Suthaharan Perampalam


Simbi – an emerging crowd working platform has termed “Symbiotic Economy”, as an exchange of skills and services without spending cash.
Estimating the number of online freelancers is a tough task. Freelancer platforms such as Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork do not share this number by country. Particularly for a small country like Sri Lanka tracing the number of freelancers is very difficult. We wanted to study the extent to which online freelancing /microwork can lead to inclusive growth benefitting underemployed youth, women and previously-excluded persons. To understand the impact that freelancing / microworking could have on local youth, we wanted to quantify the incidence of freelancing by estimating the number of freelancers/microworkers in Sri Lanka.
There is huge potential for Jaffna as a second tier IT city. If ideal investment climate is created and few large-scale firms are brought, city can be easily positioned as a hub for IT – BPO operation and providing employment opportunity for many which is currently a big issue in North. There are lots of positive factors lined up Youth in Jaffna are very tech savvy and highly enthusiastic ICT arena. Budget 2017 announces 200% Capital allowance for business starting in North Capacity of diaspora population and their willingness to invest Few volunteer organizations active in region creating awareness and interest to IT entrepreneurship among Northern youth. ECTA, PM’s plan of creating 500 B regional economies by connecting south Indian states could benefit city like Jaffna.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) offer various opportunities for persons unable to or unwilling to participate in conventional employment. LIRNEasia in association with World Bank Group organized the Launch of World Development report 2016 and related LIRNEasia Research. The objective was to inform and realize digital dividends for Sri Lanka’s youth through inclusive livelihood. The launch event was commenced by World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka & Maldives, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough framing the World Development Report for 2016 entitled digital dividend. World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka & Maldives Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough World Bank entitled Digital Dividends describes the opportunities created by ICTs and discusses the need for complementary (or “analog”) actions by government and other actors to realize the full benefits of ICTs.
  eZ Cash organized an event titled FreelancerSL 2.0 at Dialog auditorium on 23rd October 2016. The aim of this event was to educate the local freelancers about the opportunities on freelancing and on how to get in to online freelancing. LIRNEasia’s shared key findings of the nationally representative survey conducted among 16-40 year olds on the level of awareness of online freelancing and willingness to involve in online freelancing. In addition, we highlighted the opportunities available for freelancers and the challenges online freelancers face in Sri Lanka.
LIRNEasia research about online freelancers reveal, those engaging in part-time freelancing work such as graphics designing, digital marketing and translations, earn a monthly income of approximately Rs.20,000 -30,000. There are extreme cases too,  we have met few committed freelancers who earn over 300,000 per month. Earning from freelancing is making a drastic impact on the lives of Sri Lankan youth who are involved in it. Here is the evidence, freelancer Thilina Madushanka posted this in one of the Sri Lankan fiverr community page in Facebook.
Millennial Careers 2020 Vision: Report by Manpower group highlights, Though Millennials favor full-time work, over half say they are open to non-traditional forms of employment in the future—freelance, gig work or portfolio careers with multiple jobs. Self-employment is also a tempting future option. This is based on a quantitative research across 25 countries surveying 19,000 Millennials. They asked what they look for in a job, what development opportunities they seek and what would make them stay with an employer.   Here are some key findings of the survey, Seventy-three percent report working more than 40 hours a week, and nearly a quarter work over 50 hours.
Fiverr, Upwork and Freelancer are few of the international online platforms where Sri Lankan youth are registered with and making a sizable income. LIRNEasia is currently conducting a research study to access the potential of Microwork / freelancing industry. Our study reveals on average freelancers are earning 180-200 USD per month even working as part time and the interest and willingness to work as freelancers is on rise. Understanding enthusiasm for working as freelancers among youth workforce, PODI JOBS is a local freelancing platform connecting employers and freelancers for work such as creating websites to writing copy/text, maintaining social media pages and many more. The new freelance site claims, “PODI JOBS aims to enable Sri Lankans to work from anywhere in the island.
