New Delhi: Around 70-80 per cent of jobs in India can be potentially outsourced but companies are reluctant to hire freelancers for their work, a joint study by research firms ICRIER and LIRNEasia said. “Indian companies are still unwilling to see the benefits of outsourcing to freelancers. Freelancing platforms state that around 70-80 per cent of jobs in the country could be potentially outsourced given the right infrastructure,” the study released on Wednesday said. The study on ‘The Potential and Challenges for Online Freelancing and Microwork in India’ collected inputs from 1,976 respondents across the country covering student and non-student freelancers. The survey received inputs from Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana.
The study found that freelancers are treated as ‘second grade’ compared to individuals with permanent jobs. “The stability and security of a traditional 9 am to 5 pm jobs is still seen as superior,” the study said. Skill development and entrepreneurship ministry secretary K.P. Krishnan said that three factors, technology, organisation and employment patterns, are rapidly changing work environment in India and in the rest of the world.
“There is a need to build awareness and correct perceptions, indeed prejudices related to microwork and online freelancing in India. The traditional mindset that privileges full-time employment over freelancing is a hard nut to crack,” ICRIER director Rajat Kathuria said. He said that the study aimed to find scenario of online freelance jobs to address issue of underemployment in India.
“We find that online freelancing is a solution to underemployment, where people who are already working are using it to make additional and much needed income. For many women who are stay-at-home mothers, it was seen as an opportunity to make at least a little bit of money independently, without having to ask her husband for money,” LIRNEasia CEO Helani Galpaya said. Unlike many other countries, India has large enough local market to create this type of work for its workers, she said.
Info Edge, co-founder and executive vice-chairman, Sanjeev Bikhchandani said that there are many sectors where it is not possible to outsource high portion of work to freelance professional but in service industry the percentage may be as high as suggested the in study. He said that a freelancer has to be an entrepreneur who regularly competes and continuously acquires new skills. Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar said that re-skilling and upskilling is basic formula to remain in the job and there is no alternative to it.