The bright spot in India’s dismal job market: freelancing

I’m the boss.
I’m the boss.
Image: AP Photo/Altaf Qadri
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Indians with full-time jobs may be struggling to retain their positions or find new ones, but freelancers in Asia’s third-largest economy seem to be on a roll.

Over 40% of Indian freelancers surveyed by e-payments firm PayPal saw their businesses grow “very fast” in the last year.

The survey covered 500 individuals working in areas like mobile development, internet research, accounting,  graphics designing, online marketing and sales, photography, and content writing, among others.

Indian freelancers are mostly men (over 80% of the respondents) and freelancing itself has picked up only in recent years, the PayPal survey showed. Nearly 60% of those surveyed had freelanced for only between three and five years, and less than 20% for close to 10 years.

The main lure was the freedom to choose, the respondents said, though some also earned more than what they could in a full-time role.

Nearly half of the respondents worked with around 10 clients per year, and over 80% have international clients in Australia, US, the UK, and east Asia, among other countries.

Almost half their assignments came through word of mouth.

Nevertheless, freelancing has its set of challenges.

From instability to a lack of work-life balance, freelancers fight many battles. They also incur expenses that full-timers don’t do, like on computers and software, business travel, banking fees, and freelancer platform fees.

Yet, an overwhelming 92% of the respondents swear by freelancing.