Future of Freelancing in India and Freelancing Statistics You must Know!

Niku Mandal Niku Mandal
Sep 26, 2020 10 min read
Future of Freelancing in India and  Freelancing Statistics You must Know!

With rising levels of unemployment, employee dissatisfaction, job-hopping and entrepreneurship due to COVID-19, the Indian economy today is ascending towards a rather unpredictable change. Thus, freelancing, the new work culture that has slowly crept into the Indian mindset owing to its universal versatility and independent lifestyle. The future of freelancing in India looks promising. Many individuals are choosing to work according to their preference like where they want, when they want and the work of their choice. By 2025, freelancing statistics is estimated to grow to $20 to 30 billion In India.

Freelancing in India has already become popular enough to catch hold of a large segment of job-seeking, independent professionals looking forward to learning new ideas and explore more work genres. Freelancing in India sees a remarkable growth, giving a new voice to the modern, hard-working youth from different aspects of Indian society.

But, is it here to stay? In this article, we have analyzed about the present and future of freelancing in India, and some important facts and figures you would love to know about the freelancing sector -

Some Interesting Freelancing Statistics about the Indian Freelancing Sector
Current Trends in the Indian Freelancing Sector
How much a Freelancer earn in India?
Will AI Pose a Threat for Freelancers?
What Experts have to Say about the Future of Freelancing in India?

Some Interesting Freelancing Statistics about the Indian Freelancing Sector

If statistics are to be believed, India is the home to the second largest number of freelancers standing next to the USA. The number of freelancers in India is whopping 15 million individuals, working independently in wide array of sectors like IT and programming, finance, sales and marketing, designing, animation, videography, content and academic writing etc. Reports hold that one-in-four freelancers in the world is from India.

While a major part of freelancer's income comes from foreign sources, mostly Europe and the US, the rising culture of Startup and entrepreneurship in India, contributes handsomely as well when it comes to measuring the pay scales. As per Wikipedia, by 2020, 50% of workers are expected to go freelance. Currently, there are 15 million freelancers in India. Again as per some reports, the  number of freelancers in India will grow to whopping $20-30 billion by 2025.

Freelancing Statics
Freelancing Statics

Since the startup culture is here to stay for the long haul (owing to several government schemes as well) the freelancing business, as the experts predict, will only see more and more partakers leaving their corporate jobs behind and joining the ranks. Freelancers are in high demand and Companies right from start-ups to top-notch corporate are now reaching out to freelancers to seek their expertise to various projects and initiatives. If the momentum came from the startup revolution, the result will be a boom in the freelancing industry in India.

However, the payment received by the freelancers in India is less than that of their counterparts in other parts of the world. According to the 2020 Freelancer Income Report by Payoneer, a global digital payments platform, Indian freelancers work for an average hourly rate of $18, while globally the average hourly rate is $21.

Freelancers are consistently gaining prominence and the perception that they are an inferior crop of professionals is gradually changing as even people with top educational and professional backgrounds are quitting full-time employment to provide their skills and services as independent consultants.

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There was a time when freelancing was not seen as a main source of income. It was rather viewed as something that students or house wives do to earn some extra money. However, owing to many reasons, freelancing is fast becoming popular among the youth both in India and globally. Some of the major reasons for growing popularity of freelancing are flexibility of working as per one's own convenience, higher income and availability of wide range of tasks to choose from. Lets have a look at some of the current trends in the Indian freelancing industry.

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1. Increasing Number of Corporate Professionals in India are Turning Freelancers

The freelancing business’s overwhelming success has paved the way for a new trend and widened the scope of its popularity in future. Today, more and more corporate professionals and graduates of some of the country's top colleges (read, IITs, NITs, and IIMs) are keen on leaving their jobs to opt for a more relaxed lifestyle, a far cry from the 9 to 5 schedule.

These highly skilled individuals, talented beyond doubt, and brimming with curiosity to learn more and expand their professional barricades, have formed a whole new category of highly skilled, well-experienced corporate freelancers who offer their services as independent contractors.

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2. Increase in Number of Part-time Freelancers

In the present scenario, the moonlighters or the part-time freelancers occupy a fair share as well. Freelancing provides a welcome break from the monotony and the opportunity to learn more. Who can refuse?

