Sudhakar Balakrishnan, CEO, FirstMeridian

Sudhakar Balakrishnan is the Group CEO of FirstMeridian. He is an experienced investor/entrepreneur with 36 years of work experience in a combination of Sales, Marketing, HR, Strategy Formulation, and P&L Management with 24 years of rich experience within the Human Capital business. Sudhakar is a post-graduate from Madras School of Social Work. He has attended Management Development Program at IIM Kozhikode, Senior Leadership Program at INSEAD, France, and Leadership Development Program at IMD Business School at Lausanne, Switzerland.


The constant shifts in the traditional forms of workforce gradually lead to the inception of a Gig Economy. In simple words, any kind of work that does not necessarily require a nine to five job is considered to be a Gig Economy. It lets an individual be more productive, allows them to think out of the box and work in a more self-reliant manner. There are various trends that are currently shaping the future of the gig economy which will have a huge impact on the global economy as a whole in the coming years.

The gig labour market comprises a variety of freelance jobs and part-time investments rather than committing to fixed contracts. Gig workers can be employees of a particular company and still manage to work for other companies/projects relating to different industries/fields for a definite period of time. This leads to an extra supplement to their day-to-day income and also an escape from the monotony of a regular job.

Tech companies are hiring gig workers to have a direct connection with their customers, for example, cab companies and vacation rental companies work and initiate a direct relationship with their clients, thus creating a strong link for the growing gig economy.

Trends in 2022:

Automation will act as a fork in the road: Technology and its advancements have played a tremendous role in the rise of the gig economy in the past years and this will continue to shape the job market. With advanced technology comes a requirement for newer skills, which can be addressed by gig workers. The gig economy will see a boost as and when there are job openings with the requirement for newer skills, this will in turn also boost the trend of upskilling. Professionals will be more motivated to upgrade their skills when working on multidisciplinary projects becomes easily available. This ultimately leads to a larger talent pool, which directly impacts the number of gig jobs available and the number of employees.

Hybrid Working, Flexible Timelines: The main models of working at an organization will continue to be the centralized workplaces, the decentralized remote ones, and the most popular “hybrid” which are also known to be the best of both worlds approach. Hybrid working is anything where the individual is not forced to be aligned with the organisation’s definition of spaces. Many of the firms are planning to change their workplace models. According to the research by KPMG, due to the effects of the pandemic in 2020, 69% of the large organisations are expected to decrease their amount of office space for the functioning of their businesses. Freelancers are at ease to work from any corner of the world today, and this is one of the reasons for the trendsetting year of 2022, for the gig economy.

Precedence to Skills Before Roles: Skills prove to be beneficial at any stage of life. Any individual can prove to be competitive in an organisational structure if he or she is not judged on the basis of their roles and rather on the skills that he or she possesses. Businesses can reach heights if more of their focus is given to the absolute skills that are with their employees because these will define the core business challenges, unlike the roles that will lead to the slow and dissolving values of the company.

Problem-solving and the quick generation of answers to all kinds of consequences faced by a firm is a core concern for all businesses, and by focusing on skill development, there is a drive for innovation observed for the success of information-age enterprises. These new career opportunities encourage the workers to develop their skills efficiently and shift their focus from carrying out their roles to managing their skills, thereby becoming a key trend for both businesses and employees in 2022.

Involvement of Millennials: The gig economy has had a significant impact on millennials as it has provided them with newer sources of income. They can work on a variety of jobs while earning money from each one. Alternative forms of income have benefited the millennial generation. They like working for various organisations as long as they are adequately compensated. These benefits have motivated them to take up gig jobs, hence impacting the rise of the gig economy. Several studies show that millennials have majorly contributed in boosting the gig culture across the globe and will continue to do so in the future.


The gig economy is already a trendsetting work culture in the US and the UK. The Western World is seen to have a steady increase in its number of freelance workers. People are more curious about money-making techniques than just enjoying a fixed salary every year. It is actually seen as a fun routine to juggle around with short-term projects in hand and explore so much around us.

This working model has been accepted by employers, employees, and government, this sector is also not devoid of the skill gaps. We have entered the gig economy and it’s definitely here to stay. For any talent to stay relevant even in this mode of employment will require continuous upskilling.

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