Gig workers will play an instrumental role in enabling India’s $5 trillion economy, with the current 7.7 million-strong gig workforce leading the charge. With this talent pool set to more than triple to a massive 23.5 million by 2030, these workers will generate $250 billion of work, according to a joint study by Zinnov and Microsoft.
Management consulting firm Zinnov along with Microsoft released the findings of the study titled, ‘Unlocking the Power of the Gig Economy with Cloud PC’, which highlights how technology will be critical in enabling the gig economy.
The joint study also explores the industry challenges that the gig workforce faces, and reveals that in the post-pandemic business environment, Finance & Insurance, and IT sectors are respectively witnessing 31% and 20% increased engagement with gig workers.
Pre-pandemic, nearly half of all gig workers were concentrated in two sectors – Retail Trade and Transportation, which is rapidly giving way to nearly 35% of gig workers being employed in the IT sector. In fact, soon every third ’employee’ of an IT organisation will be a gig worker. This is especially significant, given the current dichotomy of mass layoffs and skilled labour shortage that companies are grappling with. As organizations explore new, innovative business models to circumvent this dichotomy, they will increasingly engage with the rising gig economy.
Engaging with the gig economy is not only beneficial for enterprises, but gig workers as well, notes the study. Viewed through the economical, operational, and innovation lens, gig workers benefit through high-paying, multiple short-term jobs that enable flexibility. It also allows for rapid upskilling while in some cases, enables investment in passions and interests that pay them. For enterprises, engagement with the gig workforce ensures cost savings, flexibility of an ad-hoc, project-based working model that can be scaled or descaled quickly, enable quick onboarding, and access to highly skilled, niche talent.
However, engaging with gig workers comes with its own set of challenges, including concerns around data security, IP theft, access management, and cultural orientation. The study reveals that more than 70% of CXOs feel that onboarding and execution are the two difficult yet crucial phases, addressing which can enable widespread adoption of the gig economy model. Technologies such as Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, and Cybersecurity are being leveraged to address such challenges in a transparent and productive way.
“The current dichotomy of skilled talent deficit and layoffs, underscore the importance of a strong gig workforce strategy. With every enterprise in need of digital skills such as AI, Automation, Data Analytics, etc., leaders will look to the gig workforce to fulfil short- to medium-term projects on an ad-hoc basis. With the percentage of gig workers in IT organisations expected to touch 35% in the near future, newer enabling engagement models and platforms will take center stage,” said Rajat Kohli, Partner at Zinnov.