Indian women freelancers’ earning grew by 42% amid pandemic

(IANS) For women freelance workers in India, the pandemic has resulted in higher levels of satisfaction, owing to an increased work-life balance and flexibility in work schedules that the gig culture offers in specialised areas, a new report showed on Monday.

Indian women freelancers’ average hourly earning rate grew by 42 per cent since 2020 — $22 per hour (nearly Rs 1,600) in 2022 against $14 per hour (about Rs 1,050) in 2020.

“Furthermore, their average hourly earnings rate was at par with their global counterparts, according to ‘Freelancer Income Report 2022’ by commerce and technology company Payoneer.

“Indian freelancing is making a value driven shift in the global gig economy. In the last few years, we have witnessed a constant increase in freelancer income and their movement to more specialised fields like marketing, coding and finance,” said Rohit Kulkarni, Senior Vice President at Payoneer India.

More flexibility, better-skilled opportunities, and increased earnings are some of the factors leading to more professionals entering this economy.

The average hourly rates of the Indian freelancing community saw a jump from $21 in 2020 to $26 in 2022.

In 2022, Indian women are earning 81 per cent of what their male counterparts do with their average hourly rates at $22 per hour compared to men’s hourly rate at $27 per hour (nearly Rs 2,000).

“The gender pay gap stood at 77 per cent before Covid-19. Interestingly, Indian women freelancers recorded a much better gender pay ratio against their counterparts in developed markets like North America which stood at 71 per cent,” the findings showed.

Indian freelancers outshined their global counterparts and were able to demand a better average hourly rate for some of the popular professions like finance, demanding an hourly rate of $71 against global average of $41 and marketing at $47 vs global average rate of $34.

“The findings cements our belief that Indian freelancing will continue making rapid strides in the global gig market in days to come,” said Kulkarni.

The freelancing economy is still dominated by young Indian freelancers between the age group of 18-34 years.

More than half of the Indian respondents (57 per cent) stated that they find most of their work through online marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr, etc, while only 7 per cent rely on traditional sources like word of mouth and referrals.

Top challenges faced by Indian freelancers were related to business growth, i.e. expanding to new markets, and managing time and fee negotiations, said the report.

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