Chennai: Demand for technically skilled gig workers has gone up as a direct result of large enterprises looking to optimise their future through a digital presence and lower fixed costs with reduction of full-time employees. Gig workers are freelance workers who work on a contractual or temporary basis for a specific period.
According to staffing company TeamLease Services, demand for technical gig workers increased by 20%-25% between April-November this year compared to pre-Covid levels. The firm’s business head Sudeep Kumar Sen said this trend has also created an opportunity for women gig workers. “We have seen an increase of 13%-14% of women in the white collar gig worker segments.”
With the inherent advantage of freelancing and earning from multiple industries at the same time, gig workers can work from their hometowns. They have the power to decide what to work on, from where and for how much.
For example, Kochi-based Sushmita (28), a specialist in web-developing software Ruby on Rails (RoR) tech, was hired as a consultant by a fintech company for a period of six months.
“Being a freelancer helps as I can avoid travel and risk during this pandemic. It also helps save on rent, commuting expenses,” she says. Awign Enterprises, a work fulfilment platform focused on gig workforce and last-mile delivery, has on-boarded over 90,000 such workers between March-November this year. It has seen a 40% increase in the monthly average number of gig workers on its platform, from pre-Covid levels. Its co-founder Gurpreet Singh said, “Share of technically skilled gig workers was up 65% — compared to field gig workers, which was up 25% — from March levels. Earlier, field gig workers comprised 70% and digital gig workers were just at 30%.”
Digital requirements from businesses have increased demand for content preparations and curations. With the increased use of AI and ML -driven tech by businesses, there is a growing demand for workers to create databases for AI image-recognition.
With examinations being conducted in virtual classrooms, online proctoring companies see higher demand for human remote proctors from large assessment platforms. “They help monitor the candidates taking up the exams in real time, to prevent malpractice, answer queries and provide tech support,” Singh added.
Upskilling of gig workers has also increased. Online digital technology training provider SimpliLearn has hired 2.5 times more trainers this year. Founder & CEO Krishna Kumar said, “Frequency of weekend classes has gone up from 3-4 to 7-8. Job offers have also increased from 2-3 jobs per candidate to 5-6 now.”
Payments and data company Zaggle has hired over a dozen gig workers who are engaged in remote working. Its founder and chairman Raj N said it has saved 25% in employee cost by engaging with freelancers.