people."

She believes that having a second job takes a lot of balance and organisational skills.

Nicki Wilson
Nicki Wilson

From Wilson's perspective as a recruitment professional, this trend can be beneficial, as it allows employees to develop skills and contacts that complement their primary job.

She describes one of her employees who has a brownie business on the side. "This helps her stay connected to clients in the food and beverage industry that Genie Recruitment also serves," she added.

Wilson believes that as long as the second job does not significantly distract an employee from his or her primary job duties, it can be a positive thing. Forward-thinking employers should accommodate, she added.

"If it's not affecting your work and is not reducing your hours at your main job, that's not a big problem," Wilson said.


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