As the nature of work is changing all over the world, freelancing is quickly becoming a viable option for a wide range of professionals across disciplines and levels of expertise, with social media being the most popular place to find work. Freelancing is also creating a talent pool for businesses to explore.
The fifth edition of the Payoneer Freelancer Insights Report, 2,000 freelancers in 122 countries provide some insight into the changing demand and supply of freelancing work opportunities.
46 per cent of those polled reported an increase in demand for their work. Meanwhile, 73 per cent people said it was difficult to find new clients.
So, how do global freelancer demand and supply compare to the situation in India?
India's survey respondents were younger compared to those from other parts of th world, with 40 per cent under the age of 25 and 39 per cent under the age of 35.
Some of the key areas for Indian freelancers include web and graphic design, information technology, content writing, multimedia production, translation, programming, and marketing.
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Approximately 70 per cent of Indian survey respondents work solely as freelancers or for their own businesses, compared to 76 per cent in the rest of Asia and 67 per cent in all other regions. 48 per cent of freelancers reported to work 30 hours or less per week.
There is also a wage disparity between men and women. While the overall average hourly rate for Indian respondents was $22, higher than the rest of Asia ($19), it was still lower than the rest of the world ($26). The average rate for women was $19, compared to $23 for men.
India's freelancers are well educated, with 61 per cent having a bachelor's degree, and 19 per cent of respondents having a postgraduate degree.
However, their hourly rate does not fully reflect their education, indicating that there is still a mismatch in terms of freelancing expertise, payments, and qualifications in some cases.
Decoding the demand
Although demand in India is increasing, it remains lower than in the rest of Asia.
India's survey respondents under the age of 35 have seen a significantly higher increase in demand than older freelancers, though rates have increased at a similar rate for all age groups.
In India, two-thirds of respondents predicted that demand would continue to rise, and more than half predicted that their business would expand significantly (by more than 50 per cent year-on -year).
Finding new work was the most difficult challenge for survey respondents in India and around the world, followed by managing their time and negotiating their fees.
As more people pursue such opportunities, 69 per cent of India's freelancers report increased competition. This is lower than in the rest of Asia (73 per cent), but higher than in other regions (59 per cent).
Methods for finding work
As much as 68 per cent of Indian respondents said they got new jobs primarily through social media. This is slightly less than in the rest of Asia, while slightly more than in other regions.
India's freelancers use social media platforms such as LinkedIn more than their peers, but receive less work from word-of-mouth referrals.
Among those that use social platforms in India, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the most popular platforms.
How do freelancers deal with wage and work shift fluctuations?
Over 60 per cent of survey respondents increased their workload, 42 per cent increased their pricing, and 32 per cent expanded geographically to expand their client base.
In terms of costs, 26 per cent reduced their personal expenses, compared to 34 per cent in the rest of Asia and 39 per cent in the rest of the world.
As more people experiment with freelancing and learn how to manage demand, cash flow, and time, the report showed that 55 per cent of them were satisfied, while 25 per cent were extremely satisfied with their freelancing lifestyle.