“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs
With the emergence of the gig economy, job seekers have a greater chance to pursue work that aligns with their skills and interests, while also getting the flexibility they desire.
The gig economy has grown rapidly in recent years due to increasing demand for work flexibility and reducing stigma attached to gig work, presenting new opportunities for job seekers to explore freelance or short-term contracts instead of traditional employment.
According to the Decoding Jobs 2023 report, it is estimated that the gig workforce in India will increase by over 110 lakh workers by 2025. NITI Aayog’s 2022 report on India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy also predicts that the gig economy could potentially increase to 2.35 crore workers by 2030.
While gig work can provide individuals with the freedom to work on their own terms, and choose their own hours, it also poses certain challenges. In this article, we’ll explore the opportunities and challenges that job seekers can encounter in the evolving gig economy.
Why is the Gig Economy growing?
Managing volatility through gig work: Gig work has become an attractive solution to manage volatility in today’s dynamic market. Many businesses are uncertain about their future prospects and are hesitant to hire full-time employees. In such an environment, gig work provides a flexible, cost-effective alternative that allows businesses to scale up or down as needed.
Success of gig operations: The past trend has demonstrated the success of gig operations, whether in jobs that require low competence or very high competence. For example, ride-sharing platforms such as Uber have revolutionized the transportation industry, while freelance websites like Upwork and Fiverr have made it easy for individuals to offer their skills and services to a global market. The success of these platforms has inspired the emergence of gig work across a variety of industries, from healthcare to marketing.
Access to larger talent pool: According to Pooja Velhal, Head Talent, L’ship, OD, Culture at Schaeffler, “Gig workforce has emerged as an important talent management strategy for organizations.” Companies are able to quickly source freelancers or independent contractors for a specific task or project. It enables them to access global talent with a wider range of skills and expertise.
Challenges and Opportunities for Job Seekers
Gig workers often have to deal with fluctuating and delayed payouts due to the irregular nature of their job. They typically do not have access to the same benefits and security as full-time employees, such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid leaves. Furthermore, in the current times, gig workers also face the challenges of limited job opportunities. Perhaps a Recruitment Process Outsourcing organisation can help with more opportunities.
Even though gig work has its challenges, the future of job seekers looks bright. Organizations are preparing for the rise of gig work and are getting the groundwork done to induce this mode of operations in the next 3-6 months. They are investing in technologies and processes that will enable them to seamlessly integrate gig workers into their operations, including talent marketplaces, digital onboarding, and training programs. Thus, the scale of gig operations will pick up the pace by Q3 2024.
Gig work platforms like Awign provide abundant opportunities for workers across India. With over 15L gig partners and 11 crore completed projects, Awign has become a reliable platform for gig work. The gig economy is expanding beyond blue-collar jobs, with a 240% increase in white-collar or high-skilled gig workers, especially in tech roles.
Top gig work categories include Auditing, Invigilation, and Data operations, and there is a significant rise in gig work participation from Tier 2 and 3 cities.
Additionally, there has been a 187% increase in women gig partner registrations. The government has taken steps to safeguard the future of gig work in India through the Social Security Code of 2020, which includes extending social security measures and introducing gratuity for gig workers.
The Way Forward
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The future depends on what you do today.” In the context of gig work, this quote emphasizes the importance of taking action to build your skills and establish your personal brand. This involves investing in upskilling and training to develop your expertise, building a strong online presence to showcase your work and attract clients, as well as carefully reviewing the terms of any contracts or agreements before accepting work.
About the Author
Pankaj Bansal is the Co- founder of Taggd and Work Universe (a Fund investing in jobs and work tech). He is a non-executive director at Karmayogi Bharat (Capacity building or Civil Servants) and many other startups. Follow him on Twitter at @pankajbansalPB.