Meet Shivya Nath, an Indian freelance writer who quit her corporate job in social media at the age of 23 to fulfil her dream of travelling the world. To fund her adventures, she works with different travel brands on-the-go and is fairly compensated for her time, effort and reach.
Much like this 20-something nomad, there is a large population of millennials in India who prefer job avenues that offer them the satisfaction of following their personal goals while earning a living. Or at least, something that can create a sustainable work-life balance for them. This need for freedom and flexibility among India’s growing millennial population is the driving force behind the prodigious shift in the job market.
Here’s why millennials are abandoning full-time jobs to embrace the gig economy (short-term contracts or freelance work):
A 9-to-5 job might be a more stable and secure option, but what if it’s not exciting all the way? Millennials constantly strive to do something new and grow with time rather than spend their lives trapped in a cubicle doing the same things over and over again. Freelancing fuels this need by offering them endless possibilities to explore, based on their preferences.
A flexible schedule
There is no denying the fact that the millennial generation likes to be on-the-go. Commuting for long hours, only to work in an enclosed environment for most part of the day does not seem like the ideal fit for their dynamic personality. With freelancing, they get freedom from the 9-to-5 environment to work from remote locations and create a schedule that works for them. The new nature of freelance work also allows them to meet and work with people from different sensibilities and geographies.
Maintaining work-life balance
Perhaps the primary reason for a lot of people, especially women, to leave their permanent jobs for a more flexible prospect is time. Making money and career growth have taken a backseat in the life of millennials as they give more importance to quality of life, spending time with family and friends, travelling, etc. Since the 9-to-5 model does not give them that freedom, a huge percentage of Indian youth seek freelance opportunities to be able to balance their work with personal commitments.
For the greater good
According to research, millennials prioritise larger societal needs more than their previous generations. They have a strong sense of community, which drives them towards pursuing flexible career paths that lead towards the greater good. A lot of 9-to-5 jobs simply do not provide that satisfaction, which is why working in the shared economy has become the new trend. It gives millennials a sense of not just freedom, but also fulfilment.
The trend will only grow
The final piece of the puzzle is that working for themselves gives millennials a sense of security, despite the chances of an unsteady income, as they are not left at the mercy of someone else for work or growth. As the trend of freelancing grows, it won’t be long before it becomes more than just a backup to 9-to-5 jobs and emerges as the preferred career option. In fact, India already has over 15 million people working as freelancers, which makes it the second country in the world with the largest freelance workforce. And, judging by recent reports it would be safe to say that freelancing will continue to dominate the Indian job market in the coming years.
(The writer is co-founder at Fixpocket — service marketplace that gives an opportunity to its users to showcase their talent and monetise their skills by selling them to legitimate buyers.)