Future of Freelancers in an Era of Gig Economy

The world is witnessing a dramatic increase in the number of freelancers, and workers are continuously seeking to escape the rigid demands of the 9-5 corporate environment. The digital disruption and booming start-up culture have propelled the evolution of the gig economy off late. Regarded as “the future of work” or Workforce 2.0, Gig Economy is driven by the plethora of freelance opportunities with flexible work hours without any time barriers. A recent study by McKinsey has estimated that up to 20-30% of the workforce in developed markets is engaged in independent work. With more millennials moving towards business management and Gen Z participating in the workforce, a massive shift towards freelancing work can be observed.

In the US, it is predicted that by 2023, 50% of the workforce will be freelancers, whereas an industry estimate suggests that the Indian freelance/gig market size is expected to grow to a mammoth $20-30 billion by 2025.

Gig Economy has started a wave that has efficiently empowered both recruiters and employees. The rapid growth in the development of gig markets and increased dependency on a fluid workforce is disrupting the traditional hiring module for corporations and making outsourcing and consulting more viable. Be it a small medium enterprise or a multinational organisation; both are drifting towards this model which enhances their productivity and time management skills. According to an EY report, 20 per cent of organisations globally with more than 1,000 employees have a workforce that is made up of 30 per cent or more contingent workers.

India’s Freelance Market

India is currently the largest freelancer market in the world. Web, mobile development, web-designing, internet research and data entry are the key focus areas for Indian freelancers while there is a gradual rise in accounting, graphic design and consulting fields as well. The future of freelancers in India will tend to grow, with every month, more than 500,000 new businesses are being set up.

Workers on Project Basis

The freelancing model and gig economy allows large organisations to tap freelancers with multiple skills for the price of a single employee. In recent years, India has witnessed an impetus trend in this space with global firms hiring contingent workers on a project basis. The rise in internet penetration, cloud computing and other technologies have combined to make working remotely possible for freelancers across the globe. In fact, this has also given rise to a lot of crowdsourcing platforms that are continually working towards bridging the gap between the clients and the freelancers. Gig workers or freelancers are using these platforms to search for jobs and tasks. Optimum utilisation of tools like AI to sort the freelancers profile on these platforms makes it easy for clients to visit and choose the right fit as per their requirements. They also safeguard the interest of both freelancer and client by providing internal communication tools that keep a tap on the payment as well on the delivery of a product.

Freelancers are the future workforce

It offers a career which is lucrative and provides a measure of personal satisfaction. Indeed, it has challenges too like how companies and freelancers can strike the right communication balance, accurate communication of brief, how to deal with too many revisions and to receive payments timely, safe and secure manner is one of the critical concerns of this community. While the gig economy has some disadvantages, it is expected to see more millennials joining the freelance workforce and the introduction of crowdsourcing platforms such as Designhill or Fiverr who provide work opportunities to thousands of freelancers from all over the world. But to successfully utilise the gig economy as a way of engaging the growing workforce of the economy, many other factors like skill levels and technological access of the masses have to fall in the right place.