Pre-pandemic, nearly half of all gig workers were concentrated in two sectors – retail trade and transportation, which is rapidly giving way to nearly 35 per cent of gig workers being employed in the IT sector.
Soon every third 'employee' of an IT organisation will be a gig worker, reveals a joint study by global management consulting and strategy advisory firm Zinnov and Microsoft.
This is especially significant, given the current dichotomy of mass layoffs and skilled labour shortage that companies are grappling with. As organisations explore new, innovative business models to circumvent this dichotomy, they will increasingly engage with the rising gig economy.
The study titled, 'Unlocking the Power of the Gig Economy with Cloud PC', highlights that gig workers will play an instrumental role in enabling India's $5 trillion economy, with the current 7.7 million-strong gig workforce leading the charge.
With this talent pool set to more than triple to a massive 23.5 million by 2030, these workers will generate $250 billion of work, says the study.
The study also explores the industry challenges that the gig workforce faces, and reveals that in the post-pandemic business environment, finance & insurance, and IT sectors are witnessing 31 per cent and 20 per cent increased engagement with gig workers.
Engaging with the gig economy is not only beneficial for enterprises, but gig workers as well, notes the study.
Viewed through the economical, operational, and innovation lens, gig workers benefit through high-paying, multiple short-term jobs that enable flexibility. It also allows for rapid upskilling while in some cases, enables investment in passions and interests that pay them.
For enterprises, engagement with the gig workforce ensures cost savings, flexibility of an ad-hoc, project-based working model that can be scaled or descaled quickly, enable quick onboarding, and access to highly skilled, niche talent.
However, engaging with gig workers comes with its own set of challenges, including concerns around data security, IP theft, access management, cultural orientation, etc. These challenges span across planning, onboarding, execution, and payment phases in the lifecycle of gig workers.
The study reveals that more than 70 per cent of CXOs feel that onboarding and execution are the two difficult yet crucial phases, addressing which can enable widespread adoption of the gig economy model.
Technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and cybersecurity are being leveraged to address such challenges in a transparent and productive way.
Cloud technology, which enabled the seamless transition to remote work, will be critical in addressing the challenges of the gig economy. It enables independent professionals such as gig workers to operate remotely, communicate freely, and navigate financial and technical complexities with dexterity and ease.
Bhaskar Basu, Country Head, Modern Work, Microsoft India, said technology is a key enabler of the gig economy and will play a foundational role in defining the future of work and workplaces. “To thrive in a hybrid world, people and organisations need solutions that are fluid, dynamic, and cloud-powered.”
"The current dichotomy of skilled talent deficit and layoffs, underscore the importance of a strong gig workforce strategy. With every enterprise in need of digital skills such as AI, automation, data analytics, etc., leaders will look to the gig workforce to fulfil short- to medium-term projects on an ad-hoc basis. With the percentage of gig workers in IT organisations expected to touch 35per cent in the near future, newer enabling engagement models and platforms will take center stage," added Rajat Kohli, Partner at Zinnov.