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Trends in freelancing

India's Top Tier Freelancers - What They Earn

Written by: Flexing It 9/08/2016 4 minutes read
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In the global sharing economy today, Gen Y, Gen Z, and even veteran professionals are partnering with organizations to create new professional engagement models. The where, how and for whom we work is changing fundamentally. But can independent working offer a real career? What does this new ‘independent’ professional earn? How does this ‘flexible’ professional fare when it comes to ‘making a living’? While compensation benchmarks for full-time jobs are easily available through platforms such as Glassdoor and Payscale, publicly available and reliable data on the compensation of independent consultants, and business freelancers is limited.

Flexing It released a report revealing the compensation trends for independent consultants and freelancers in India. The report leverages FeeBee, Flexing It’s proprietary fee benchmarking tool and highlights the data collected over a period of 6 months from January 2016 to June 2016. Flexing It analyzed the data from 2,500 professionals from India who have worked on projects with varied organizations including MNCs, large Indian corporates, start-ups, not for profits, consulting firms and government-run enterprises.

Chandrika Pasricha, Founder & CEO, Flexing It said, “Our research showed that 80% of companies did not have a structure to determine the fee levels for project-based work. Through FeeBee and this report, we are trying to remove ambiguity from freelancing and independent working space. We believe that insights from this report will empower freelance professionals to make better-informed decisions on how to price their time and services and in the process facilitate more successful connections”.

Key findings

Gender matters & Experience pays

  • The median pay for a skilled independent professional increases from INR 8,000 to INR 19,000 per day from 0-5 to 5-10 years of experience, with a 143% growth rate.
  • While the compensation rises to INR 33,000 and INR 46,000 per day as professionals move from 10-20 to 20+ years experience levels, the growth rate declines.
  • Although men and women command similar compensation levels till 10 years of work experience, women consultants in experience range of 10-20 years earn 30% less as compared to men in the same experience range.
  • Women’s representation falls to 32% in the experience range of 10-20 years and to an alarmingly low 10% in the experience range of 20 and above.
  • The small proportion of women who continue to stay engaged in the workforce beyond 20 years command better compensation levels than their male counterparts.

Duration of the project

  • Across all career phases and skills, the daily fee received during longer projects is considerably higher than for short-term projects. Despite this, 72 percent of the professionals choose short-term projects.
  • 73% of all long-term projects were delivered by professionals with more than 10 years of experience, indicating that organizations prefer highly seasoned professionals for projects involving longer commitment periods.

Most remunerative skills

  • Finance, General Management, Strategy & Consulting, Human Resources, and Sales are skills that provide the highest compensation for professionals with more than 20 years of experience.

In Focus: Strategy & Consulting

  • Industries seeking the highest numbers of independent Strategy & Consulting professionals
Brave New World

Work, as we know it, is changing. The 9-to-5 is starting to be replaced by a new style of thinking from both organizations and companies. With the Internet connecting us and lowering transaction costs, key functions of businesses can easily be managed by external consultants and freelancers, leading to a more efficient organization and an optimized workforce.

The report is free for download and can be accessed here.

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