Imagine having a job that is flexible, offers adequate work-life balance, and also allows you to be your own boss? Sounds more like a dream? But today, with the emergence of the booming “gig economy” in our country, the time has come for the dream to become true.
It is not a secret anymore that millennial nowadays are increasingly feeling fed up with micromanagement or the demanding nature of cubicle-oriented 9 to 5 corporate jobs. And this is exactly where “gig economy” comes to their rescue.
By definition, a “gig” means a project, task or assignment, for which a person is hired on-demand, and in most cases, by digital or virtual means. Alongside the usual office-based workforce employed on a full-time basis, gig workers are now slowly but steadily becoming an indispensable part of companies of the 21st century, especially in the urban context.
With the start-up ecosystem in India burgeoning in an unprecedented manner, many companies nowadays wish to hire freelancers or independent contractors instead of full-timers, resultantly strengthening the outlook of the gig economy. A recent report conducted by a reputed job portal outlines towards this paradigm shift in our job markets; it also concludes that a significant percentage of employees in our country are willing to give up on the perks that normally come with a permanent job (such as bonuses or insurance policies), in exchange for a greater flexibility in terms of working and the freedom to choose multiple assignments based on their skill sets.
Niche talents who have an in-depth understanding of new-age technologies and skills will be the “rock stars” or “gigsters” of this economy. In many progressive nations, the idea of gig economy has already made deep inroads. It is estimated through a LinkedIn study that by 2020, 43% of workers in the USA’s labor market would be independent contractors or freelance workers. With the likes of ride-hailing platforms like Uber at the helm of this concept, India also is poised to embrace this culture to the fullest. As per a recent PayPal report, India currently contributes 1 out of 4 freelancers across the globe. Of course, the push for a digital economy and government initiatives like “Digital India” are adding to the momentum, and posing convenience for today’s gig workers.
Gig economy actually promotes the “individual-based” working culture, wherein one’s obligations towards a company or enterprise are minimal or negligible. Understandably, this concept is shaking and challenging the old-school belief system of career growth, which said that sticking to a single enterprise for a longer period of time can prove to be beneficial for your career trajectory.
The gig economy is also rendered unique as it offers gen-x to work on their own terms and a space for creativity to flourish; individuals who are a part of this obtain the freedom to opt working for projects which they are passionate about, and reject the rather mundane ones that are not aligned to their creative vision or skill sets. Whereas in the recent past, creative portfolios such as writing and editing or graphic designing have paved the way for the most numbers of freelancing opportunities, and consultancies and IT-related roles (programmers, developers) catered to contract jobs, other service sectors and industries are now catching up with the “gig economy” mandate. For instance, some sectors which are expected to give rise to a significant number of gig workers in the coming times include construction, real estate, hospitality and tourism, and so on.
As emerging technologies become all-encompassing and entwined in our daily work regime, digitized businesses are taking note of increasing preference by their employees for flexible work arrangement. It is also true that embracing the gig economy somewhat eliminates the need for in-house skilling or upskilling of their regular workforce. Hence, the gig economy not only helps firms reduce internal financial pressures and bring in cost savings up to a great extent, but it also provides a win-win situation for both workers and organizations.
All of this goes to show why the gig economy is a trend that is going to not only stay but change the dynamics of job markets altogether, by breaking stereotypes and slashing limitations.