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A changing work culture, the current economic environment, the growing preference of employers to attract independent and high-skilled consultants in varied sectors to fulfill short-term requirements without bothering about long- term productivity is driving this revival (Bloomberg)
A changing work culture, the current economic environment, the growing preference of employers to attract independent and high-skilled consultants in varied sectors to fulfill short-term requirements without bothering about long- term productivity is driving this revival (Bloomberg)

Gig workers’ pay recovers

  • Their salaries are returning to pre-covid levels after dropping 20-25% post the nationwide lockdown, says a survey.

New Delhi: Independent professional consultants or high-skilled gig workers’ salary in India is coming back to the pre-covid-19 levels, after dropping between 20% to 25% post the nationwide lockdown, a fresh survey released on Tuesday said.

A changing work culture, the current economic environment, the growing preference of employers to attract independent and high-skilled consultants in varied sectors to fulfill short-term requirements without bothering about long- term productivity is driving this revival.

The survey, carried out among 70,000 independent professionals and based in 384,000 salary quotations by human resource firm FlexingIt, indicates a revival in the salary space in the labour market and would cheer employees who have faced either a job cut or salary cut in the past appraisal season.

“The median fee earned by independent consultants dropped by almost 25% between the first and second quarter of 2020 but started picking up 3rd quarter onwards- slowly reaching the pre-Covid-19 levels. In the FMCG industry, consultants were least impacted by the pandemic in terms of fees but others in industries like professional services, pharmaceuticals, and education, experienced a decrease of over 20% in their median compensation between the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2020,"said the survey.

The professional gig economy or the market of the highly-skilled freelance and independent talents values experience, with skill levels, education and years of experience determining the fee they command, it said.

The survey said they observed the income earned by consultants’ increases by 120% for those with with 15-20 years of experience as against their junior with five to 10 years’ experience. The per-day consultancy fee for them was 15,000 as against 6,800 for the junior lot.

In addition to experience in years, the "quality" of a consultant’s educational background, past organizations, and feedback on prior projects has a significant impact on their ability to charge higher fees.

“For instance, for a strategy consultant with 15-20 years' experience, the per diem fees can vary from 15,000 at the median level to 61,600 at the 90th percentile," said the survey.

Similarly, the median payment for a 15-20 years experienced independent consultants is now 12,500 per day in pharma sector, 12,000 per day both in FMCG and development sectors, and almost 13,500 in education sector.

Chandrika Pasricha, founder and chief executive of FlexingIt, said in a telephone interview that quality consciousness of employers and the current business environment is driving the change here.

"As top-tier global talent increasingly chooses freelancing because of the flexibility, autonomy and financial opportunities it offers, corporates are increasingly recognizing and leveraging this talent pool for the agility, quality and specialized skills they bring to the table," said Pasricha, adding that their survey findings represents a host of skills sets in varied roles like strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology, human resource etc.

However, the survey said that women freelance consultants are still not getting a pay parity with their male counterparts and their fee payments are almost 35% less. Pasricha, however, said that things are slowly changing for good as corporates are getting conscious about the value and productivity they bring to the workspace.

The survey comes, following other findings by global HR consultancy Aon, which had said earlier this month that almost 87% companies they surveyed intend to pay out salary hike in 2021.

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