Amid unemployment, more Pakistanis begin freelancing

By Usman Hanif

Published in The Express Tribune on February 12, 2020

KARACHI: More Pakistanis have joined full-time freelance jobs, especially in the global information technology (IT) setups, in recent times when economic slowdown has rendered a significant number of people jobless in the country.

“More freelancers are doing full-time freelance work in Pakistan,” said Payoneer report ‘The 2020 Freelance Income Report’, which is based on a survey of more than 7,000 global freelancers from more than 150 countries including emerging market Pakistan. Three fourth, 75%, of the freelancers, do exclusive freelancing while only 25% take freelancing as a supplemental income source.

Trends in freelance segment of Pakistan are at par with the global trend, as per the report. Pakistan’s youth seems to enjoy the freedom to work from home. Although co-working spaces in the country are growing, 84% of the Pakistani freelancers prefer to work from home. Co-working space comprises of 4% of the total segment, while 3% use company office and 11% utilise private office. Meanwhile, 1% use coffee shops and other places to perform their duties.

According to the findings, a significant proportion of young Pakistanis are opting to work freelance, which is more than the global average.  Across the globe, the freelance workforce is overall very young; with nearly 70% being under the age of 35, while 21% are under the age of 25.  This youth movement is even more pronounced in Asia where 82% of the respondents are under 35, compared to North America where the number is still high but closer to 47%.

The internet is not only giving Pakistani youth easy access to the outer world, it is also eliminating gender inequality by giving them an equal footing, said the report.

“The freelancing economy has grown exponentially over the past decade, we can now firmly say that the future of work has arrived. Obstacles that could hinder freelancers’ ability to grow, connect and be successful have been removed,” said Payoneer CEO Scott Galit. 

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