Today most of us are thankful that the threat of COVID is slowly dying down. Thanks to the availability of vaccines. But if we look at the past two years, we can see the death and destruction it has caused. Millions of dead around the globe and millions more left unemployed due to business shutting down. While most business sectors have seen a decline, there is one in particular which has seen an exponential growth and that is the freelancing sector.
Work from home has truly revealed the potential of freelancing. Businesses have realized that instead of paying thousands of dollars in wages and health insurance etc. to each employee they can get the same amount of work for one third the price by a freelancer halfway around the globe. This is where India comes in, which has one of the largest pools of skilled freelancers in the world.
Over the last few years and even before COVID, India has seen massive growth in its freelancing industry. So much so that large segments of professionals are opting for work in the freelancing industry instead of going for a 9 to 5 job. When you look at it, it certainly makes sense, as they not only retain their work freedom, but also earn more, while also learning new ideas.
India’s Freelancing Statistics
If we are to go by statistics, India comes at second place right after US in terms of number of freelancers. It has more than 15 million professionals, in a variety of sectors like sales and marketing, content creation and academic writing, design and animation and most important of all in the programming and IT industry.
If we look at India’s freelancing sector, we see certain trends emerging, which are as follows.
1. Freelancing is becoming the primary source of income.
It used to be that freelancing was a way for professionals to supplement their earnings, on top of their income from a regular 9 to 5 job. But now more and more professionals from top colleges like IITs and IIMs are choosing to go directly into the freelancing industry.
These are some of the most skilled professionals that India has to offer, the creme de la crème of the country if you would and they are opting to be independent contractors instead of working for a large corporation. Reasons as mentioned before, that its not only more lucrative, but they also retain their freedom.
2. Part-time Freelancers increase in number
Moonlighters have always been the backbone of the freelancing industry, especially in India. But over the last few years the number of part timers have increased exponentially and there are a number of reasons behind it.
The main reason is the availability of cheap internet.
Now that the internet is available in most of the country, the freelancing industry has become almost PAN India meaning spread across the nation.
Second important reason is economic hardship as inflation has increased in the last few years, especially due to COVID and it has driven more and more people to find a secondary source of income to meet their day-to-day needs.
3. Female Freelancers are on the rise
Women constitute a majority in India, but as a workforce they lagged behind men. Primarily due to societal norms as women often could not leave their homes to go to work or even to study at a higher level. But now thanks to the internet, they don’t have to leave if they don’t want to and can earn a stable living from their homes. It is estimated that one in five freelancers in India is a woman.
4. More and more startups are choosing India
Freelancing and startups go hand in hand. Generally, most startups are cash straps with limited funding so instead of hiring people they often seek freelancers who are equally skilled but less costly.
Taking that fact into account more and more startups around the globe are opting to subcontract from India’s freelancing market as it has the massive talent pool they require and it costs much less and it’s good for India as it brings in more money and helps the economy.
5. Changing Indian Perspective
It used to be that elders in Indian society used to look down on freelancers, as those who could not find a job. The life plan for most Indians used to come with a steady paycheck from a regular job, preferably in the government sector.
But as the world moves into the future, so does India with it. People are realizing the potential freelancing industry has and as such they are embracing it.