The gig economy is fast becoming an influential part of the Filipino workforce, anchored by a rising millennial population, the development of digital platforms, and the evolution of business models.
According to the PayPal Global Freelancer Study, nine of 10 freelancers in the Philippines are under 40 years old—giving the segment a strong millennial slant.
“Millennials will occupy the majority of the global workforce in three years. They are the on-the-go generation, with highly differentiated preferences when it comes to work. They like working from home and value autonomy. That’s why freelancing comes so naturally to them,” said Nagesh Devata, General Manager for PayPal Southeast Asia Cross-Border Trade, during the G-Economy Media Summit on Wednesday.
The event sought to identify insights from the country’s growing freelancer economy, which comprised 1.5 million Filipinos. It was highlighted by a panel discussion, featuring industry movers Luarni Sim (MessyMaru), Shahab Shabibi (MyKuya), and Nick Padilla (Kahon.ph).
The “emergence of millennials” will introduce a new reality to the workforce, described Nagesh, and he believes freelancing will be a big part of this picture.
Rising labor costs across many Southeast Asian nations are causing businesses to re-evaluate their approach to talent management. This has led to a transformation of traditional business models. For SMEs and new-found tech startups, utilizing freelancers enables their businesses to be viable, flexible and sustainable. With human capital being one of the highest costs for companies, more businesses are looking to scale and expand without expensive capital outlay.
The rapid development of digital platforms and marketplaces has likewise helped drive the growth of the gig economy. Nagesh described, “Buying and selling services across the globe has never been easier, and this is enabling organizations and freelancers to find each other in a matter of a few clicks.”
According to multiple pieces of research, one in five Filipino workers will be working as a freelancer by 2020. The Global Freelancer Research by PayPal also indicates that international clients typically account for over half of the freelancers’ businesses, and is looking to grow.
“Digital platforms have made the gig economy a global ecosystem. In this context, Filipinos need to be competitive at the international level,” suggested Nagesh. “Proper mentorship and guidance are key in enabling this growing community.”