Galpaya, H. N., Suthaharan, P., & Senanayake, D. L.
The Potential and Challenges for Online Freelancing and Microwork in India India Habitat Center 27 December 2017
What Current and Potential Workers say Presented at the dissemination event India Habitat Center 27 December 2017 LIRNEasia (Helani Galpaya, Laleema Senanayake), together with the team from Vihara Innovation Network (Aditya Dev Sood, Rumani Chakraborti, Mohit Tamta, Tanmay Awasti et al)
Galpaya, H.G, Senanayake, D. L, Suthaharan, P. Exploring the challenges faced by Sri Lankan workers in web-based digital labour platforms, CPRsouth 2017, August, 2017.
At LIRNEasia, we are looking at how online freelancing platforms can make life easier and better at the bottom of the pyramid. In Bengaluru, a few cases stand out. First, some urban freelancers have found means of circumventing platform fees. Second, women in semi-urban areas don’t seem to trust the internet enough to consider working online.
I have been asked several times about the feasibility of national online freelancing platforms. There are a few in Sri Lanka. According to this report, it appears that a platform has emerged in Myanmar too. First prize goes to Honey Mya Win. She founded her startup with her programmer sister less than a year ago after quitting her job with a Chinese telecom firm.
Sri Lanka’s unemployment rate is low (4.4 percent in 2016), yet its youth (15-24 yrs) unemployment rate is 22 percent. Unemployment among the more educated (above GCE AL) is 8.3 percent, almost double the overall rate. The participation of women in the labor force is 34.
Our work on online freelancing also served as a probe on the emerging platform economy. Contrary to many concerns in the developed market economies, we found that almost all those participating in online freelancing were staying with their parents and doing the work part time. Concerns with variable income, uncertainty and difficulty in establishing credit were present, but in attenuated form. Which got us thinking about insurance as a mechanism to address those problems. Of course, health is one of the biggest uncertainties.
The premier Sinhala newspaper of ideas, Ravaya, carried a lengthy piece by Nalaka Gunawardene on online freelancing, set in the context of the overall problem of creating high-quality jobs that could attract young Sri Lankans. This probably concludes one of our most successful dissemination efforts in the official languages of Sri Lanka, other than English.
Making the public aware about load shedding schedules is important as more and more younger people now work online and as power is a must to deliver work on time.
It’s just over two days since we presented the findings of the online freelancing work to the media, government and the private sector in Colombo. And on the other side of the world, in Guadalajara, Mexico, Helani Galpaya reports: One of my 3 panels today at the UN IGF in Mexico. This one on “The Future of Work”. Vint Cert (co-panellist, also BTW a “co-father” of the Internet etc) looks on disapprovingly it seems, but actually he & I agreed on the need for constant re-skilling in the digital economy (even in microwork platforms). Unlike some other speakers who called for more unionization, lamented the job losses and the problems and changes to traditional life-time jobs due to the emergence of the gig/sharing economy without acknowledging the positives.
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.
An emerging new employment opportunity Launch of World Development Report 2016 and related LIRNEasia Research Hilton Residencies 06 December 2016 Helani Galpaya, Suthaharan Perampalam & Laleema Senanayake