The freelance earnings in India increased in the ongoing quarter of this financial year and have returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, according to a report.
The report is based on an analysis of the data on Flexing It -- a platform for business consultants and highly skilled flexible talent.
The median fee earned by freelance consultants dropped by almost 25 per cent between the first and second quarters but started picking up from the third quarter slowly reaching pre-COVID-19 levels, it said.
The analysis is based on over 3,84,000 fee quotations and benchmarks collected from independent consultants which showed trends in freelance earnings based on skillset, experience levels, gender and industry including professional services, pharma and healthcare, FMCG, education and the development sector.
Further, the report said that in the FMCG industry, consultants were least impacted by the pandemic in terms of fees while in other industries, including professional services, pharmaceuticals and education, there was a decrease of over 20 per cent in the median compensation between the first and second quarter of 2020-21.
The impact of the pandemic on fees paid to junior consultants (with less than 5 years of experience) was limited and their earnings were relatively unaffected, it added.
After the initial decline in the earnings of freelancers as a result of the pandemic, we have now seen a return to pre-COVID-19 levels. As top-tier global talent increasingly chooses freelancing because of the flexibility, autonomy and financial opportunities it offers, large corporates are rapidly recognising and leveraging this talent pool for the agility, quality and specialised skills offered, Flexing It founder and CEO Chandrika Pasricha said.
The report found that the gender pay gap persists in freelance work too with the average income of women lower than that of men by 35 per cent.
However, the compensation of women grows at a relatively higher rate as compared to that of men until 20 years of experience, it stated.
Post 20 years of experience, while the average income for men rose by 20 per cent, that of women remained the same, it added.
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