Gig Economy – A Reality to Build On

Gig Economy – A Reality to Build On
As per NITI Aayog’s report, the gig workforce in our country is likely to grow up to 2.35 Crores by 2029-30, from 77 lakhs in 2020-21. 

Attracting the right talent and retaining them has been a perennial challenge for organizations. Added to that, employee tenures are becoming shorter and organizations are required to spend considerably on constant capacity building. 

Introducing new practices periodically is important to keep the business going and have a steady talent pipeline.  For instance, automation, outsourcing, and investment in training staff to improve efficiency helped organizations to make good the talent gap and stay ahead of the curve. 

Organizations also hired employees on a temporary basis for short-duration tasks, projects with fixed timelines, or jobs with variable and irregular talent requirements throughout the year due to the nature of business.  

Taking the practice a notch above, another trend gradually emerged where people took up more than one job for a few hours a day or a few days a month, on a short-term basis.  Hiring consultants for a specific task or surveys, and engaging employees for a fixed term or task-based contractual agreements were common practices. 

Eventually, though, this took another shape where contingent and provisional jobs were available which provided some source of income, without the necessity of spending 8 or 9 hours a day at workplace or spending all of their time in one workplace doing only one job.  

Many found this practice flexible, convenient and giving independence to utilize their knowledge and skills at jobs as per their interests.    

Gig Is The New Jig – Organizations Need To Tune In!

The digital age, technology upsurge, automation, new ways of working, a completely different perspective of millennials and Gen Z towards gaining expertise in more than one function or opting for reduced hours of working for the YOLO experience – all these things and many more changes are revolutionizing the professional world.  

Even the talent ecosystem is evolving and undergoing rapid change. The young generation is exploring various options for choosing the right career after college instead of getting on a straightforward-what-is-available kind of career path.  Similarly, in organizations while the traditional hiring practices for permanent roles continue to be the norm, they are also exploring possibilities to hire employees on differential engagement terms.  

All this paved the way for emergence of gig workforce, which is slowly but prominently finding its place depending on individual skills and needs of the organization.   

As per NITI Aayog’s report, the gig workforce in our country is likely to grow up to 2.35 Crores by 2029-30, from 77 lakhs in 2020-21. Nasscom report says that 65% of Indian IT firms are currently employing gig workers, a higher share compared to 57% in 2020. 

Several other studies indicate that gig economy is on the rise in India, especially service sector. 

Hence, the future of work is presumably going to be gig – contractual, temporary, time-bound, project-based, and flexible.  Such an arrangement provides a good balance between remuneration for the role and expertise gained during the journey.  It also brings inclusivity by attracting spectrum of workforce in the workplace, irrespective of age, gender, or location.  

Gig economy is a reality and organizations need to build on that to leverage for sustainability of the business, immediately and in the near future.  By giving due consideration to the following aspects, organizations can adapt to the trend and benefit from it.  

  • Workforce Planning: Create specific category of jobs to integrate gig workforce into the talent strategy of the organization.   Understand the demand and supply of particular skills, market trends and explore if some mainstream regular jobs or seasonal engagements can be migrated to the gig platform.  
  • Hiring: The hiring managers and HR need to have a comprehensive understanding of the skill sets and potential of the candidate so that hiring gig workers is done based on ‘suitability’ and ‘expertise’ and not to reduce cost or turnaround time. 
  • Performance Management:  Have clear job descriptions with defined goals, objectives, and deliverables, so that assessments can be transparent without any room for ambiguity.  Bringing in flexibility increases the ease of operation from anywhere, but being stringent with adhering to timelines ensures that the task completion is effective and without any delay. 
  • Compliance: Core, sensitive, confidential or critical jobs are not for gig workers.  Even otherwise, companies need to be extremely cautious and have zero tolerance towards issues related to confidentiality, ethics, conduct, discipline, and background of the candidates.  There should be strict policies on intellectual property and non-compete/ non-disclosure. 
  • Rewards and Recognition:  Including them in R&R initiatives as well as keeping them updated on crucial developments is important for motivation, engagement, feeling connected, and experiencing the culture of the organization.  
  • Knowledge Transfer – While the gig worker may not be ‘employed’ by the company, the work assignment belongs to the company.  Hence, organizations should ensure protection of IPR and ‘transfer of knowledge’ is done in a structured manner.   

In the current age of technology transformation and digital overhaul, companies are growing at a faster pace.  New skill sets are required frequently to meet the changing demands. 

In such a situation, gig model could be a cost-effective and better solution to leverage the untapped talent and on-board in lesser turnaround time which will enhance productivity even during volatile times.    


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