The Rise Of Free-Agents: 1.5 Crore Indian Freelancers Working With IT Firms As Demand For Gig Workers Increase
IT companies in India are increasing their workforce by hiring freelancers, project-based workers, independent contractors, and part-time hires in a bid to tackle high attrition levels.
Dubbed the ‘gig workforce’, these workers possess specialised technical skills to complete pending digital projects and fill new roles.
Filling up attrition-led void
TCS, Infosys Ltd., and Wipro announced high attrition rates In their June quarterly earnings calls.
TCS had a 19.7% attrition rate in the past 12 months, while it stood at 23.3% for Wipro during the quarter.
HCL Technologies’ attrition rate climbed to 23.8% in the June quarter from 21.9% in the March quarter.
How top IT firms are adapting
TCS calls its gig workforce the “talent cloud”, referring to a virtual talent pool available for any project and locations to meet client demand and project needs.
Infosys expects more gig jobs to emerge in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analytics, product engineering, cloud computing and UI/UX design.
Wipro’s TopCoder, a platform marketplace with 1.5 million freelancing coders, recorded a 60% sequential rise in registrations since March 2020.
Tech Mahindra hires gig workers for niche skills.
To that end it has built an external marketplace called BeGig that helps other employers hire freelance workforce.
On an upwards trajectory
The company’s global chief people officer Harshvendra Soin said that this has helped create a robust talent pipeline and increased diversity among the workforce.
India currently has more than 15 million freelance workers deployed on tech projects, according to a June 2022 Assocham report.
The domestic gig economy is forecasted to grow 17% to $455 billion by 2024.
Another estimate by India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) projected the country to have 350 million gig jobs by 2025.
No more prejudices
Kamal Karanth, co-founder of Xpheno, a specialised staffing solutions firm, remarked that the growth of gig workers’ consumption by tech enterprises has seen sequential growth ranging from 2% to 19% depending on the nature of talent.
The long-held scepticism surrounding a gig worker’s efficiency and dependability has changed by the pandemic-induced remote work.
Over 50% of companies were hiring gig workers when Nasscom and Aon India Consulting issued their December 2020 report.
The trend for the next five years is upward looking even though gig headcount is superseded by total headcount, staying in only single digits.
Gig workforce is predicted by Nasscom to be a key component of the blended workforce model of the future.
This will be further accelerated by a greater evolution of hybrid work models and favourable government policies to support India’s knowledge economy.
This will lead to availability of a wider talent pool and job creation.