Gig Economy is a labour market where freelance work and contractual assignments are prevalent, unlike permanent and full-time jobs. It's an open market where individuals can publicise their talent and skill sets to sell their services to offline or online businesses. Significantly, after the COVID-19-led lockdown, the popularity of the gig economy is only rising and is expected to increase further.
The digitalisation of the workforce and talented professionals with the rise in the digital age is a significant driver of the gig economy. It has also become a most common term used among today's millennials as it gives them the freedom to utilise their skill sets creatively while working from anywhere.
Indian Gig Economy
Today's economy has created opportunities in the global marketplace for contractors working independently to expand their customers nationally and internationally and for businesses to tap the international market beyond the local marketplace to utilise required professional services.
According to a report by NITI Aayog, over 7.5 million gig workers are engaged in freelance or contractual assignments in India. It comes with a potential to grow by around 24 million by 2030, contributing massively to the country's GDP. Additionally, Taskmo shared a report with The Logical Indian, which shows the ASSOCHAM survey that claims the gig economy is expected to pass the $455 billion valuation in India by 2024, making it the largest market for gig workers.
As it reduces workload and operational costs for companies and gives freedom and flexibility to complete the assignment to the worker, the popularity of the gig economy is only making records. According to a survey conducted by Aon in its 'Decoding the Gig Economy,' around 50 per cent of the 145 companies have employed gig workers, and the rest is likely to adopt the same plan in the next three to five years.
Why Is Women's Participation Still Less?
Along with its emergence, the challenges remain as women's participation in the gig economy is not seeing any growth. Female participation as a gig worker is lowest in India due to several factors, including safety and security, gender pay gaps, and lack of attention. Women's participation in the gig economy oscillates between 16 to 28 per cent, which is half of the global average.
The report constituted by the World Bank also suggests that female participation in India's formal economy is the lowest in the world. The Taskmo Gig Index shows that despite of growing popularity of the gig economy in India, female participation is less than 28 per cent.
In an effort to tackle the situation, the NITI Aayog proposed in its recent report to boost female participation in the gig economy by giving fiscal incentives like tax breaks for companies functioning with one-third of their workforce as women.
Gig discovery platforms should also take a few steps to increase women's participation in the gig economy. To encourage more women, platform companies must develop better infrastructure and work design, enhance skill development, asset ownership, access to digital skills and technology, and undertake gender sensitisation and accessibility awareness programs for workers and their families.
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