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How Indian companies are embracing freelance economy
Lipi Agrawal | HRKatha | New Delhi | Thursday, 27 October 2016

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Organisations are hiring independent professionals with high-quality talent and expertise for short bursts and specific purposes, only to fulfil key initiatives.

Indian organisations are opening up to the idea of leveraging talent on a flexible basis, with increased focus on skills and delivery rather than complex contracts. Interestingly, 61 per cent of the demand for freelancers involves less than three months of commitment. This indicates that firms are hiring high-quality talent and expertise for a short burst, with a specific purpose, to fulfil key initiatives.

A recent report by Flexing It, that leverages its proprietary data borne out of the short-term, project- based and consulting assignments posted on the platform from April 2016 to September 2016, reveals that businesses in India are slowly adopting a more open outlook towards flexible working. Remarkably, the flexible working norms are also taking a new turn with independent working going beyond remote working. 46 per cent of the projects posted have an onsite component. While MNCs and large corporates prefer onsite work, startups are more agile and flexible, creating more remote assignments.

The report states that 55 per cent of project requirements are for part-time resources requiring less than 40 hours per week. In addition, it also notes that a majority of shorter projects are remote, while longer projects tend to have a greater onsite component. The daily fee received in the longer projects is higher than in the short-term projects. However, a majority of professionals choose short-term projects indicating that independent professionals value flexibility and learning in their careers more than other factors, including compensation growth.

Among the Indian organisations opening up to flexi-workers, startups and SMEs take the lead, making about 50 per cent of the businesses looking to engage with freelancers and business consultants. The startups are engaging with independent workers for projects in the field of marketing (21 per cent), creative and design services (17 per cent), and sales (17 per cent). On the other hand, the skills that are most sought after in flexi-working by large corporations and MNCs are, finance (26 per cent), IT (15 per cent) and strategy and consulting (15 per cent).

Organisations are no longer restricting their work to only those employees who can come in to the office every day and clock nine hours of work. Companies are now devising creative ways to get work delivered by assessing the capacity needed for base load delivery versus additional resources that can be brought on board as and when needed. The cities that top in hiring freelancers include Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore making up two thirds of the demand.

Chandrika Pasricha, founder and CEO, Flexing It says, “As technology, culture, demographics and expectations of professionals from their jobs today, undergo rapid transformation, Indian companies are evolving their HR policies to embrace the freelance economy. Organisations are bringing independent professionals on board to drive projects and new initiatives, access quality capacity during peak periods, retain flexibility, and of course source very specific skills and expertise.”

The winds of change are certainly sweeping across industries with the sectors innovating in the way they engage freelancers, including professional services (21 per cent), IT services (13 per cent), banks and financials (10 per cent), e-commerce & retail (8 per cent) and FMCG (7 per cent). The numbers are indicative of the fact that the future is bright for talent that has the right skills organisations are looking for. On the other hand, for businesses it means prepping for managing talent that’s more mobile and need-based than permanent.

© 2016 HR Katha
Last modified on Thursday, 27 October 2016

2 comments

  • Comment Link Shalini Sharma Friday, 19 May 2017 posted by Shalini Sharma

    The beauty of this market is that many of the large consulting firms focus on thin slices of the market creating an opportunity for individual consultants.

    Consider independent consulting marketplace like https://www.upkonnect.com/. It's a Curated Network for Experts, connects Independent consultants, CxOs & Leaders for Consulting Assignments, Business Advisory & Insights.

  • Comment Link Amit Pandya Thursday, 27 October 2016 posted by Amit Pandya

    1. Interesting trend. But quick points :-

    a) What are the implications for safety and security of proprietary data borne out of freelance work?

    b) Is sufficient freelance talent available in the market for producing quality work?

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