The gig economy is turning out to be a blessing for the women in India and it’s a perfect solution for introducing more women to India’s rising workforce.
The concept gig economy, also known as ‘sharing economy’, ‘on-demand economy’ and ‘platform economy’, is not new to India. Given its large informal economy, the county has always had the equivalence of gig work across urban and rural areas – from temporary farm workers to daily-wage construction labourers to household help. However, recent technological advancement in India and the rise of app based platforms has finally given India’s gig economy the limelight it required. Assisted by the digital wave in India, the internet penetration in the country has been instrumental in opening up gig opportunities through aggregators and marketplaces for India’s rising workforce.
The last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have further powered India’s gig economy. As people lost their full time jobs across domains, gig work proved to be a healthy alternative. An accelerated dependency on gig economy during this time not only offered employment to many, but also became a source of additional income during the unprecedented times. It is undeniable that gig economy have become an integral part of Indian workforce and its contribution has multiplied during the pandemic. Today, the gig economy in India is generating a plethora of flexible work opportunities besides providing ‘ease of living’ and ‘ease of access’ to millions not just in the metros but also in tier II and beyond markets.
As per the recent estimates by Boston Consultancy Group in ‘Unlocking the Potential of the Gig Economy in India report’, India’s workforce today is estimated to comprise around 500 million workers out of which 250 million are engaged in agriculture and allied sectors. The remaining 250 million are engaged in the four largest industry sectors in India including Construction, Manufacturing, Retail, and Transportation & Logistics. These sectors alone account for over 70 million of the potentially ‘gigable’ jobs, which is led by tier-2, tier 3 cities and tier 4 cities in India. The gig economy will soon comprise of both existing jobs that migrate to gig platforms, as well as new jobs that are created in the economy. In the near-medium term, as many as 24 million jobs (approximately) could potentially migrate to technology-based gig platforms, the report suggests.
Years ago, agricultural distress, low payment in unorganised sector jobs and rising participation in higher education led to an increase in migration to urban areas in pursuit of better jobs and opportunities. Today, the advent of internet economy, the rise of new age tech savvy time saving consumers and their need to have to have everything at the touch of a button has led to organisations penetrating deeper into the country looking for newer avenues for growth. Tier II and III markets such as Kanpur, Ludhiana, Bhopal, Kozhikode, Vijayawada, Ranchi, Guwahati, and Chandigarh have now become hotbeds for professional growth as more companies tap these cities for their next leg of expansion leading to an increased demand for gig workers with specific skill sets creating more job opportunities. These new jobs assure remote working arrangements, flexible working hours, convenience, respect and a decent compensation and are led particularly by tech based platforms such as Urban Company, Ola, Uber, Amazon, Zomato, Swiggy, Dunzo, Delhivery, amongst others. Gig work has also become an exciting choice for today’s younger generation that wishes to pursue a working arrangement that fits their lifestyle.
Not only jobs, but gig economy is also fuelling micro-entrepreneurship in smaller markets with multiple blue-collar workers choosing to operate their personal businesses, especially in segments such as driving, beauty and wellness.
The gig economy has also become a viable option for women to re-enter the workforce in large and meaningful ways. According to the Apna’s recent data, more than 236k women applied for the majority of these micro-entrepreneurs and gig jobs. Women are opting for more work from home and part-time jobs compared to full-time jobs. The gig economy is turning out to be a blessing for the women in India and it’s a perfect solution for introducing more women to India’s rising workforce. With the potential to boost women’s employment recently, 85% of India’s workforce employed through the informal sector. The use of technology platforms can lend a degree of formality and drive greater transparency of women workforce demand and supply.
The next few years will witness an increase in job opportunities across segments, sectors and industries as companies further acknowledge the contribution of gig economy in sustaining businesses. More professionals from tier II, III and IV markets will join the gig workforce in India to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
Apart from positively impacting the lives of millions, the gig economy will also be seen contributing incrementally towards the growing GDP of the country. Rising India, today, stands on a threshold to embrace the gig economy and is all prepared to grace this new evolved environment. It will be an example and lead the world with its talented gig economy thereby owning a major share of the online workforce market. Therefore, there is a need to stay connected and continuously empowered through technology on unified and accessible platforms. It will bring together people, systems and companies to form a collaborative, efficient and effective ecosystem to build a prosperous knowledge society.
With rising consumer demand and expansion of Indian startups penetrating tier 2 and tier 3 cities, has also opened up a hitherto untapped market for employment startups, who could also help businesses with seamless hiring. The potential for the gig economy in India is massive. Backed by government initiatives like Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Digital India, the gig economy will continue to create enormous employment across sectors. Thereby facilitating growth by creating a conducive environment for the gig economy to flourish.