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India – Freelance work booming as rupee tumbles

23 September 2013

A number of entrepreneurs, students, and homemakers across India are actually benefiting from the depreciation of the rupee, having chosen careers as freelancers sourcing work from online staffing platforms. Elance.com claims Indians are among the top freelance service providers, second only to the US, according to the Economic Times India.

Rich Pearson, chief marketing officer at Elance, said, "India ranked as our second-highest freelance earning country last quarter with about 100,000 freelancers and another 100,000 Indians offering jobs."

He added that hiring of Indian freelancers is growing at a healthy +46% annually. From writing software to design jobs; such as illustrations, banners and logos, powerpoint presentations, report writing, and accounting, to simple tasks like PDF conversion, there’s a variety of work available on staffing website; such as Freelancer and Elance.

There are several factors contributing to why Indians are so successful at freelancing, skill being the topmost.

Mr Pearson added: "On Elance, your skills are your currency. We offer 400 free skill tests that enable you to win jobs ranging from programming and mobile app development to graphic design and writing. With five lakh businesses hiring on Elance, freelancers can earn a good living.”

Businesses prefer hiring freelancers to contracting agencies as it’s cheaper but more importantly, it offers them the chance to choose from the best talent across the world. Freelancers pitch for work, but successfully passing the assessment tests available on the sites; covering among other things English language, programming skills, translation skills, and design ability, boosts their site ranking.

Most Indian freelancers prefer international assignments for the dollar fee. Delhi-based freelancer Goutam Kumar and his business partner Rajni Kant Sinha claim their average freelance assignments range from USD 500- USD 1,000. For a USD 500 project, they earn USD 450 after deductions.

Mr Kumar said: "We are not bogged down by the falling rupee because, at present, we are happy earning that little extra dough. No doubt the economy is taking a hit, but competition in the exports and outsourcing sector will increase, which is good. We are now trying to complete assignments before time so that we get that little extra from the ‘rising’ US dollar.”

While sourcing work from established sites, payment systems are efficient and streamlined, as the websites act as guarantor for both client and freelancer. Some websites also have a milestone system where payments are released at different stages in the project. 

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