According to estimates from Truelancer, an online marketplace for freelancers, India has a population of more than 15 million independent workers/ freelancers. India ranks second after US which has 53 million independent workers, as per the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Freelance Union data, the global market for freelancers is in excess of $1.5 trillion, of which ”India’s independent workforce at 15 million in number. There are many reasons why freelancing is on the rise, from shifting economic conditions to corporate downsizing and employee dissatisfaction. But here we have listed some of the most evident reasons-
Millennials focusing on marketable skills as opposed to college degrees
In the earlier days, a degree was good enough to get a job in the said domain. But in present time, one is judged on the basis of his/her skills and capability to do a particular job. Thus, millennials are focusing on improving their skills by ideating and innovating rather than mugging up from textbooks for a college degree. With the resources available to us today, it has become more feasible for people to get information and learn skills for their desired career without getting a formal education. One could become a graphic designer or a content writer by polishing their skills online, which may or may not be possible in the classrooms. These skills are attained from personal experience and go far beyond what one could possibly learn from a formal setting. For example, you can now take up jobs being a full-time ‘YouTuber’ or a full-time ‘Food Blogger’, something that wasn’t even conceivable 10 years ago. These self-curated professions do not require a degree but marketable skills.
The rise of the co-working revolution and how it is shaping easy access to cheap working spaces
Working from home sounds alluring but can also sometimes make the independent worker feel isolated. The rise of co-working spaces is a revolution in itself especially as it moves from big cities to more remote locations. Co-working spaces not only provide the independent worker a sense of belonging but also extend unmatched support and resources. At such spaces, one gets to connect and socialize with other freelancers and like-minded people resulting in future collaborations and new work opportunities. They are professionally managed, technology-centric, quirky and comfortable, providing the ease and comfort of home with a working environment of a corporate office. They are also providing a sense of community, which comes from working around others.
The quest for work-life balance for the middle-aged workforce
Having a stable and harmonized work life has always been a constant struggle for the working professionals. This skirmish arises due to monotonous corporate pressure and an unfathomable travel schedule. What if your refrigerator was your lunchroom, your living room as your cubicle and your commute consisted of 10 steps? This is exactly what the middle-aged workforce is trying to achieve and hence indulging in the concept of ‘Remote Work’. Remote working, also known as telecommuting or teleworking, is exactly what it sounds like – carrying out a regular job from anywhere but the cubicle in your office. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But it is neither a fad nor a marketing gimmick for the gullible travel enthusiasts.
What started as a practical choice for freelancers in digital economy jobs is fast developing into a movement where skilled and educated professionals from all fields and different age groups are embracing a brave new lifestyle. The major advantages of remote work is that it helps the working professional in saving a good amount of time and money which otherwise gets wasted in commuting to work. According to a report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs, the remote workers save up to US$ 4000 p.a. on commuting and other related costs.
Big corporate(s) are also encouraging freelance work as it helps them avoid the high fixed cost of a full-time workforce
Freelancing not only helps the working professional save a fortune but also the corporate(s). Having a full-time workforce calls for a fixed salary every month even though the work done by the employee every month is not uniform. Wherein, a freelancer works on a project basis. This not only means that the work gets done in accordance of the deadlines but the corporate shells out money only for that particular work and time. Giant corporates are capitalizing on this trend of freelancing by giving out jobs that are not done throughout the year. Also, for start-ups that cannot afford a full-time staff, this trend is nothing short of a Godsend one. Opting for freelancers helps companies to cut down on the rising costs and complexity of training people and providing infrastructure.
New economy jobs provide flexibility to work from anywhere
Due to the advancement of technology, one can virtually stay connected to everyone and from anywhere across the globe with the help of apps, devices and, other personal technology. This has led to the rise in flexibility in terms of location, place and time. Jobs that were earlier restricted to an office with 9 to 5 office hours, can now be done from anywhere at anytime. The new economy jobs gives liberty to working professionals to work from their comfort zones. Boring boardroom meetings have turned into Skype calls, making work more enticing.
Remote workers/ Freelancers are not only more focused and productive but also have an incentive to work efficiently. The work gets started in a much better frame of mind as one is not burdened with the baggage of negotiating traffic and elevator queues etc. Contrary to common perception, remote workers/ freelancers are more focused on the job at hand as they do not get distracted by office gossip and frequent coffee/smoking breaks etc. Many large organizations have data to show that productivity of their remote workforce is up to 15% higher than the regular office-based employees. Freelancers are, after all, micro-entrepreneurs, responsible for getting work, managing clients, networking and promoting themselves. Freelancing is a boon to the industry and all the reasons stated above indicate that the freelancer economy will remain to be on a rise in the coming years benefiting both, the employer and the employee.