The gig economy has made seemingly impossible things possible. The way jobs and employment prevailed before the advent and pervasion of technology further drastically evolved due to the emergence of the gig economy. Reports find a rapid rise in Gig Economy in India, notably during and post-pandemic. This article brings you closer insights into the future of the gig economy in India.
What is the gig economy?
A gig economy is a market where independent workers and companies work in a coalition. The payment terms rely on a per gig or per-project basis in contrast to salaries paid periodically to full-time employees. Though the term gig economy may sound recent, the freelance industry and contractual work agreements always thrived.
Types of gig workers
Mc Kinsey segregates gig workers into four categories:
- Free agents: Those gig workers undertake gig jobs by choice, depending on them for their primary source of income.
- Supplemental income: Casual earners that explore gig opportunities out of their choice to make a side income.
- Reluctants: Gig workforce that is primarily dependent on gig jobs for making ends meet and working in gigs out of necessity.
- Financially strapped: Gig workers who want to supplement their income and take up gig jobs out of necessity.
Gig economy examples
According to a report jointly published by global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and non-profit organization Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, gig economy examples for jobs comprise “lower-income job-types such as deliveries, ridesharing, microtasks, care, and wellness.”
Well-known gig economy examples in India include firms such as Uber, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy, Flipkart, Urban Company, OYO, etc., that predominantly prevail on the gig workforce.
Gig workforce in the corporate sector
On the flip side, the emergence of the gig economy in the corporate sector is in its infancy. With the pandemic driven upswing in the job changes, rise in entrepreneurial mindset, and working from anywhere giving employees the taste of flexible working, the future of the corporate workplace is all about leveraging the gig force.
- Industry experts believe that those companies that do not utilize a gig workforce might risk falling behind.
- According to various reports, 50%-76% of the workforce in service sectors in India comprises white-collar gig workers.
With corporates finding it lucrative to hire gig workers, experts predict a rise in demand for professionals such as branding consultants, software and mobile app developers, design, software development, writing, video editing, music, social media marketing, web development, SEO, and digital marketing.
Statistics of gig economy in India
Though the US is the current leader in the gig economy market, India possesses a massive potential to supply gig workers, thanks to the boost in technology adoption, increased acceptance of virtual working, and availability of a skilled and affordable talent pool.
The gig economy in India is emerging as one of the impactful sectors in its economy. Studies find that the contribution of gig platforms to the economy of developing countries is around 5-12%, in contrast to 1-4% of that in developed countries.
According to Niti Aayog, gig-platform-based organizations generated more than 2 million jobs since 2019. Their services as frontline workers during the pandemic have brought to attention the necessity to recognize the potency of the gig workforce. In September 2020, the Indian Parliament passed a new labor code, The Code on Social Security 2020.
- India ranks 7th in the global talent pool of science and engineering graduates.
- The gig economy in India is predicted to triple in the next decade, thanks to its potential to create 90 million gig jobs.
- The resulting economy would be worth $250 billion, which approximates to around 1.25% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the long term.
- The main sectors that would give an impetus to gig work are – manufacturing, construction, retail, and transportation and logistics.
The gig economy in India is also playing its part in closing the wage parity. A study on “The Impact of COVID 19 and Industry 4.0 on Future of Work for Women, An Insight from Formal Sector in India” highlights the potential of the gig economy in India to attract and empower more women.
This survey stresses that virtual working will be the new normal across the roles that demand a skilled workforce across advanced technologies such as digital information, artificial intelligence, robotization, and machine learning.
Reasons for the rise of the gig economy in India
With the pandemic-infused job uncertainty, there is a visible rise in entrepreneurial mindset in the employees.
A finding from the Association of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) indicates the role of millennials in the rise of the gig economy in India. With more lucrative gig openings in India and globally, the number of Gen Z workers keen to explore the gig economy for various reasons is ever increasing.
An analysis about the trigger to this spurring rise in the gig economy in India reveals further fascinating insights:
- Autonomy to choose work and employer
- Ability to work from anywhere
- Save travel time and costs
- Eliminate formal embroiling processes
- Scope to sell talent for a higher charge, and
- Freedom to balance work and life as against traditional 9-5 full-time jobs.
Role of digital transformation in gig economy
Organizations are increasingly recognizing the necessity to transform their businesses by leveraging automation and Artificial Intelligence.
The necessity to reimagine businesses to catch the pace of changing technology trends and customers’ mindset could fuel the demand for gig workers across technology, software, AI, and automation. This steeply rises the necessity for companies to hire tech gig professionals.
Future of gig economy in India
Agility, cost, and accessibility are the key driving factors why businesses prefer the gig workforce. Freedom, autonomy, and entrepreneurial mindset are what drive professionals towards the gig economy.
The necessity for gig workers exists for industries of any size. Business giants can save corporate real estate expenses, eliminate the costs of bad hires, and scale up their talent pool at affordable costs.
On the other hand, budding businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs can seamlessly access a wider qualified global talent pool that can reimagine their growth trajectory without any hassles.
The future of the gig economy in India is all about a symbiotic relationship between companies and gig workers in reimagining the future of the workplace.