Job flexibility strikes a chord with young gig workforce

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India's young workforce is opting for gig roles like never before. In the first quarter of FY23, the segment of the workforce with 3–5-year experience joining gig saw a 50% increase compared to the same time last year, as younger professionals increasingly sought flexibility, revealed data from freelance jobs platform Flexing It,

Reasons for the increased adoption of gig also include the demand for technology skills, and increased acceptance and confidence in freelancing as a profession of choice, which is reflected in companies such as HUL and Axis Bank among others, putting in place gig hiring initiatives.

Another indicator of companies adapting to flexible work was that despite the return to office, remote comprised 44% of all projects in the April to June quarter of FY23. This is higher than the pre-pandemic levels (year 2019-20), when remote comprised only 10% of the projects.

“The sharp increase in younger professionals joining the freelance talent marketplace accelerated in this quarter. However, not enough women professionals are leveraging freelancing as a career, despite the skills they represent being in high demand,” said Chandrika Pasricha, founder & CEO, Flexing It, elaborating on the data.

At HUL, of the active consultants currently engaged in its gig platform Open2U projects (about 15), nearly 50% are women and about 30% of the active consultants have less than five years of experience. “The Open2U programme offers projects that are location-agnostic with flexible working hours. “This has helped us cast a wider net and tap into talent skilled in niche and specialist areas like R&D, automation, smart manufacturing, and cyber security within tier 2 & 3 cities,” said Anuradha Razdan, executive director, human resources at HUL.

That's not all. Open2U has helped bring highly-skilled women working on projects across D2C, innovation & product development, design thinking and brand strategy into the HUL fold. “We are seeing a high number of women in metros as well as tier 2 cities who are well-qualified and signing up for the programme as they are interested in pursuing gig work that offers location flexibility and flexible working hours. Experienced women overseas looking to come back to India have also begun applying for the programme,” said Razdan.

The needs of young generations are completely different, so companies have to shift gears and make flexible policies, and workforce arrangements to attract and retain talent, said HR heads.

Axis Bank’s GIG-A-Opportunities programme that is two years old saw large-scale adaption by the stakeholders. “For every question we have had—on productivity, on managerial rhythm and relationships, on organisational belonging—we look at data and see that so far, we do not have much to be concerned about, and the data often surprises us,” said Rajkamal Vempati, president & head, human resources at Axis Bank.


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