Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

What Do We Know About The Online Freelancing Market In Pakistan Featured Image
PIDE Knowledge Brief No. 116:2024
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What Do We Know About The Online Freelancing Market In Pakistan

Publication Year : 2024

The fourth industrial revolution with the remarkable advancement of the internet has transformed production, management, and governance systems (Kathuria et al., 2017). These developments have also disrupted the conventional understanding of the labor market. Since many new job opportunities have been created and many others are destroyed. The dynamics of the labor market in Pakistan are also undergoing similar transformations. The use of technology and digital platforms has provided employment opportunities to a large segment of the labor market. Among the job opportunities created by the expansion of technology, freelancing is one of the leading ones (Kuek et al., 2015), and online freelancing is showing a growing trend in Pakistan, especially among urban youth. Freelancing has now become the buzzword among the youth of Pakistan due to the saturated job market conditions and easy earning opportunities that it offers. Considering the level of unemployment in the country and the emphasis of the government on promoting freelancing among the masses, it is worth looking into the structure of the online freelancing market at present, which is the aim of this brief.

Defining Freelancer

“Dating as far back as medieval times, the term “Freelancer” was commonly used as a way of referring to a hired lance, a mercenary who offered to fight for the highest bidder. Over time the word transceded battlefields and found usage in business – loosely, someone willing to offer unique and much-needed skills to those willing to pay for them. The Internet allowed for the dynamic growth of freelancing. It became much easier for independent professionals to publish their profiles, while for those seeking a service, the Internet allowed for a far more efficient and expansive search. Freelancers were no longer constrained by barriers of time and geography or limited to cold-calling, print advertisements, and local area networks to find freelance opportunities.”

Online Freelancing Market

The emergence of digital technologies has made possible the advent of online labor platforms that are now facilitating the online labor force i.e, commonly referred to as freelancers. Individuals who engage in freelancing activities can work remotely, on an hourly or project basis, with multiple clients across the globe, instead of working for one employer as in the case of traditional employees. The demand for online freelance work is significant and is increasing with an average annual growth rate of 10 percent (Stephany, Insights from the online freelancing market show that compared to 2016 the demand for freelancing-based projects through online platform has increased by more than 90 percent in 2021. The leading market for freelancing-based projects is the USA and the dominant services in demand are related to software and tech nology (ILO, 2020).

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