Indian Women Freelancers' Earning Grew By 42 Percent Amidst Pandemic

For women freelance workers in India, the pandemic has resulted in higher levels of satisfaction, owing to an increased work life balance and flexibility in work schedules that the gig culture offers in specialized areas, a new report showed on Monday. Indian women freelancers' average hourly earning rate grew by 42 percent since 2020 ­ $22 per hour(nearly Rs. 1,600) in 2022 against $14 per hour (about Rs. 1,050) in 2020.

Furthermore, their average hourly earnings rate was at par with their global counterparts, according to ‘Free lancer Income Report 2022' by commerce and technology company Payoneer. "Indian freelancing is making a value driven shift in the global gig economy. In the last few years, we have witnessed a constant increase in freelancer income and their movement to more specialized fields like marketing, coding and finance", said Rohit Kulkarni, Senior Vice President at Payoneer India.

More flexibility,better skilled opportunities, and increased earnings are some of the factors leading to more professionals entering this economy

More flexibility, better skilled opportunities, and increased earnings are some of the factors leading to more professionals entering this economy. The average hourly rates of the Indian freelancing community saw a jump from $21 in 2020 to $26 in 2022. In 2022, Indian women are earning 81 percent of what their male counterparts do, with their average hourly rates at $22 per hour compared to men's hourly rate at $27 per hour(nearly Rs.2,000).

"The gender pay gap stood at 77 percent before Covid-19. Interestingly, Indian women freelancers recorded a much better gender pay ratio against their counter parts in developed markets like North America which stood at 71 percent", the findings showed.

Indian freelancers outshined their global counterparts and were able to demand a better average hourly rate for some of the popular professions like finance, demanding an hourly rate of $71 against global average of $41, and marketing at $47 vs. global average rate of $34. "The findings cement our belief that Indian freelancing will continue making rapid strides in the global gig market in days to come", said Rohit.

The freelancing economy is still dominated by young Indian freelancers between the age group of 18-34 years. More than half of the Indian respondents (57 percent) stated that they find most of their work through online market places such as Upwork and Fiverr, while only seven percent rely on traditional sources like word of mouth and referrals. Top challenges faced by Indian freelancers were related to business growth, i.e. expanding to new markets, and managing time & fee negotiations, said the report.