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Business News/ Brand Stories / Gigonomics 2.0: Futureproofing India's gig workers

Gigonomics 2.0: Futureproofing India's gig workers

By 2025, nearly a quarter of the Indian workforce will be gig workers. Upskilling will play a crucial part in helping this group assimilate into the mainstream.

Gigonomics 2.0: Futureproofing India's gig workersPremium
Gigonomics 2.0: Futureproofing India's gig workers

In a recent digital film by Urban Company launched on its ninth anniversary, draws attention to an often overlooked but crucial concept of the dignity of labour and serves as a poignant reminder that every occupation deserves respect and acknowledgement.

In the video, an innocuous interaction between a service partner and a young boy during a bathroom cleaning service takes a serious turn when the boy innocently asks the professional if he ended up doing what he does because he wasn’t good at his studies.

The Urban Company professional breaks the awkward silence, smiles and assures the boy that grades don’t matter if you studied well. Just as it doesn’t matter what you do when you grow up, as long as you do it well.

Connected through work

Whether we run a company, create content, write code, or work as a massage therapist, work connects us all . And unbeknownst even to us, it makes us part of something larger than every single one of us.

This is especially true of the 7.7 million-strong workforce that powers India’s gig economy today. Gig economy refers to a labour market driven by short-term, flexible jobs. The drivers from your preferred ride-hailing app, the delivery executives from the restaurant aggregator, and your  Urban Company professional are all gig workers.

According to a NITI Aayog report, by 2029-30, India will have 23.5 million gig workers, a growth of 200 per cent from today’s numbers.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) reports that India’s gig economy is growing at a CAGR of 17 per cent annually.

Boston Consulting Group also indicates that the gig economy can service up to 90 million jobs, transact over $250 billion in the volume of work, and, over time, contribute an incremental 1.25 per cent to the GDP over the long term.

Harnessing India's Demographic Dividend

The potential of India’s workforce cannot be overstated. We are the most populous country in the world. And with the world’s second-largest working-age population, our workforce will continue to grow in size until 2049. With 960 million potential workers, India’s demographic dividend is about to be realised.

However, the road to success is paved with challenges.

An Omidyar Network report, The Next Frontiers: Skilling and Employability Solutions for the Next Half Billion, points out that to fully leverage the potential of this huge workforce, India must first address a two-fold employability challenge: ‘converting potential workers into active workers and upskilling those already in the workforce to prepare them for the jobs of the future.’

Enabling excellence, unlocking potential 

Upskilling opens doors to new opportunities and creates a resilient and future-ready workforce.

Since its inception, Urban Company has invested 250 crore in all and 72 crore just last year alone to skill over 50,000 service partners through 200+ in-person training centres across India, in partnership with the National Skill Development Council of India. This has helped boost their average monthly earnings to four times than their offline counterparts.

Such investments in skill development also have the power to shift generational trajectories and to elevate the status and stature of millions of blue-collar workers in society. This is evidenced by as many as 83 percent of service partners reporting increased dignity in society, within their family, community and with customers, as compared to life before partnering with Urban Company, according to the company's Annual ESG report. 

But beyond the compelling numbers story lies a fundamental truth: no task is inherently small or big, and there’s beauty in any job that’s well done. Upskilling, therefore, isn’t merely a statistical necessity or a shiny corporate strategy. If anything it’s the single most powerful tool for corporations to empower people to take pride in what they do, no matter their social strata or societal biases.

The Omidyar report also estimates an additional 100 million people entering the workforce and suggests that upskilling them would potentially help increase India’s GDP by at least 20 per cent and accelerate us towards becoming a $5 trillion economy.

As we stand on the cusp of cashing in on our demographic dividend, upskilling won’t merely prepare India’s youth for jobs of the future but also empower them to lead fulfilling and dignified lives.

Disclaimer: This article is a paid publication and does not have journalistic/editorial involvement of Hindustan Times. Hindustan Times does not endorse/subscribe to the content(s) of the article/advertisement and/or view(s) expressed herein. Hindustan Times shall not in any manner, be responsible and/or liable in any manner whatsoever for all that is stated in the article and/or also with regard to the view(s), opinion(s), announcement(s), declaration(s), affirmation(s) etc., stated/featured in the same.

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Published: 05 Dec 2023, 06:37 PM IST
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