Rishad Premji: ‘Gig workers are more relevant in hybrid model’

BENGALURU: Large IT firms are warming up to gig workers alongside their regular workforce as the digital drive has accelerated the shift to a hybrid model.
Wipro chairman Rishad Premji said the comfort of scale and dispersed talent base is becoming a reality unlike a year ago.
“We have to get comfortable with this model. We have celebrated people from the company who’re on the crowdsourced platform as opposed to scolding them because they are thinking futuristically and that’s the way things are going to move,” he told TOI recently as part of the Times Techies webinar.
In 2016, on-demand digital talent platform TopCoder, along with Appirio was acquired by Wipro as part of a $500 million deal. It has 1.5 million freelance technologists on its platform.

Gig roles come with flexibility and fungibility that can be leveraged from customers’ vantage point. And with hybrid models becoming the norm, organisations are increasingly open about hiring gig workforce.
“Many of us work in 10-12 locations in India, we have employees at 600-700 locations in the country working on scale and working impactfully. I’m very excited about the gig way of working and I think more of the talent base will move that way. You will have to leverage it smartly and impactfully as an organisation as well as customers,” he said.
Nasscom president Debjani Ghosh, who also spoke at the webinar, said she sees gig roles come up in deep tech. “But we need to figure out changes in labour laws to make the gig economy sustainable in India. I think we are going to see more and more employees saying we don’t want a 9-5 job in one company and I’m going to build my expertise in one area and go to work across,” she said.
Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO of Simplilearn, said the gig economy in India is projected to grow by 17% CAGR and generate a gross volume of close to $455 billion by 2023.
“The sudden wave of digitisation which pushed businesses to go digital, and with companies downsizing, gig workers were an economical option for roles that do not have a long-term requirement. With technology helping break barriers of time and location, the role of a gig worker is more diverse. Also, with the government introducing extension of social security benefits to gig workers, this indicates a supportive and growth-enhancing work environment for the gig sector,” he said.
Simplilearn’s data showed that devops engineers are one of the most sought-after roles integrating software delivery and development.
PE player Baring-controlled Hexaware believes that gig workers will play an important role in the future of its workforce.
“We have been looking at gig workers to supplement our teams in leveraging automated tools for workload migration to the cloud. These are largely MS Azure certified engineers. We are also looking at graphic design, scrum masters, agile coaches, testing support and call centre personnel,” Neil Fox, CTO, Hexaware Technologies.
Even as the gig workforce opens new opportunities, it comes with new challenges. Fox said the biggest so far is effective screening and integration with gig time tracking and payment. “Hexaware is working diligently to overcome these challenges with the help of some of our partnerships today or forming new ones.”

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Tagged gig, hybrid, model, Premji, Relevant, Rishad, workers