So many professionals have chosen to freelance as part-time work. You can depend on projects for every month. So, it is far better if you continue this with your full-time job.

3. Large Number of Indian Women are Becoming Freelancers

The freelancing business in India has also resulted in the rise of the woman workforce. These empowered, confident women workers break the barriers of societal norms by working online from home. The popularity among the woman, who cannot leave the homes out of personal reasons, hence, is obvious and here to stay. According to a recent study by Payoneer, one in every five Indian freelancers is a woman.

4.Increasing Number of Freelancers in India

Freelancers in India have been boosting the growth of startups in a big way. As a new company, startups are usually not in a position to hire highly skilled workforce permanently, which is why they are looking at the massive talent pool available in the freelance sector.

Increase in Indian Freelancers
Increase in Indian Freelancers

Such a strategy while being cost-effective also fulfills the need for specific skills-set not available internally. While fostering the start-up economy in the country, freelancers today are also increasingly providing their expertise to top-drawer corporates as business environments and needs evolve.

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5. Indians' Perspective towards Freelancing is Changing

There used to be an image when the freelancing business was frowned upon by the elders. The work culture, after all, lacks the stability and securities that come with a regular job. Of course, there came family restrictions as well, with many branding freelancing as ‘not a real job‘ and not everyone wants an erratic paycheck for their son. Not after all the money spent on college.

Fast forward to a decade, the scenario shows some positive signs of a change. From the increasing number of freelancers (look at the stats!) to the gaining acceptance of refusing the placement offers for a startup. The change is already here, as well as social acceptance. Are you a part of it?

How much a Freelancer earn in India?

Benefits of Start-ups
Benefits of Start-ups

Freelancing is the best option for workaholics because there is no limit on how much money you can make. The more services you provide the more your earning will be. Only because of this advantage many people are switching their career from full-time job to freelancing. This is why the freelancing business will grow more and more in future. Because nowadays people are so talented and have the hunger to grow and become rich.

According to a report published in 2018 by digital payment company Paypal, freelancers in India earn 19 lakh per annum on an average. In the survey conducted by Paypal on 500 freelancers, it found that 23% of the freelancers earn upto Rs 60 lakh annually, 13 % earn 10-15 lakhs per annum, 8% earn 7.5-10 lakhs/annum, while the rest 23% earn an annual income of Rs 5 lakh

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Will AI Pose a Threat for Freelancers?

Several reports claim that soon many jobs including freelancing jobs will be taken over by AI (Artificial Intelligence). AI is the next boom and even many businesses already implemented AI. And as it is growing it has already become a threat for the professionals but freelancing will be less impacted. Why!? Because there are so many things out there which AI can't do and maybe will not be able to do in future also.

As digital marketing expert Larry Alton says, "Growth in AI isn’t going to replace web developers, accountants, lawyers, and consultants. If anything, it’s going to assist them and make them more efficient and profitable"
AI Acquisitions Since 2010
AI Acquisitions Since 2010

Freelancers have the opportunity to connect with more and more people which AI can't do. Also, AI can't learn various creativity each person has. No one can communicate better than human. So, there are so many ways that the freelancing business can grow in future and will be less impacted by AI.

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What Experts have to Say about the Future of Freelancing in India?

Steven Reubenstone, Founder of Collaborizm, an online collaborative community-based in Miami, US, says that 75 per cent of the 115,000 individuals on the platform are freelancing from India.

The motivation comes from the chance to find ‘new cool projects to work on, and enhance their credentials’.

The Future of Freelancing in India
The Future of Freelancing in India

According to a PwC report, in coming times big organizations will prefer to have less in-house employees and more freelancers in their workforce.

Today, Freelancing look a brighter landscape that will continue to light the future. As more and more generations join in and unemployment grows, it comes as no surprise that even experts regard that this work culture is here to stay at least for the next few years. Though the foreign payment options are still scarce and highly inefficient and though there are no rules yet to protect the right of this workforce, freelancing has found acceptance and the future, albeit unpredictable, looks positive.

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According to some research there are many challenges as well as opportunities that freelancing industry can bring in the future. But if businesses and organizations give more importance to hiring freelancers and develop or integrate systems that encourages freelancing then it will help both business and freelancers. But freelancers must learn new skills to compete in this competitive market where new freelancers as well as new technologies are coming everyday.

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