Globally, India ranks as the 2nd largest freelance workforce after the US with over 15 million people working independently in various sectors such as IT and programming, finance, sales and marketing, designing, animation, videography, content and academic writing. In 2020, 50% of workers are expected to go freelance.
India has about 15 million freelancers and they have been significantly boosting the growth of start-ups. While fostering the start-up economy in the country, Indian freelancers are also increasingly providing expertise to top-drawer corporations as business environments and needs evolve.
There are numerous highly educated women armed with masters and doctorate degrees in India who cannot pursue a regular occupation due to family and social obligations. Rather than cutting short their professional careers, these women seek out freelancing options.
Despite freelancing providing a viable career option for women looking for flexibility and control the number of Indian women taking up freelancing is still small as compared to their male counterparts. In a survey conducted by Payoneer, a payments services provider based in New York in 2015, only 22 per cent of Indian freelancers are women. Not only this but the same report reveals that women are paid lesser than the men who freelance. While a male freelancer earns $19 per hour on an average, a female freelancer apparently earns $17 per hour for the same project.
The distinct shifts in areas like technology, culture, demographics and professional needs and goals have driven companies to reassess their human resource policies in order to accommodate the burgeoning freelance economy. It comes as no surprise that the start-ups in India are hiring 50 per cent of the total freelancing workforce. These companies are not only hiring freelancers or independent consultants at lower management. In fact, freelance CFO’s are also getting on board in order to help streamline a company’s finances. According to industry estimates, hiring their services of an outsourced CFO can result in operational savings of 30 to 70 per cent and depending upon the nature of the job, fees charged can range from Rs 30,000 to a few lakhs per month.