The flourishing Gig culture in India and its perspectives
The Gig economy represents an open market model in which organizations and independent workers engage in short-term work arrangements. Let’s say you’re an architect or a financial consultant and you associate yourself with a company to work for a short term say, for a project or a single product. And here you are an independent consultant outside of the company’s payroll. This is Gig working and those who work in this fashion are called Gig workers.
Now here’s something important. Gig workers are not necessarily IT professionals or delivery agents. These are people across sectors like a journalist, a writer, a software engineer, a photographer or anyone and everyone can work gigs today. In India, Gig work is expanding in all sectors like IT, retail, manufacturing, education and more.
Today there are numerous platforms that enable freelance work for gig workers in the likes of Fiverr, Upwork, Toptal, Remotely and it goes on. These platforms connect freelancers and gig workers to headhunters. They get paid per project / per job work or per day. If you have real talent and you specialize on a certain job/task, you can be a successful Gig worker.
The Gig economy has low-entry barriers and hence holds enormous potential for job creation. This naturally leads to democratization of jobs. It offers better income opportunities to those previously engaged in a similar non-platform job. e.g., a beautician or a photographer.
As per the June 2022 report from NITI Ayog, the previous year Economic Survey has noted that India has already emerged as one of the world’s largest countries for flexi-staffing (i.e., gig and platform work), and this form of work will likely continue to grow. Estimates say that in 2020–21, 77 lakh (7.7 million) workers were engaged in the gig economy which accounted to 1.5% of the total workforce in India. The size of the Gig economy has doubled in 2–3 years. This is expected to further expand to 2.35 crore (23.5 million) workers by 2029–30. Gig workers are expected to form 6.7% of the non-agricultural workforce or 4.1% of the total livelihood in India by 2029–30. At present, about 47% of the gig work is in medium skilled jobs, about 22% in high skilled, and about 31% in low skilled jobs. Trend shows the concentration of workers in medium skills is gradually declining and that of the low skilled and high skilled is increasing. The below chart is part of report that lists the key reasons why people (especially women) are motivated to continue to work as a Gig.
The Gig work offers flexibility and choice, which are the primary motivation for individuals to join this economy. As a result, this really empowers more and more women to participate in economic activities.
The report suggests:
- Access to institutional credit to platform workers and those interested to set-up their own platforms with special focus on women and persons with disabilities.
- Venture capital funding, grants and loans from banks and other funding agencies
- Linking self-employed individuals engaged in the business of selling regional and rural cuisine, street food etc. with platforms
- Accessibility awareness programmes for workers
Downside of being a Gig
Gig working also comes with its own risks and issues. It is volatile. You do not have a guaranteed / fixed income. As a result, it can be stressful and sometimes difficult to find work. If you are not able to find enough work, it may impact your cashflow. You do not get health care benefits; you are not covered by any insurance. As a result, you it can be difficult to feel safe in the gig economy. Some people feel gig work becomes tiring and stressful after a while.
So why would someone choose to be a Gig?
The reason that people prefer working gigs over job safety and stability is because, our world has changed, and the job market too. People are no longer sticking at one job. There are plenty of opportunities and there are enough talents and now everything is connected and accessible to everyone via social media and other channels. Today people value their time and independence over job safety and security.
What about the future?
I do predict that, the increased adaption of remote work will further democratize the Gig work in future and will open up new / unexplored opportunities. Even the traditional 9 to 5 office work is already undergoing a transformation to become more or less hybrid in nature. There is a fair chance that this shall further lean towards being like Gig work. If you want to test a new job or add some extra income to your bottom line every month, nothing wrong exploring it in the Gig way.
Hope this article was useful and informative. What do you think about the booming Gig culture and Gig Workers in India? Will this be the future of work? Please do leave your comments below.
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Originally published at https://www.mumas.in on July 31, 2022.