UNESCO and International Media Support (IMS), together with the National Management College (NMC) in Yangon, have conducted a comprehensive analysis of media landscape study in Myanmar. The ultimate objective of this study is to present key findings and recommendations that will guide policy-makers and stakeholders in their decisions on the development of media in the country. LIRNEasia conducted what is considered to be the first nationally representative sample survey of ICT and knowledge uses and needs in Myanmar with 8130+ surveys of individuals at household level. Assessment of Media Development in Myanmar report  quotes LIRNEasia’s Baseline Survey of ICT and Knowledge Access in Myanmar.
Four years from now, employers will seek employees with very different skill sets than they do today. The report, titled “The Future of Jobs,” surveyed executives from more than 350 employers across nine industries in 15 of the world’s largest economies to come up with predictions about how technological advancements will force the labor markets to evolve. Here’s a look at the top 10 skill sets respondents said will be most in demand by 2020. Local tertiary education institutes should focus on developing these skills to match futuristic demand. Click here to download the Report
Rupee depreciation and Interest rate rise are gradually slowing down consumer demand locally. But this may not be the case for Freelancers. Online outsourcing workers would be definitely happy about the depreciating value of currency. Sri Lankan Currency Depreciated against USD by 9% Jan-Dec 2015, it further reduced by 3% till 31st of March. Fiverr, one of the most attractive sites for online freelancers in Sri Lanka, where different services were offered for a standard rate of USD 5.
LinkedIn conducted a research focusing on LinkedIn members with the word “freelance” in their job title, and then they aggregated the most common industries and skill sets found (chart follows). The top results range from media and communications, to engineering and software development. Some of the key finding of the Study There are also slightly more females than males freelancing which indicates that more women tend to freelance as there are slightly more males on LinkedIn overall. When compared freelancers with to non-freelancing members across the same job functions, freelancers take the lead across the board — they have more recommendations, group memberships, skills listed, endorsements, and connections than average Linked Data shows that freelancers juggle roughly 2.1 jobs at once (indicated by members having more than one current role listed on their LinkedIn profile without an end date)
PayPal, being one of the oldest online payment provider, holds a major share in the online payment industry, and is the preferred payment mode for millions of people all around the world. There are a number of developing countries like Sri Lanka where PayPal does not work (for inward remittance). Negotiations with PayPal currently underway and it has listed Sri Lanka for 2017, Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Harin Fernando said through a Facebook post.   Meanwhile, Stripe is another alternatives to PayPal. It facilitates simple way to accept payments from your customers.
Traditional BPO firms provide managed services directly to their clients, hire employees and contract workers, and require workers to be centralized in the same physical location. On the other hand freelancers continuously growing in numbers providing ITO/BPO/KPO services, and can deliver faster and more flexible access to a broader pool of workers than traditional approaches, often at lower cost. As online freelancing grows, it is anticipated that it will increasingly cannibalize work currently conducted by traditional outsourcing firms. According to “The Global opportunity in online outsourcing” report published by World Bank group highlights, on optimistic scenario there will be major cannibalization of the BPO industry and it is assumed that 25% of the current BPO demand will be served through freelancers by 2025. Growing momentum of freelancing globally would have an impact on Sri Lanka’s traditional BPO industry as well, which we need to be mindful of assessing the impact.
Online outsourcing is divided into freelancing and Microworking. According to “The Global opportunity in online outsourcing” report published by World Bank group in June 2015, the market size for online freelancing in 2016 is estimated to reach $4.4 billion, and for microworking the market is forecast to be $0.4 billion, resulting in a total online outsourcing industry-projected market of $4.8 billion.
Mr Banerjee, Ms Duflo and several others economist conducted a research to investigate whether a multifaceted graduation program can help the extreme poor establish sustainable self-employment activities and generate lasting improvements in their well-being. Multi-pronged approach is relatively expensive to implement, but the theory of change is that the combination of these activities is necessary and sufficient to obtain a persistent impact on poor. The program targets the poorest members in a village and provides a productive asset grant, training and support, life skills coaching, temporary cash consumption support, and typically access to savings accounts and health information or services. In each country, the program was adjusted to suit different contexts and cultures, while staying true to the same overall principles. Research conducted six randomized trials in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Peru, with more than 10,000 poor household, they concluded multifaceted approach to increasing income and well-being for the ultrapoor is sustainable and cost-effective.
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