India’s freelance economy is booming in 2016

Payoneer Community
Payoneer Community
March 6, 2016

Image via

India has the second highest number of freelance professionals (about 15M), standing next only to the US (approx 53M). These 15M Indian freelancers take up a whopping 40% of total freelance jobs offered worldwide, this clearly manifests the dominance of Indian Freelancers over their western counterparts. With over 1.5M professionals graduating out of the schools every year; India is undoubtedly the largest producer of skilled professionals in the world and ready to fuel the burst in demand side of this exponentially increasing freelance industry. But that’s not where the number game ends!

Contract Hiring in India is Catching up

When we say that the US has 53M freelance professionals, it’s important to note that half of them work on contracts as consultants with one or more companies at a time. India’s contract workforce is in nascent stages; however, India is catching up with the west as startups actively seek out senior professionals from various industries to work on contract – something they could not afford on full-time payroll . Additionally, professionals in India have also realized the benefits of working on contracts and they are crossing that fine line of resistance and insecurity that kept them away in the past.

Burgeoning Startup Ecosystem in India

India has the fastest growing startup ecosystem and the third highest number of technology driven startups worldwide, trailing behind only the US and the UK. The Indian government recently launched several initiatives under Startup India  to boost growth and simplify the requirements for doing business. This proactive step showcases the rate at which the startup ecosystem has been proliferating in India in recent years. Angel investors, as well as venture capital firms around the world, have also been actively seeking out Indian startups. With so many incentives from the government alongside other favorable conditions for the entire Indian startup ecosystem, India has truly turned to an ideal startup community and the year 2016 is looking promising.

Rapidly Growing Startup ecosystem in India Truelancer

Improvement in Internet Penetration and Quality

India has the second highest number of internet users (375M) across the globe. Additionally, the access to internet among Indians has spiked over 7000% in the past 15 years. This increase is the major influence behind the rapid growth of the freelancing industry in India.  The Indian government is collaborating with organizations like Google and ISRO to provide good internet connectivity in rural and remote parts of India, further increasing access and fueling the growth of the freelance economy.

Internet and Mobile Internet Data Stats Truelancer

Women & Retired Professionals coming ahead.

Skilled women and retired professionals offer a large untapped pool of potential freelance professionals. There is a large mass of skilled women in India who can’t go out and work because of family obligations and social factors (even after pursuing a Professional Master’s or a Ph.D.), this number further decreases after marriage and giving birth to a child works as the final nail in the coffin of their professional career. Use of smartphones; however, is working to increase the involvement of women in the professional sphere. And yes, women make better freelancers in comparison to their male counterparts.

Retired professionals and female freelancers will play a vital role as they put their experience and knowledge to use and solving two of vital concerns: independence and the desire to stay up to date on latest market trends and technology.

Most In-demand Skills for Freelancers in India in 2016

  1. Cloud and Distributed Computing
  2. Content Marketing
  3. User Interface Design
  4. Graphics Design
  5. Digital and Online Marketing
  6. Web Architecture and Development Frameworks
  7. Perl / Python / Ruby
  8. Data Presentation
  9. Mobile Development
  10. Algorithm Design
  11. Social Media Marketing
  12. Game Development
  13. Shell Scripting Languages
  14. Middleware and integration software
  15. PR and Communications

Final Thoughts

Startups from India and abroad have the potential to quadruple the freelance job opportunities year over year as startups are proactively using freelancers and consultants in every possible way. It’s not that just Indian startups are using Indian freelancers on contracts or as consultants, more than 50% of the startups in the US are availing services of Indian freelancers directly or indirectly. Startups in the US prefer to hire Indian freelancers primarily to cut costs while still maintaining the quality of work. It’s a win-win situation for both the parties as the Indian freelancer generally gets paid more than what he could be earning while working full-time in a company in India, whereas the Startup in the US ends up paying far less than what it could have paid to a full-time employee in the US.

The growing startup ecosystem in India, growing demand and affinity of people for contract hiring, abundance of skilled professionals in India, followed by growing Internet penetration and skyrocketing number of Internet and Mobile Internet users along with India’s reserved pool of women workforce; there are clear indicators signaling that the year 2016 has potential to twirl and refresh the freelancing scenario in India.

banner option 1




Prakarsh is the VP – Strategic Partnerships at  and also heads their Content Marketing Team. He also loves to write useful and engaging articles in areas pertaining to Startups, Freelancing and Entrepreneurship.