Gig Economy: Reshaping The Future Workforce In India

Modern-day economies are witnessing spree changes due to the adoption of newer technology, work environment, and public preferences. A rapidly evolving startup ecosystem, the pandemic, the unconventional work approach of Gen Y and Z, and the recent emergence of self-employment have moved participation in the gig workforce. In India, the gig economy has picked up pace over three to four years. And today, it has become the most flexible platform to work. India's ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ has reshaped the present business environment and introduced the gig economy to the labor markets. The burgeoning millennial workforce is avoiding being stuck in 9 to 5 jobs and driving the creation of this gig economy.

Indeed, technology is playing a crucial role in accommodating their work and family life, including the preference of workplaces offering the option of freelancing with projects that suit them best. The future of work includes changing business models where technological empowerment will empower the rise of self-employment, leading to a larger gig economy. If ‘gig’ reminds you of jazz musicians, you would not be wrong. For a long time, the term was associated with musicians. In the present context, it involves independent contractors across all industries – including software development, content writing, graphic design, maintenance crew, and teaching, to name a few, and the list is expanding.

The evolving requirements of today’s working populace, the globalization, and the war for talent in the workforce are just a few reasons to kick start the GIG economy in a big way

Building Gig Economy for PAN India
Independence & flexibility has become the new mantra of the present workforce and the popularity of the gig economy. Fast digitization has led to disruption in the labor market. There is a paradigm shift in the workforce, workplaces, and work platforms in the age of Tech NextGen. The evolving requirements of today’s working populace, the globalization, and the war for talent in the workforce are just a few reasons to kick start the GIG economy in a big way. Even though the gig economy is relatively developing in India, talent and skills are building the economy for pan India. The fast-paced project-based economy is a free market system in which companies collaborate with freelancers, experts, independent contractors, project-based workers, and part-time employees. The companies can be small businesses or larger organizations that hire people from all over the country. The independent skilled workers are the gamechanger in this scenario.

Firms pay independent workers to complete a gig. They're increasingly mobile, can work from anywhere, and have the freedom to choose between temporary jobs worldwide. The three groups of independent workers, including labor providers, goods providers, and knowledge and skill providers, seek opportunities. According to an ASSOCHAM report, there are 15 million freelance or gig workers across India. The growth of social commerce in the country positively affects the employment opportunities for these millions of gig workers. A 2019 World Bank report elucidated that digital platforms scale up faster and lower costs than traditional firms. The online business penetration in the report's year was at 4.7 percent. It is likely to reach 10.7 percent by 2024. With the presence of platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Uber, Ola, and Urban Company, India has become one of the largest countries for flexi-staffing globally.

Nevertheless, with city-based gig work offering abundant opportunities for employment and substantial monetary compensation, many rural people have begun to migrate in search of a stable source of income. Though rural India’s gig economy journey has just started, it has already made ripples in the agricultural segment. It develops more employment opportunities, educates and empowers women in agriculture, and encourages a robust agrarian ecosystem. It is only a matter of time before this growing workforce converts Indian farming forever.

Pros & Cons of Gig Economy
Every coin has two sides, and so does this; there are a few positives and a few negatives of the gig economy as well.

•The flexibility to work your own hours,
•The ability to choose precisely the type of work as per your choice, and
•The capability to work for yourself instead of someone else.

•Few or no benefits such as paid vacation, health insurance, paid sick days, and retirement benefits,
•Fewer or no legal protections against intolerance/ discrimination and harassment within your work system,
•Lack of eligibility for legally protected or paid family leave, and
•Lack of eligibility for unemployment benefits.

These problems are not observed only by the Indian workforce; this has been the discussion of various countries, including The US, European countries, and more. A few of them seem to have solutions that can be helpful for the Indian economy as well. As India moves towards its stated goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025, the gig economy will be a significant building block in reaching the goalpost, removing the gap between income and unemployment.