Basis a survey with platform workers, CIIE.CO – India’s leading startup platform built at IIM Ahmedabad – has highlighted that over 52 per cent of gig workers feel that their work environment makes it challenging to upskill or find new job opportunities. The report also highlighted that 50 per cent of platform workers today find their jobs through traditional referral networks despite 80 per cent having internet access. The survey was conducted with a sample of 4070 platform based gig workers between the high earning knowledge workers and daily-wage agricultural workers. The survey had approximately 120 questions and reached individuals from across five states.
CIIE.CO, through the Bharat Inclusion Initiative, has been backing startups that work in areas such as financial inclusion, livelihood, skilling, and health. Through the Initiative, CIIE.CO has accelerated over 52 startups, made growth capital investments in <> startups and undertaken and supported over 15 studies and research fellowships, respectively.
Commenting on the report, Supriya Sharma, Partner – Insights, CIIE.CO said, ‘In many ways, gig workers are channels through which the old and new India interact. We’re in 2022, it is about time that each of us has access to our own data. Enabling gig workers to own and use their employment, financial, health etc. data will improve their well-being and unlock the growth of both traditional and new economies.’
Being powered by declining internet and hardware costs, technology-based platforms are becoming a lifeline for employment at a time when traditional sectors dwindle in size and reach. Of the 4,070 individuals, over 2000 respondents were 30 years of age or younger. This stands testament to the trend of young India finding the gig economy and its platforms as preferable sources of work opportunities and income generation.
The report urges a move towards acknowledging the importance of building and tracking a measure of well-being of gig workers, including physical, mental and financial well-being. It proposes a decentralised platform that holds holistic data about a gig worker. While this platform can be ‘managed’ by a data cooperative, the gig worker’s data is entirely owned by the respective individual. In this way, empowering the gig worker with owning and using her own data, would improve her wellbeing, including job prospects and financial health.
The report also suggested that for financial inclusion to truly occur at scale in India, there is a need for technology to bring down costs of servicing end-users to a fraction of what it is today, need for distribution models to be drastically changed to optimize for the last mile, and the unit economics to be more inclusive.