HomeBlogcovidHow Covid has transformed the Gig Economy

How Covid has transformed the Gig Economy

The gig economy refers to the market system in which short-term services are provided by people on online platforms, getting paid based on task completion. ‘Gig’ can be described as a contract or commitment for a short period. Classically associated with musicians and stage artists, gigs are now the new trend featuring work opportunities in all sectors. Gigs or freelancing jobs are on the rise due to their adaptable nature. Various digital platforms and apps are flourishing, making it easy to connect with employers and establish a deal. The digital advancement has further made it widely accessible to folks.

Most people participate in the gig economy by choice, preferring it as a primary income source because of the flexibility it provides, some do it along with their job for extra resources, and some are just students who search for a part-time income source. The gig economy has thrived over the past few years, and the pandemic has contributed to its popularity. Although it doesn’t align with the preceding work system where social networking was a part of the job, teamwork and harmony were as crucial as the work. It may seem shallow and greedy to the admirers of such a work system, but with a complex and hectic life schedule, it is a worthy option. Due to the restrictive flow of money during the pandemic, many organizations opted for gig workers to reduce operational expenses. The surge of opportunities in IT, designing, sales and marketing and HR, in addition to the delivery services, have caused the gig economy to expand exponentially.

Gig culture helps startups and organizations struggling to keep the operation going on with its cost-effective nature. The amount of work posted on digital platforms has increased drastically in the pandemic.

Although with increasing opportunities, an increase in demand is also seen, which disrupted the supply-demand ratio.

The gig economy exhibits on online platforms where employees and employers are connected according to their work specifications. Since the pandemic made everyone use the online working mode, many people discovered the gig culture and started freelancing. Internet accessibility introduced people to new ways of working and made resources accessible. The technological advancement that came with the pandemic helped gig culture to expand.

Another factor contributing to the rise of gig culture in the pandemic is the increasing demand for work-life balance. The enforcement of remote work made it difficult for employees to balance their personal and professional lives, especially for workers who need to care for their kids or parents.

Freelancing helped them manage their schedule with flexibility and short-term commitment. Many employees have transitioned from full-time jobs to freelancing to enjoy the benefits. Gig workers are relatively more productive and happier with their job than full-time workers. The emergence of various platforms has also provided the security of payment. Seeing such an increase in the gig economy, governments
have passed laws to secure gig workers. For instance, the Indian government passed the “code on social security” to provide disability cover, health insurance, maternity benefits, old age protection, etc.

Further commission taken by platforms was limited to prevent exploitation of workers. Sapin has also categorized gig workers as wage labourers. All these steps somewhat eradicated the fear that accompanies gig culture, making it a more reliable source of work.

During the lockdown, the gig sectors such as grocery/food delivery, software, IT, healthcare, banking and investment and online surveys were in high demand. In contrast, ride-sharing, home rental services were not doing well due to movement restrictions. The gig economy is being considered as the future of work, and if we look at the statistics, it proves so. The independence it provides is captivating to a large crowd which ensures its inflation in the future. The gig economy, like any other economy, has its drawbacks. Workers who rely on gigs as their primary source of income are anxious about the consistency of their income.

The benefits they get is still an issue of debate. But putting the drawback aside, covid had a positive effect on the gig economy. According to a report by ASSOCHAM, the Indian gig sector is expected to increase at an annual growth rate of 17% by 2024, estimating a total of US$ 455 billion. The global gig economy was estimated to be worth $347 billion in 2021, making it an integral part of the economy.

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