Gig workers in India are commonly referred to by a variety of terms, including partners, part-time workers, agents, or solopreneurs, highlighting the diverse nature of their work arrangements. Gig work is currently not spread across all sectors of the economy, though it has the potential to become a major form of work in the future. An IBEF report cites top industries that are transforming to gig like textile, banking and financial services, electricity, gas, and water; real estate, IT and ITES, education, and personal services.

Gig workers seem to differ from conventional workers in terms of some individual characteristics. For instance, in certain cities women with young kids prefer high-skill segments with flexible work hours, to fulfill both their work and childcare commitments. Students look at the gig economy as an additional source of income. Similarly, students looking for partial incomes with flexible schedules form a part of the gig workforce.

Let us deep dive into the literature around gig work in India:

1. Location:

Gig work, especially location-based gig work is primarily concentrated in urban areas. An essential feature of gig work is to be able to do small parcels of tasks within a short period of time. In order for such work to be economically viable for workers, the search cost for jobs must be low.

Information Technology in the form of smartphone-powered platforms has reduced this transaction cost substantially in the recent past, thus enabling gig work to grow beyond the local.

However, the geographical spread of gig work – now, much beyond local – is constrained by the need for gig marketplaces to reap economies of scale. Hence, such work remains largely urban, concentrated within large cities of the country. 

PickMyWork is proud to have the maximum number of users from tier 2&3 cities majorly in the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. We have covered 95% of pin codes in India with the help of digital penetration in the country.

2. Education:

Growing evidence from around the world shows that work of all degrees of complexity is now becoming gig work. Thus gig work requires a range of skill sets.

But to start gigging in this age, basic technology usage and basic levels of education are definitely required. Thus it is not surprising to see that studies have found gig workers in general to have educational levels ranging between secondary school and graduation, mirroring the more significant trends in the Indian economy where academic levels are constantly rising.

3. Age Group:

A number of studies have noted that gig workers are young compared to non-gig workers and lie within the age group of 18-45 years. It is the potential age group for estimating workers in the gig and platform sectors.

At PickMyWork top earning gig workers are from the age group of 17-29 years old which is the future and youth of the nation.

4. Ownership of Mobile Phones:

All platform-based gig workers require ownership or access to mobile phones or similar electronic devices to operate the software interface. 

5. Bank Account:

Most app-based or platform-based services pay per task. The payment is made only through authorized banks, as other forms of payment are non-scalable. The online banking system is an important innovation that enables and powers the operation of the platform economy. Hence, we assume that all workers who are part of the gig economy must have a bank account.

It is interesting to note that non-platform gig workers include workers such as construction workers, landscapers, cleaners, and other manual laborers who often work in the informal sector. One of the challenges faced by non-platform gig workers is the reliance on cash payments. While cash payments can be convenient for both the worker and the client, they can also create issues such as a lack of financial security, difficulty in tracking earnings and expenses, and potential tax and legal issues.

According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Board, in 2020, 30% of workers in the gig economy reported receiving cash payments for their work. Among non-platform gig workers, this number was even higher at 40%. This highlights the continued prevalence of cash payments in the non-platform gig economy.

Gig workers need financial security more than ever:

One of the main drawbacks of cash payments is the need for the more financial security they provide. Workers who are paid in cash often do not have access to the same financial tools and services as those who receive digital payments. This can make it difficult for them to save for emergencies, plan for retirement, or access credit. Another issue with cash payments is the difficulty in tracking earnings and expenses.

Without a digital record of transactions, it can be challenging for workers to keep track of how much they are earning and where their money is going. This can make it difficult to budget and plan for the future.

Nevertheless, the gig economy is emerging in prominence and its rising presence cannot be ignored. The gig economy is bound to expand on account of both conversions of conventional jobs into gig work and also due to new sectors that depend on platform and gig work.