Girish Kukreja is the CEO and Co-Founder at FlexC, a distinctive platform that aims to revolutionise the hiring landscape in India. Starting something on his own was always on the bucket list, Girish is an MBA from the Indian School of Business. He has over 20 years of rich and versatile experience in the field of IT covering Product Companies, IT and BPO services. He has worked with leading companies like Infosys Technologies Ltd where he worked for more than nine years, other than that he also had stints with L&T Infotech Ltd and Trigyn Technologies.
In the last one and half years, the pandemic in a way has shifted the landscape of employment in India. In the initial days of lockdown, many companies had opted for a hiring freeze, rendering HRs with no other option than using the current manpower across different roles. Some even turned their necks towards hiring part-time and contractual employees to cut costs.
Even though the majority of the sectors got hit by COVID-19, many still managed to flourish. These include E-commerce, Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, and IT. These were the few sectors that still managed to ramp up their talent pool. Recruitments in pharmaceuticals rose almost by 35%, while those in IT rose by at least 15% (Source-financial express). Yet the employment generated by these sectors was not enough to compensate for the overall job loss.
As people suffered from job losses, or reduced in the salary led many people to focus on freelancing to meet their financial needs, and avoid any employment gaps on their resumes. For people to seek opportunities talent marketplaces such as FlexC, Upwork and Freelancer.com became a go to place for freelancers.
Payoneer, a financial services platform, released a report in 2020 stating a list of top 10 freelancer growth countries. India ranked at 2nd position with 160% growth in freelancer opportunities.
Freelancing: A Choice or a Necessity?
Freelancing has always played a crucial role but it has never got the credit. From college students to mid- age people are working as freelancers. Some believe, that freelancing is for those who can’t manage the full-time job but this is a wrong aspect. If we see it from a different perspective, many people enjoy working as freelancers, and without any doubt, it has become a necessity for the majority of the workforce. In the pandemic, many people opted for freelancing. But now that we are even past the second wave, does the workforce still choose to freelance out of necessity? Or people are choosing to transition it into a permanent lifestyle?
The answer to this question depends on various factors. The external environment has shifted people’s mindset into remote working. The idea of being your own boss and a flexible lifestyle is making people lean towards freelancing as a permanent career option.
As per a report by Indeed.com, one of the country’s leading job portal websites, “Freelance jobs in India have surged up to 22% between the periods of 2019-2021.” Fields such as creative, tech, sales, and recruitment have a concentration of 55% of freelance jobs.
A few white-collar jobs have seen a rise in the tide of demand. As per Indeed, the top five freelance jobs include Php Developer, Business Development Executive, Recruiters, Content Writer, and Digital Marketer. Yet, the case is not the same for all the sectors. Freelancers working in Entertainment, Hospitality, and various other creative areas have struggled to find gigs as the world avoided large gatherings.
In the coming years, many prominent sectors are expected to have a large percentage of freelancers. These include Accounting and Finance, Digital Marketing, Customer Service, Therapy, Computers and IT, Real Estate, HR, and Recruiting.
Organizations as well are seeking benefit from this change. The increasing shift towards freelance and remote working is making it easier for HRs to fill up important roles with contractual employees and freelancers, rather than spending money on hiring full-time employees. To fulfil this need, HR agencies are turning to technology and AI-based talent marketplaces like FlexC. Even small businesses are leveraging this new trend to balance their talent and budget needs.
Firms are realizing how freelancers and contractual employees can be beneficial for them. Hence, they are changing their workplace structure and are opting to aim for a hybrid workforce.
What the Future Beholds for Freelancers?
COVID-19 has changed the lens through which people used to look at freelancing. Not long ago, people considered freelancers as people who could not handle a full-time job. But the post-pandemic world considers freelancing as a legitimate career option.
Both employers and employees are realizing the value freelancing brings in terms of productivity, safety, saving on the overhead and infrastructure costs, and much more. But we can’t ignore the fact also that not all freelancers have been able to sail their boats in the rising freelance tide. Some people who chose to work remotely struggled throughout their freelance journey. They eventually opted to get back to being a full-time employee as soon as companies opened their hiring doors. Not getting paid on the time is one of the hassle freelancers face. This phenomena needs to be changed.
With more Gen-Zs searching “how to become a freelancer” on Google every day, it is clear that the future workforce is gearing up to be a part of the freelance community. What they will need is a platform like FlexC that can not only provide them work based on their skills, but also can ease the application, hiring and invoicing process.
The change in recent workforce trends is making it clear that the world is heading towards a freelance revolution. The only interesting thing left to see is how the present and future organizations will leverage this trend to their utmost benefit.