Experts point out that the on-demand economy is a huge opportunity, especially for women entrepreneurs in India.

By Vineet Arya

Not only limited content creators and a blue-collar workforce, the gig economy is a steadily growing trend due to its resilience and potential for financial security. Also known as the on-demand expert economy, in which companies engage experts to perform certain tasks while allowing them to get work done at a fraction of the cost, companies actively retain outstanding talent.

While one might consider the self-employment economy to be limited to blue workforce roles such as delivery executives and taxi drivers, temporary jobs performed by individuals on a temporary basis – the reason this is called a “gig” is due to the short-term nature of these enterprises where One can work for several companies simultaneously.

Furthermore, technology, finance, and marketing managers are among the most in-demand experts in today’s world. This is due to the role of each company in shaping the future of business, particularly in a digital context. With the increasing focus on digital transformation, experts have been invited to provide insights or even develop capabilities that can help them stay ahead of their competition.

As a result of this trend, the number of C-level executives and/or on-demand experts has increased dramatically over the past few years. For example, many US-based companies either already have some offices in India or are planning to venture into the country. This requires experienced (and local) professionals, which increases the demand for these professionals, facilitating employment for the many experts in the country – who can take on flexible roles, high paychecks.

Economist on demand for women

As the C-suite economy or expert-on-demand role is set to revolutionize the way people work in India, traditional jobs are giving space to this new way of entrepreneurship. For example, many Indian companies are actively encouraging women to work on a flexible basis, rather than discouraging them.

Experts point out that the on-demand economy is a huge opportunity, especially for women entrepreneurs in India. In fact, according to a recent report by Emerce Insight, the number of female experts in the in-demand sector is steadily increasing.

An on-call expert is anyone who is paid for a share of their knowledge and experience with the payer. These may be thought leaders, successful entrepreneurs, and most importantly, industry leaders. Being an on-demand expert not only means that you get paid for said posts, but also an opportunity to build a personal brand and establish authority around you.

Addressing gender disparity

As the on-demand economy gains popularity, women are also beginning to make their presence felt in this new business space – with the advantage of creating opportunities for on-demand services and making a living while enjoying more flexibility in their lives.

Now they can choose to work whenever and as much as they want, thanks to the flexible hours and schedules offered by most companies that want on-demand experts.

Many of them could earn as much, if not more, than men in traditional jobs – tackling pay disparities and gender-sensitive representation in the roles of senior experts seen in India today.

The number of women in executive and/or leadership positions remains alarmingly low. In the US, only 22%, and in the UK 26% – 11%, the figure is much lower than in India. Women in IT and engineering roles are less offered, with only 16% of women holding executive positions in these areas.

Thanks to flexible, on-demand roles, women have been able to make strides in traditionally male-dominated roles – finance, marketing and information technology.

Especially in marketing roles, women have also become sought-after experts, with their platforms and loyal audiences who appreciate the insight they bring to the table every day. As women, they had an advantage as experts because of their views, not only on traditional feminine topics such as motherhood, fashion, health and beauty, but also on inclusion, diversity, and equality.

Reality is far from imagination

Interestingly, while the topic at hand appears to be a metric, skewed in favor of women with much-needed flexibility amid traditional Indian families and greater responsibilities, reports indicate that they do not benefit from the on-demand gig economy and C-suite opportunity in the same way that they enjoy by men – although the impact of technology on highly skilled roles was gender-neutral.

Although there is no available database on the C Suite labor economy in the country, occupational discrimination based on gender stereotypes has been observed. Some estimates suggest that women represent only 15% of independent experts and consultants.

(The author is the founder of COHIRE. The opinions expressed are personal.)

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