Zinnov and Microsoft Study Indian Gig Economy

zinnov and microsoft study indian gig economy

Gig workers will play an instrumental role in enabling India's USD 5 Tn economy, with the current 7.7 Mn-strong gig workforce leading the charge. With this talent pool set to more than triple to a massive 23.5 Mn by 2030, these workers will generate USD 250 Bn of work, notes a joint study by Zinnov and Microsoft. Zinnov, a leading global management consulting and strategy advisory firm, along with Microsoft, released the findings of the study titled, 'Unlocking the Power of the Gig Economy with Cloud PC', which highlights how technology will be critical in enabling the gig economy.

The joint study also explores the industry challenges that the gig workforce faces, and reveals that in the post-pandemic business environment, Finance & Insurance, and IT sectors are witnessing 31% and 20% increased engagement with gig workers. Pre-pandemic, nearly half of all gig workers were concentrated in two sectors – Retail Trade and Transportation, which is rapidly giving way to nearly 35% of gig workers being employed in the IT sector. In fact, soon every third 'employee' of an IT organization will be a gig worker. This is especially significant, given the current dichotomy of mass layoffs and skilled labour shortage that companies are grappling with. As organizations explore new, innovative business models to circumvent this dichotomy, they will increasingly engage with the rising gig economy.

Engaging with the gig economy is not only beneficial for enterprises, but gig workers as well, notes the study. Viewed through the economical, operational, and innovation lens, gig workers benefit through high-paying, multiple short-term jobs that enable flexibility. It also allows for rapid upskilling while in some cases, enables investment in passions and interests that pay them. For enterprises, engagement with the gig workforce ensures cost savings, flexibility of an ad-hoc, project-based working model that can be scaled or descaled quickly, enable quick onboarding, and access to highly skilled, niche talent.

However, engaging with gig workers comes with its own set of challenges, including concerns around data security, IP theft, access management, cultural orientation, etc. And these challenges span across planning, onboarding, execution, and payment phases in the lifecycle of gig workers. The study reveals that more than 70% of CXOs feel that Onboarding and Execution are the two difficult yet crucial phases, addressing which can enable widespread adoption of the gig economy model. Technologies such as Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Cybersecurity are being leveraged to address such challenges in a transparent and productive way.

Cloud technology, which enabled the seamless transition to remote work, will be critical in addressing the challenges of the gig economy. It enables independent professionals such as gig workers to operate remotely, communicate freely, and navigate financial and technical complexities with dexterity and ease. Products such as the Windows 365 Cloud PC combine the power and security of the Cloud with the versatility and simplicity of the PC, empowering both gig workers and enterprises to collaborate from anywhere in the new world of work.

Rajat Kohli, Partner at Zinnov, commented, "The current dichotomy of skilled talent deficit and layoffs, underscore the importance of a strong gig workforce strategy. With every enterprise in need of digital skills such as AI, Automation, Data Analytics, etc., leaders will look to the gig workforce to fulfil short- to medium-term projects on an ad-hoc basis. With the percentage of gig workers in IT organizations expected to touch 35% in the near future, newer enabling engagement models and platforms will take center stage. Hence, products such as Microsoft's Cloud PC will act as two-way enablers. On one hand, they will become critical in overcoming the barriers for widespread gig economy adoption and enable cost and time savings for enterprises. On the other, they will enable seamless gigs, offering flexibility and upskilling opportunities for the gig workers."

Bhaskar Basu, Country Head, Modern Work, Microsoft India, said, "Technology is a key enabler of the gig economy and will play a foundational role in defining the future of work and workplaces. To thrive in a hybrid world, people and organizations need solutions that are fluid, dynamic, and Cloud-powered. At Microsoft, we are committed to supporting organizations and individuals to work on their own terms, without compromising on security or accessibility. By providing secure and reliable solutions that support working from anywhere and on any device, our aim is to empower a diverse range of talent to participate in this growing sector."

Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 20,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Noida, and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian startups, businesses, and government organizations.

Founded in 2002, Zinnov is a global management and strategy consulting firm in New York, Santa Clara, Houston, Seattle, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Paris, and Pune. Over the past 20 years, Zinnov has successfully consulted with over 250+ Fortune 500 enterprises to develop actionable insights to help them accelerate their Digital Transformation journeys to create value – across dimensions of both revenue and optimization. With core expertise in Digital Engineering, Digital Transformation, Innovation, and Outsourcing Advisory, Zinnov assists clients by:

- Structuring and implementing Digital Transformation levers enabled by technologies like AI/ML, Cloud, IoT, and Intelligent Automation;

- Advising global PE firms in asset shortlisting and target evaluation, commercial due diligence, and value creation;

- Helping global companies outline and drive their open innovation programs, design and operate accelerator programs, and enable collaboration with start-ups across specific use cases and predefined outcomes;

- Enabling global companies to develop and optimize a global engineering footprint through center setups, and technology and functional accelerators to achieve higher R&D efficiencies, innovation, and productivity;

- Growing revenue for companies' products and services in newer markets through account intelligence, market entry, and market expansion advisory.

With their team of experienced consultants, subject matter experts, and research professionals, Zinnov serves clients from across multiple industry verticals including Enterprise Software, BFSI, Healthcare, Automotive, Retail, and Telecom in the US, Europe, Japan, and India.