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Is India on its way to becoming a Gig Economy?

Is India on its way to becoming a Gig Economy?
February 01, 2023

As a nation driven by the growing younger population we are sure that every trend that enters into the global industry will be charging its way into ours as well. As much we are interested in seeing the approach of the Indian youngsters, we are not sure how well the norms of the Indian work industry be reacting to the same. The idea of a Gig Economy resonates with some and does not with others, here is an analysis of what and how can this new mode of work make its way into India.


What is Gig Economy?


The term Gig Economy is defined by variant experts as an economy that is driven by freelance workers and contract workers, rather than permanent working employees. This is basically when the employees are open to taking up work from more than one job opening and the same is considered normal, they involve themselves in different positions which can be flexibly managed.


Thus, in an economy where no job is permanent and rather contract based, the employer would be in a position to understand your responsibilities and the fact that you are engaged with another party is not an issue at all. Unlike now when the work you do is based on a contract you cannot be associated with any other party and the same would cause an eventual termination. 


Rising Gig Economy in India


As per reports by Boston Consulting Group, the Indian gig economy now comprises 15 million people. The gig workers are spread across industry sectors like software, data science and other professional workers. As for the aspects of the gig economy go, there are only a few nations where the population has managed to make a switch to this concept. The switch is a product of many foreign organizations which work in and around the world and outsource projects in India. 


Gig economy is a product of just in time hiring business approach, read here to understand this method. 


Over the last 5 years, the rise in the number of flexible workers has been visible. With that, there has also been an increase in the number of contract resource-providing agencies.


Here is a look at the key growth driving factors for a gig economy in India;


Technology: The premise of a healthy gig economy is based on the understanding the workers are now providing technology-based services. These services can be fetched from companies in India and outside. The idea is to understand that these days people require more gig workers who can provide technical services required temporarily. The driving factors in this are twofold, the versatility of the technology that is provided by the gig workers and the increase in technological adaption. AI tech has been one of the biggest gig economy industry sector, read a detailed analysis here

Liberal Norms: The Indian economy policies are not very hard-core and allow the possibility of gig work. We as a nation do not have limited rules which only permit permanent jobs, unlike a few other nations. Our people have been given the freedom to work as they please in general, yet some companies are only open to permanent work and that is considered a personal choice. 


Demand for flexible work: Ever since the pandemic the world realized that work can be done from anywhere in the world if you have your laptop and a good internet connection. And ever since then, we have not looked back! The companies also expanded their horizons and saw that there was a scope for cost-cutting by hiring people on a contract basis and increasing their virtual business circle. At the same time, many switched their profiles to freelance workers as they preferred this mode of work as more comfortable, better income generating and hassle-free. 


E-Commerce: With the rise of the e-commerce industry in India, there has been a rise in the Indian gig economy as well. E-commerce works on services and the people involved either are into providing services or gaining them. This sector recently started rising and we have a lot of potentials to explore here. 


As much as the growth of the gig economy in India is now a prominent fact to many, we cannot be sure that this economic structure will still have all the positive impacts on our GDP. Some choose to work on contract others do not see an option until they find a job. Here are some issues that can be seen prominently in the gig economy:


Gig economy workers are not secure to be employed constantly. This means that the security provided by a decent job is nowhere in the picture. Sadly for many, this fact can be seen overpowering the people who plan to work freelance. 


As much as technology is the driving force for the gig economy we cannot ignore the fact that the people who do have access to the basic resources to provide the work in demand will have no value as gig workers. This means that the workforce that can drive the gig economy is very low in numbers at the moment.


The concept of the gig economy itself is the very concept for policymakers in India. There has not been proper research and decision-making on the same yet. Though there has not been a rejection from the end of the state, there has also not been a proper acceptance. 


Can we call India a ‘Gig Economy’?


No, not yet at least. We need to understand here that India is a huge nation, with billions of population. For a trend to entirely engrave itself in our nation’s policies would be a far-fetched plan. Thus we cannot expect India to be a gig-driven economy yet, but we can call our nation a gig-supportive work environment. The hopes are high for the switch of structures and it might happen in the coming five years which can be an interesting switch.


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