Freelancing in India is no longer a “part-time” job. Millions of highly educated professionals, especially younger professionals, are seeking to build their careers as full-time freelancers. The COVID19 pandemic has heightened the demand for high-quality professionals who are open to working remotely. Freelancers in India are adequately addressing these demands.
- According to Payoneer, an international financial services firm, there was a 46% increase in new Indian freelancers in 2020. The COVID19 pandemic fueled this rapid rise of the Indian freelancing market.
- In India, over 97% of households have been negatively impacted by the pandemic in terms of annual income. Over one crore people (10 million) have lost their jobs since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic in 2020. Hence, modern-day Indian professionals are likelier to take up freelancing gigs.
- India’s freelancing market is only second to the US in terms of yearly growth. Currently, the country has over 15 million freelancers. By 2025, the Indian freelancing market is expected to grow in valuation by $20-30 billion.
- The IT industry currently dominates the Indian freelancing market. India’s leading IT companies plan to recruit over 96,000 employees in 2022. Many of these employees will be recruited, onboarded, and managed virtually. Many of these workers are likely to be signed as freelancers, not permanent employees. That’s because freelance IT professionals offer more flexibility in terms of the cost of hiring and managing.
If these figures are anything to go by, the future of IT freelancing in India looks very promising. More IT professionals want to work according to their preferences. Picking up temporary “gigs” or freelance contracts instead of long-term, full-time employee contracts makes more sense for them.
The Key Drivers of IT Freelancing in India
What is driving IT professionals in India to freelance? The main factor is technology. All freelancers work remotely and doing so is only possible with access to the right technologies. Newer gadgets and software solutions are enhancing the way India’s IT freelancers operate.
These professionals use collaborative tools like – Microsoft Teams, Slack, Dropbox, etc., to work with employers from all across the globe. IT professionals can also use customized cloud systems to oversee their clients’ computer systems from remote distances. They can fix on-site issues within seconds of receiving complaints from offshore clients.
Some other factors contributing to the rise of IT freelancers in India include –
- Independence : he COVID19 pandemic opened the eyes of many IT professionals in India. They realized that they could work remotely as per their own timings and conveniences. The option of taking up freelancing gigs that suit their professional capabilities and personal requirements is extremely lucrative to them.
- Freedom of Work : When you’re an IT freelancer, you have total freedom to choose whatever type of work you want. For example, if your expertise is in cloud security management, you can find a specific gig dedicated to this field. Complete the project, receive your payment, and wait for the next freelancing gig that is suited to your capabilities.
- Flexible Workspaces : Besides working from home, many IT freelancers in India currently operate in co-working spaces. These workspaces full of freelancers and gig workers become healthy communities for new professionals. If you’re new to IT freelancing, joining a shared office space full of like-minded professionals will help your career. Many co-working spaces in India are designed to help IT, freelancers. They come with amenities like free Wi-Fi, access to computers, etc
The Startup Boom Will Further Increase the Demand for IT Freelancers
Startups are driving the demand for IT freelancers in India. India has the third-highest number of startups. In 2021, 33 Indian startups achieved “unicorn” status (valuation of $1 billion or more). The number of homegrown unicorns in the country has increased by 45% in 2021. However, everything’s not perfect in the Indian startup environment.
The COVID19-induced lockdowns are compelling startup leaders to modify their recruitment strategies. Many startups still employ strict work-from-home policies. All these factors are driving digital adoption in cash-crunched, early-stage startup companies. These companies prefer partnering with freelancers for IT solutions instead of full-time workers because –
- IT freelancers are more cost-effective. Companies don’t have to spend money training or onboarding these IT professionals. Unlike bad hires, IT freelancers don’t cost the company too much money in case things go wrong.
- IT freelancers are selected for jobs based on their experience and skills. They instantly introduce domain expertise into their clients’ workforces. Be it implementing cloud security measures or troubleshooting company software problems - IT freelancers have specific capabilities. They complete their tasks as needed and then move on to future gigs.
- There’ll always be a strong demand for UI/UX designers, cloud engineers, and other similar professionals in India’s booming tech sector. IT freelancers are relatively easy to find in India.
As long as IT freelancers can showcase their skills on their assignments, they’ll keep attracting employers in 2022. Freelancing and temporary staffing will become the norm in India’s IT sector as the demand for skilled IT experts increases.