By Prashant Janadri
The gig economy includes all platforms that hire independent workers across sectors like e-commerce, technology, food and beverages, and home services, among others. India has always had a large reserve of informal gig workers. The pandemic pushed a lot of them out of work. CMIE data showed that a whopping 113.6 million people lost their jobs between March and April 2020. As people went searching for new jobs, with many industries being down in the doldrums, the gig economy became their primary focus. India currently has a pool of 15 million freelance workers working on projects in IT, HR, and design. In addition, India’s workforce is growing by 4 million people annually. And as most of them are young millennials, they are showing an increasing preference for gig contracts. The prevalent start-up economy in the country has also given a push to the gig economy, as hiring full-time employees leads to high fixed costs, and thus contractual freelancers are hired for non-core activities.
Gig workers are those who are engaged in livelihoods outside the traditional employer-employee arrangement relationship. They are broadly classified into two forms : platform and non-platform workers. Platform workers are those whose work is based on software apps or digital platforms and it is mostly a digital task whereas non platform gig workers are those who are generally casual wage workers and own account workers in the conventional sectors, working part-time or full time and it is mostly hyperlocal tasks.
Gig work is mostly project-based; workers are hired to complete a particular task or for a certain period of time. In some cases, they have an employer, but the company that pays them is different from the one at which they work. The main characteristics of gig work is scheduling, flexibility,and independence. Given the diversity of non-standard work, these characteristics may be seen as positive or negative.
What are the roles in top demand?
A recent report by Taskmo, stated that quick commerce, health tech, fintech, and e-commerce were the top sectors in the Indian gig space and Gen Z and millennials constitute 48 percent of the gig economy.
According to a report, Business development executives, field sales executives, last mile delivery executives, digital promoters, brands promoters and micro influencers are some of the top jobs that are in demand among recruiters as well as gig workers. .
As the gig economy works on an outcome based model, skills and money are directly proportional to each other. Gig workers can work on different tasks like rider, delivery person and content moderation on the same day, So the more diverse skills you have the more income you can generate.
Skills like communication, emotional intelligence, listening, quick learning, psychology, adaptability, willingness to learn and empathy will help every gig worker to diversify income sources.
Nowadays workers are more inclined towards the gig economy over full-time employment due to the flexibility and independence it has to offer. Also it has created better opportunities for teenagers to find more work across the globe and made work more adaptable to the changing needs and demands for flexible lifestyles. With Gig, teenagers can make lifestyle choices that a conventional full-time job would not allow. It gives them the opportunity to choose when and where to work and at the same time determine working hours according to their convenience.
The gig economy is the fastest-growing part of the workforce, and it is a labour market characterised by short-term contracts or temporary work. Companies in today’s digital world are adapting their business models to attract more and more freelancers due to their agility, skillset, and reduced cost.
As per a report by MasterCard, India’s gig sector is expected to increase to US$455 billion at a CAGR of 17% by 2023 and has the potential to expand at least 2 times the pre-pandemic estimates. In another estimate by India Brand Equity Foundation, the country is likely to have 350 million gig jobs by 2025, presenting a huge opportunity for job seekers to capitalise and adapt to the changing work dynamics. It will outnumber jobs in various industries such as finance, retail, and construction. The future of the gig economy is secure due to pioneering companies that are helping reimagine the workforce. As more people continue to opt for the on-demand workforce, the Gig industry has the potential to revolutionise the traditional job market.
The author is co-founder at Taskmo. Views are personal.