The Indian employment sector is registering a noticeable trend. There seems to be room enough to accommodate freelancers in the corporate environment. This rather minority section that choose to work independently is having numbers added to its legions. As more and more people open shop to offer their services to big firms or leave their steady jobs to find their footing in the world of freelancing, this wave is worth examining.

The emergence of freelancers has been predicted to be a leading indicator in the transformation of the working sector, in the coming decades. The statistics of the Freelancers Union and the Government Accountability Office of USA show that the freelancers would come to occupy 50% of the professional sector in 2020 from the 30% they constituted in 2006. The financial figures of online transactions made through independent professionals have gone past $ 1 billion, which will double in 2014 and be around $ 5 billion by 2018. The echoes of independent working are gaining momentum in India too, where it is becoming a more mainstream occurrence than a handful community it once was.

No more a gender-specific pattern

Though there might be a perception that only full-time mothers opt to work as freelancers, this is a lazy myth as the demographics of independent professionals get more uniform. Besides the mentioned young mothers, a host of people across a diverse cross section are joining the freelancing segment. Causes vary from restriction of individual potential, pursuit of a personal dream, an unconstructive office-space, the drive to attain a substantial body of work in a smaller time frame or a simple need to equally cater to one’s personal and professional spaces. An equal number of men are starting independent consultancy services or prioritizing single projects over the comfort of a corporate umbrella. This is not an isolated phenomenon restricted to the creative spheres but increasingly seen in the technical and corporate domains even, where individuals are opting to go independent after having long worked for a company.

Becoming a mainstream wave

While the lure for freelancing had been greater in the design, creative and information technology zones, now folks from integral service areas like management, business development, strategy, human resource, sales, marketing, academia and research are taking up consulting and freelancing activities. The mainstream corporate fields are witnessing the rise of the freelancing tribe.

Better acceptance of newer freelancing roles

With the growth of the independent professional field, there have emerged newer functions to perform. Corporate freelancers, entrepreneurs operating consultancies and full-time professionals who moonlight as consultants in their spare time have fuelled the growth of opportunities. There are also those who follow individual passions and freelance to be buoyed financially.

There are several conditions that support the freelancing community in the present corporate climate. For one thing it gives today’s individualistic generation control over their own work process—the nature and amount of work—they design their own schedules to meet deadlines. On the other hand, the corporate houses are finding it cheaper to outsource specialized tasks rather than keeping staff on a constant payroll for the same. Furthermore, the unpredictability of the financial situation is making it expedient for companies to choose from a pool of talent and expertise to hire need-specific workers who give them the professional worth of high-ranking firms. It is also convenient for small companies and start-ups to hire freelancers than hire employees.

Though freelancers still face teething troubles. The pressure of maintaining a constant clientele, having to individually handle all their financial, administrative and legal troubles, and dealing with companies who leave unclear clauses in their payment contracts are a few of their concerns. However, a large chunk of freelancers are content with their jobs and enthusiastic about their future. As evidence of this, the freelance sector goes larger and healthier by the day in India.


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