The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked rapid digitalization, hybrid working patterns, a strong startup sector, and a changing talent landscape, all of which have changed the labor market. The workforce, workplace, and work platforms in the world of work are undergoing a paradigm transformation. The lines separating work are being blurred daily thanks to new technology and younger employees. The global pandemic outbreak liberated work from the confines of the office and unlocked the gig economy.
The gig economy has been around for a while, but it has only recently gained popularity on a global scale. The gig economy has been sparked by the changing dynamics and expectations of today’s working population, the fiercer competition for talent, and the globalization of labor. ASSOCHAM anticipates that the gig economy in India will top $455 billion by 2024, even though it is still in its infancy. The gig economy is poised to take over as the future of work as firms and workers see the advantages of contractual and freelancing options.
What is gig economy?
A gig economy is an economic activity that hires freelance, contract, or temporary workers to do specific tasks or projects. All platforms that hire independent contractors, freelancers, consultants, and gig workers from a variety of industries, including IT, digital marketing, communication, food and beverage, content production, and art and design, are included in this category. As a result, a gig economy suggests that an organization will hire professionals on a temporary or part-time basis rather than traditional workers.
Preferred among Gen Z and millennial workers
Around 30 million Indians between the ages of 20 and 29 were estimated to be unemployed in 2021, per CMIE. The emerging millennial and Gen Z workforce was forced to reconsider their job choices, work schedules, and workplace preferences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The gig economy has emerged as the top option for the youthful working population due to its flexibility, as well as its competitive remuneration, range of projects, and autonomy. The gig economy allows millennial workers to sign contracts with top companies around the world, work on the projects they are most passionate about, and maintain a healthy work-life balance while they escape the bustle and grind of office culture.
An opening for companies during the epidemic
Organizations almost immediately switched to remote working styles as the epidemic spread, which delayed projects, cost them clients and customers, and caused significant losses. For a variety of technical and non-technical initiatives, many companies, including MNCs and startups, have turned to freelancers, contractual employees, and gig workers. Organizations can lower operational, administrative, and labor costs by using this approach. Additionally, by hiring qualified individuals to complete projects, businesses can increase their knowledge and productivity without having to pay for permanent employees’ benefits such as annual salaries, training, development, etc.
India’s emergence of startup culture
The Indian startup environment has been expanding exponentially over the past few years. India has registered more than 14,000 firms in the preceding six years and boasts the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. Indian entrepreneurs have been innovating with their workforce and business strategies since they are used to defying conventions. Startups are choosing to make use of the expertise provided by freelance and gig workers at lower costs rather than incurring significant fixed expenditures by hiring full-time employees. As a result, businesses with limited money and resources can outsource tasks to subject-matter specialists and strengthen their technological foundations.
Technology: A Major Facilitator
Contrary to common assumption, technology has not disrupted businesses or jobs; rather, it has increased the number of jobs and improved several corporate processes. As a result, there is a constant and excessive demand from businesses for tech talent. Additionally, the epidemic around the world has sparked a demand for quick digitalization across all businesses. To speed up their technological transformation, many organizations are outsourcing tech projects to freelancers and gig workers due to the ongoing tech talent shortage. Many highly qualified professionals can now join the gig economy instead of being tied to the traditional employment market because of technological empowerment.
Growth of platforms for online freelancing
The number of online marketplaces and venues for freelancing has increased recently. There were just 80 freelancing platforms in India in 2009; by 2021, there will be 330. With the help of websites like UniGigs and Upwork, freelancers, gig workers, big and small businesses, and others can connect in a mutually beneficial environment. These internet platforms are ushering in a new era of work where corporations and employees have equal freedom and flexibility and professional relationships are symbiotic. A growing gig economy is being sparked by the shifting nature of work, which is altering corporate structures and empowering the workforce towards self-employment.
The Future Route
The gig economy is expanding and is anticipated to at least double its pre-pandemic levels as a result of roaring technology advancements, the nature of work’s ongoing evolution, and the global pandemic. The gig economy is being hailed as the new working-class standard with an expected surge of gig workers and freelancers. The gig economy has the potential to completely alter the way that we think about and do work, driven by technology empowerment and supported by government policies and programs.
1. What is the gig economy, and how does it differ from traditional employment?
A gig is a colloquial term for a temporary position. In contrast, a GIG Economy is a free-market framework that enables businesses to employ independent employees for brief assignments. Simply said, it is a digital platform that links people and businesses in return for cash, labour, or both.
2. What are the advantages of working in the gig economy for individuals?
An increase in affordable and effective services, as well as the flexibility that comes with a flexible work schedule, are all advantages of the gig economy. The problem of underutilized customers and asset owners is resolved by the sharing economy.
3. What are the potential downsides or challenges of gig work for both individuals and businesses?
In the gig economy, employees must always be on the lookout for their next opportunity or ready for adjustments to their current one. Not everyone is suitable for this lifestyle; the majority of people prefer having stable careers.
4. What industries are most impacted by the gig economy, and how do they adapt to this change?
The gig economy is expanding quickly as organizations and people find innovative ways to collaborate. We observe more workflow flexibility, increased independence, and much more. In fact, one of the most notable industries where the gig economy is still expanding is the information technology industry.
5. How can individuals succeed and thrive in the gig economy?
The gig economy provides a variety of opportunities for different people, however, pay scales differ depending on the work and region. Gig workers should manage their finances wisely to succeed in the long run, including tax planning, insurance planning, and retirement security.
6. What role do technology platforms and apps play in facilitating the gig economy?
Customers & gig workers are frequently connected using digital technology and gig apps. The gig economy, is a recent trend that has risen as a result of various circumstances. The following are the two most crucial factors: The workforce is more mobile now.