Freelancing has always existed. Whereas earlier it was called being a consultant, by the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century, it became cool to be a freelancer. Online job portals began carrying job postings for freelancers, and many dedicated freelance job websites came into the world. In the past decade, a parallel gig economy has become one of the cogs that are running the corporate machinery with temp hiring solutions for highly qualified professionals.

The IT sector has been the greatest contributor to freelance community work and growth-wise. However, modern technology has ensured that even roles that are as involved as teaching can now be done online. It is easier to find students and the earning potential is also high in the virtual world.

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down our lives, economies, and market growth, but without the traditional geographic restrictions, the freelance job market boomed.

The Lockdown Growth Accelerator for Freelance

The 3 years of inconsistent lockdowns became a forerunner for rising unemployment levels, employee dissatisfaction, job-hopping and a rise in entrepreneurship. The freelance work culture has become the new normal for many professionals because the projects are easily accessible, it provides an easy parallel income source, and there is flexibility.

During the past three years, many highly experienced professionals were laid off in a bid to cut costs in the company. In the past year, companies are facing high attrition as many employees refuse to return to working full-time, there are many job openings and employees are rapidly changing jobs in search of better pay, projects, and position. At the same time, we read news about massive job layoffs, low productivity, and continued threat to job security. The millennials and Gen Z are on a quest for work-life balance which is leading them towards opting for freelance gigs. It is estimated that by 2025, the freelance market will grow by US$ 20 to 30 billion in India. Not just independent professionals, but also professionals with full-time jobs are looking for freelance gigs on job sites.

Freelancing-A Solution for Start-ups to corporates

For start-ups, freelancers provide a very cost-effective solution for their staffing problems. Whether it is in India or abroad, start-ups are looking for low-cost hiring solutions and freelancers come at a flat rate, with no fringe expenses attached. Online freelance job sites have created virtual marketplaces where those with a marketable service can sell them to those companies who need their services. everything happens online – posting a job requirement, submitting one’s proposal, selection, communication, project submission, and payment.

The services that freelancers offer are of such a nature that they are adding value to start-ups, MSMEs, and large corporates.

Freelancing is Cost-effective

Rather freelancers provide a supplementary service that eases the work stress for teams by making necessary timely interventions. Most freelancer roles are very skill specific whereas a full-time employee is selected for more than their skills. Once they are hired, they are trained and integrated into the business team and have other roles, besides their job description.

In different stages of the project, the team leader can call on the services of a freelancer for fixed pay. The input of the freelancer may add great value to the project without raising its costs and giving the team members a fresh perspective. Freelancers can also step in to perform non-core activities for which the business would have formerly engaged an entire agency. For instance, to design a new logo for a product, instead of going to a marketing consultant or a branding agency, the company can connect with a freelance logo designer and have a unique design ready. Many freelance job portals give clients options to raise a bid or start a contest through which they can get multiple designs or design ideas and purchase the one that fulfils their needs.

Current trends in the Indian freelancing sector

Even today, the majority of freelancers are students and women who are earning while balancing their educational or personal commitments. However, an increasing number of corporate professionals are turning to freelancers. There are professional job sites for highly qualified professionals, for niche sectors and some that cater only to multinational companies that offer competitive rates to these professionals.

Many professionals are working as part-time freelancers, juggling their full-time jobs with an occasional project to earn some extra income. Women who had to quit their jobs because of relocation or starting a family are benefiting greatly because they are earning competitive rates as freelancers, at par with what they would have earned had they been working full-time.

As per a PwC report, in the near future, just as technology will make many jobs obsolete, businesses may want to hire fewer in-house staff and outsource a lot of the work to freelancers. Currently, some inhibitors to freelancing are a few payment gateway options for foreign payments. Also, though the government is in the process of creating guidelines to protect the rights of freelancers, there still aren’t many rules to govern the sector. Furthermore, freelancers will have to work harder to keep themselves relevant by upskilling and following the latest trends in the industry.

The numbers however show positive sentiments towards freelancing among professionals and businesses globally. So, one can safely say that freelancing is not a passing fad, but the present and future. 

About The Author

Sunada Jayaram
Sunada Jayaram
Create : Aug 10,2022

I am a freelance writer with varied experience of 11 years