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Decoding The Future Of The Gig Economy
What do postgraduate students who moonlight as freelance article writers have in common with stay-at-home parents who work a remote part-time job? They are all contributing towards India’s rapidly growing gig economy. The post-pandemic rise of the digital age has resulted in today's workforce becoming more mobile, with the ability to work from anywhere leading to unprecedented gig economy growth. A compilation of statistics on the gig economy by ASSOCHAM and Primus Partners in 2021 states that India’s gig workforce includes 15 million “freelance workers engaged in projects in different sectors”, a huge jump from TeamLease’s estimate of 8.5 million gig workers in 2016.
The gig economy is a labour market in which independent contractors and freelancers fulfill temporary and part-time positions rather than traditional work arrangements. While gig work has existed in India for some time, it has gained traction with the emergence of app-based models involving freelance writers, online tutors, digital marketing experts, web developers and cybersecurity experts.
In 2020, the gig economy grew significantly as those who had lost their jobs turned to part-time and contract-based work for income. Currently, as per Niti Aayog, approximately 47% of India's gig workforce engages in medium-skilled jobs, 22% are involved with high-skilled jobs, and the remainder engages in low-skilled jobs. The trend shows that the concentration of workers with medium skills is gradually declining, while the concentration of workers with low and high skills is increasing.
Since they can work low-intensity jobs while learning complementary skills, gig workers can devote more time to learning new skills than traditional workers. Being a part of the gig economy can improve the work-life balance of employees, compared to traditional jobs. Gig workers are happier, according to various studies conducted over the years, and happier workers are more committed to their jobs (which increases productivity), resulting in lower absences and turnover. The gig economy empowers workers with more flexibility in scheduling and structuring their days, allowing them to maximise their potential for work and life.
Ensuring this community's comfort and security is an investment in a more progressive and prosperous future. According to the Boston Consulting Group's study, 'Unlocking the Potential of the Gig Economy in India, participation in the gig economy is higher in developing countries (5-12%) than in developed economies (1-4%). By 2029-30, India’s gig economy will expand to 2.35 crore (23.5 million) workers, according to the NITI Aayog study. As per the Boston Consulting Group's study, there is potential for 90 million jobs through gig work in the long term, which can add up to 1.25% to the nation's GDP over time. This could be crucial in helping India reach the $5 trillion GDP mark in the future.
The gig economy is expected to grow significantly in the coming decades, and with good reason- according to Morgan Stanley, 50% of the global workforce will be involved in the freelance and gig economy to some extent by 2027.
Job Rotation - Here to Stay?
Have you ever flirted with the thought of having your skilled employees work across multiple departments but dismissed that thought as an outlandish fantasy? Well, it is a practice that is being tried and tested in various domains under the label of ‘job rotation’.
Job rotation is the practice of switching employees between various departments on a regular basis to ensure that they gain exposure to an organisation's different functions while learning and enhancing their skills.Smart job rotation policies promote employee flexibility, increased job satisfaction and reduce turnover rates while also fostering innovation. While this may result in better organisational outcomes, job rotation is useless unless properly planned and implemented. Indeed, repetitive or haphazard job rotation can exacerbate some of the organisation's problems.Before you jump in to implement a job rotation policy at your workplace, do consider the disadvantages apart from the obvious advantages such as enhancing employee experience while developing a more adaptable workforce:
- Financial and time-based repercussions Employees will need to be trained more frequently if they are constantly moved to different positions. The time devoted to training people would impact productivity and the company’s profits.
- May lead to dissatisfied employees Moving from one department to another may be stressful for some employees, especially if they have been in their current position for a long time or believe that someone taking over their current role will disrupt the processes that have been set. Furthermore, moving an employee out of a role they enjoy may result in dissatisfaction, a lack of motivation or even their resignation.
- Insufficient opportunities for promotion Moving from one position to another across departments does not imply a promotion.Employees who want to advance to higher levels in a company may see this as a barrier in their career path.