Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Reshaping the gig economy


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Gig economy

Mains level : Paper 3- Gig economy and issue it faces

3 min

The shockwave that pandemic sent through the economy has been reshaping the global job market. Gig economy would have to accommodate the new entrants. This article underlines the changes in the gig economy after the pandemic. Four areas that need attention are also discussed here.

What constitutes gig economy?

  • The word “gig” includes in its current parlance all freelancers, disconnected from the workplace.
  • Example: drivers of Uber, delivery boys of Zomato, plumbers and electricians of Urban Clap.
  • The gig economy is not confined to low-skilled jobs. Skilled professionals are also part of it.

How pandemic is reshaping the gig economy

  • Aviation, hospitality, automobile entertainment and retail are some of the hardest hit sectors.
  • The classic gig anchors- Uber and AirBnB, have laid off thousands of people.
  • In contrast to this, highly skilled professionals —laid off by employers — are joining the gig bandwagon.
  • Surely, job demand will far outstrip supply, at least in the short-term.

What does the future hold?

  • A Deloitte report from April notes that Indian organisations are considering to expand the share of gig workers.
  • Declining full-time jobs will lead to increased assignment-based hiring.
  • For instance, a graphic designer working from home could be in demand with a media house or Netflix may hire AI designer paid by an hour to personalize streaming.
  • But, what is missing in picture? The national database is missing.

4 focus areas of gig economy

1. National database: A missing link

  • National database of job seekers and job creators can connect firms with qualified candidates.
  • A prospective employee would need access to a job database, sorted by skill, geography, duration and emoluments.
  • Companies should be able to dip into the data pool of talent, experience, location, qualification and expectation.
  • Currently, both data sets are fragmented and stored in silos.
  • The government could play the role of a facilitator, in partnership with the private sector.

2. Regulatory protection to gig workforce

  • The gig economy increases employee vulnerability.
  • This segment of the economy so far has been outside the ambit of regulatory labour policies.
  • Social protection like wage protection, health benefits and safety assurance should be made available to gig workers.
  • The Karnataka government has considered introducing a new labour legislation focused on the gig economy.

3. Prepare college students for freelancing

  • Apart from regular campus placements, the placement cells need to reorient and focus on preparing students for freelancing opportunities.
  • For the educated youth, this could be the first step towards entrepreneurship.

4. Gender equality

  • Gender is another crucial dimension of the digital labour markets.
  • The low enrolment of girls for higher education in science, technology, engineering and math would constrict their opportunity in the gig world.
  • Going ahead, this would need greater policy attention to ensure gender parity.

Consider the question “What is the gig economy? Suggest the policy measures to make it more resilient in the present economic context disrupted by the pandemic.”


The government and the private sector would need to collaborate along with academia to build adequate safeguards in the unfolding eco-system.

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