Traditionally, Indians have loved the idea of permanent recruitment, and for good reasons – it offers several valuable benefits. However, the world is changing fast, and it is gig jobs that shall empower the next leap in the economy. As per the NITI Aayog June 2022 report on the gig economy, the gig workforce, also known as the contractual workforce, is capable of increasing to 2.35 crore by 2030 (Decoding Jobs, Sectoral Report 2023 by Taggd). So, how will it influence the recruitment employment industry? Let’s take a look at closer look at the gig economy in the country.
Gig jobs are not all low-skilled
Firstly, a myth must be addressed – gig jobs are for low-skilled jobs. The myth must be burst. NITI Ayog report mentioned above asserts that nearly a fifth of gig workers (22 percent) are highly skilled. According to the same report, most gigs require medium skills (47 percent) (Decoding Jobs, Sectoral Report 2023 by Taggd).
The gig workforce will grow exponentially.
The gig workforce grew up by 8 percent in 2022 and is likely to grow by 9 percent in 2023 (NITI Ayog). According to the Decoding Jobs, Sectoral Report 2023 by Taggd, India will add 1.1 crore workers by 2025.
Where can one find these gig jobs?
The demand for gig jobs has presented itself across an array of sectors, including automotive, engineering & manufacturing, GIC, IT, etc. Over the next few years, this trend will dramatically change the composition of the workforce.
Challenges for a gig economy
While gig recruitment is good for the Indian economy, there are several causes of concerns surrounding this trend, including:
One of the biggest reasons why the gig force has not been thought of too highly in India is that it doesn’t have any workplace benefits. Gig workers in India largely fall in the unorganized sector, and even if they don’t, they are often deprived of many benefits available to their permanently recruited counterparts, like health insurance, retirement savings plans, etc.
The lack of workplace benefits also results in another drawback of contractual recruitment – financial insecurity. Significant and urgent medical expenses often affect the workforce severely as they don’t receive medical benefits. Similarly, there is no post-retirement financial security.
Another challenge for gig workers is the fluctuations associated with the work. There are often fluctuations and delays in their payments – far more than permanent employees. It must be noted that this fluctuation is more prevalent in medium and low-skill domains.
According to NITI Aayog June 2022 report, about a third of the gig workforce (31 percent) is low-skilled (Decoding Jobs, Sectoral Report 2023 by Taggd). These low-skilled jobs often fall in the unorganized sector and miss the benefits of the organized sector.
- Lack of Regulatory Oversight:
Perhaps the biggest challenge with the gig economy is the lack of regulatory oversight. The current legal framework doesn’t provide much in the way of legal protection to gig workers – whether it is minimum wages or the applicability of labour laws. Since gig recruitment is a flexible form of recruitment and covers a very diverse range of jobs, it is not easy to make laws for the same, and the state and union governments are still to develop basic frameworks for the same.
Addressing challenges to the gig economy
Let’s now consider what is being done or can be done to address these challenges:
- Health benefits and leaves for gig workers
An increasing gig economy has meant the rise of platforms meant for the purpose. Such platforms can be used to provide health insurance and other medical benefits for gig workers. Such benefits will help gig workers cover any sudden medical costs, hospitalization, as well as preventive care services like vaccinations and periodic health checkups). Similarly, these platforms might also be an option for paid leaves for gig workers.
- Assistance in skill development
Platforms may also assist gig employees in developing new skills related to their jobs and thus self-improve by learning new skills. That’s critical for informal sectors in particular like driving, masonry, etc. Such platforms can provide certifications and thus begin the process of formalizing these skills, allowing workers better chances to progress in their careers.
The lack of legal protection for gig workers is a challenge that can only be answered by creating new laws and policies that provide protection currently available to permanent employees under present labour laws (minimum wages, security, etc.). The rights of gig workers have unfortunately been ignored by lawmakers in the country; luckily, the condition is changing. The Social Security Code of 2020 was a step in the right direction.
Social Security Code (2020) and gig workers
The new Social Security Code, introduced in 2020, has created some regulations for the benefit of gig workers, as mentioned in Decoding Jobs, Sectoral Report 2023 by Taggd.
- A Security Fund from the centre and the state have been introduced. Various gig companies need to allocate 1-2% of their annual revenue.
- Employee Provident Fund for employees and gig workers was also made mandatory in companies with 20+ employees.
- Gratuity benefits for gig workers were also introduced.
These benefits are only beginning, and several other reforms, including minimum wages, may have to be introduced.
Advantages of gig jobs
Thus far, we have focused on the challenges the gig workforce faces, but the picture is not all gloomy. There are several benefits of having a gig job, including:
A gig worker can decide what type of gig he takes. It thus offers one flexibility of working at hours that suit one best, especially with freelance work.
Gig jobs can give one relative freedom, and one need no longer be confined to routines imposed by permanent jobs.
- Greater bargaining power
Gig workers can bargain for a better price as they gain experience and learn more skills. Since they are not contractually bound, they can do so with greater bargaining power.
These advantages make gig worker’s life enticing to people who don’t want to be tied down by the limitations of traditional permanent recruitment.
How to find gig jobs?
The best way to find gig jobs is through online recruitment platforms and employment recruiting companies like Taggd. Taggd is the biggest such platform, with experience in over fourteen industries. With a PAN India presence and numerous clients, Taggd is the perfect way of getting a gig job.