The Surge of Gig Economy in India

Over the last few years, there has been a substantial rise in what has become to be known as “gigging”. The gig economy is defined as “the exchange of labour for money between individuals or companies via digital platforms that actively facilitate matching between providers and customers, on a short-term and payment-by-task basis.”

It is expected that India’s gig economy will triple over the next 3-4 years to 24 million jobs in the non-firm sector from the existing 8 million, according to a new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The number of gig jobs could rise to 90 million in 8-10 years, contributing an incremental 1.25% to India’s GDP.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced people to work from home and many even got kicked out of their jobs. However, this led to an influx of gig workers in 2020. With the success of platform-based companies like Uber (in ridesharing), Swiggy (in food delivery) and Urban Company (in personal services, home renovations and repair), many businesses are embracing the gig work culture with open arms. With a rise of independent workers or freelancers in the market, companies are hiring employees for short-term commitments, luring more opportunities for employees.

The gig work segment in India can be divided based on the following skills –

1. High Skill:

· Purpose Fulfillers such as Hair and beauty professional, cook, tutor

· Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Mechanic, technician, carpenter, electrician

2. Moderate Skill:

· Ambitious Hustlers: Data entry operator, telecaller, graphic designers, content writers.

· Hopeful Balancers: Cab driver, auto driver

3. Semi-skill:

· Financial Contributors: Domestic help, health care worker

· Financially Strapped Solo Earners Construction worker, food delivery agent.

4. Student:

· Earn to Burn: Telecaller, data entry operator.

· Millennial Providers: Food delivery agent, package delivery agent, data entry operator.

It is a common notion in India that if you want a successful career, you should value stability over excitement. However, this trend is definitely changing, at least for millennials and Gen-Zers. With an estimated 15 million freelancers, India has the second-largest freelance market. But the Indian freelancing market is still in its nascent stage. Therefore, there is high growth potential and lucrative options for early starters.

Gig workers in India
Source: Teamlease, Graphics by Komal Pattanayak

What’s fuelling India’s gig culture?

Higher learning curve: In terms of demographics, India has a huge young population. Therefore, well-educated millennials looking for job opportunities are ample as well. Most of them are. But the hierarchical and traditional work culture in the country does not grant opportunities democratically. This compels individuals to build their own career path.

Social acceptance: Indian society is becoming more accepting of the freelancing culture. Millennials are no longer finding the 9 to 5 job attractive. They prefer flexibility and being their own boss.

Global work opportunities: Nowadays, there are plenty of opportunities on the internet for freelancers. With increasing digitalization, various freelancing platforms and rapid IT, freelancers can find business opportunities from all over the world.

Benefits to companies

Companies can save big time by hiring experts for a specific project. It cuts their overhead expenses, produces timely output and money and time spent on interviewing and on-boarding permanent candidates, and long-term payroll expenses can be avoided.

Hiring freelancers is lucrative for startups as they are often working on tight budgets. The money saved can be utilized for strategic investments. While freelancers can help in project-based work, the existing employees can work on critical business functions.

Freelancing sites in India

The growth of the gig economy can be associated with the development of individual platforms. The platform’s features and functionalities like – ease of setting up service, subscription, job posts, the precision of matching etc., are key determinants for choosing one platform over the other. Some of India’s freelancing sites are – Worknhire, Youth4Work, Freelancer India, Truelancer, Flexiport, Design Hill and Pepper among others.

Other popular and reliable websites that operate outside India and have no problem with hiring Indians are – Behance, Fiverr, Upwork, Guru, Hubstaff Talent, Krop, Dribble, Kolabtree and SEO clerk among many others.


India has experienced significant growth in the gig economy in the last few years. There are tremendous opportunities in this sector for the youth of the country. The gig culture is not limited to just a few sectors. It applies to nearly all sectors of the economy. India has a great potential to create millions of jobs, especially for the low-income workers, while unlocking economic value and GDP growth. This will be possible with concerted efforts by market players, corporates, social sector and private and public sector players.

India’s gig economy’s potential can be unlocked by ensuring that there are relevant regulations and public policies in place for marketplaces to develop. Factors like place worker protection, smooth job search and workforce development will determine the future of India’s gig culture. 

For more extensive analysis and Market Intelligence reports feel free to approach us or visit our website: Venture Capital Market Intelligence Reports | VCBay.

We try our best to fact check and bring the best, well-researched and non-plagiarized content to you. Please let us know

-if there are any discrepancies in any of our published stories,

-how we can improve,

-what stories you would like us to cover and what information you are looking for, in the comments section below or through our contact form! We look forward to your feedback and thank you for stopping by!

Next article



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here