Freelancers Boosting Pakistan’s Economy in 2018
There’s always good news and bad news in annual economic reports. A new year means a fresh start but government policies and party politics tend to slow down progress. Pakistanis don’t have much faith in the government but the private sector has been flourishing lately. The number of freelancers has been rising on a daily basis as more and more people turn towards financial productivity.
Current economic status
Unfortunately, not everyone is passionate about their job. The inflation rate (consumer prices) rose from 2.9% (2016) to 4.1% (2017) according to the CIA World Factbook. This has forced many to consider entrepreneurship or take up freelancing. The same source claimed that GDP growth rate increased from 4.5% in 2016 to 5.3% in 2017 by an estimate.
In 2017, the labor force was around 63.89 million with many working in the Middle East. The problem of child labor is also a serious concern. Pakistan Today reported in January that the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration had taken steps to combat child labor and four bills had already been presented in parliament.
Women makeup up almost half of Pakistan’s population yet most of it is pressured into becoming housewives. In July 2016, The Nation claimed that the female literacy rate in the country was 45% (compared to the male literacy rate at 69%). In May 2017, The Express Tribune claimed that Pakistan’s literacy rate had dropped by 2%! Considering the inflation rate, the majority of the dropouts were probably female.
Freelancing is not just for educated women but any female with skills. A large number of girls have setup online stores to sell creations of their own or others in recent years. Some of these business owners and suppliers are only teenagers. The booming fashion industry of Pakistan also employs hundreds of skilled women. In addition to elite fashion labels, there are countless small designers employing these hardworking women. Beauty is another field where women thrive regardless of their literacy. There are several such industries where illiterate women actively contribute.
Third world countries are seen as the ideal sources of cheap labor. Besides engineers, doctors and laborers moving abroad there are also freelancers providing services to overseas clients. Pakistanis are famous for offering affordable services such as web development, content writing, search engine optimization, digital marketing, graphic design, etc. You’d be surprised to learn how much of this skilled workforce consists of women.
Since an increasing number of women have started working from home as freelancers, the country’s economy is bound to strengthen this year.
Foreign & domestic income
While there are established companies hiring skilled people in Pakistan and offering services overseas, freelancing is going strong. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr are excellent platforms for freelancers to meet clients and obtain work. Once they built a good client base, they receive a steady stream of foreign income.
Meanwhile, Pakistani companies also have a positive attitude towards freelancers. Startups keep popping up here and there nowadays. They prefer outsourcing. It’s cheaper for them to hire specific freelancers for high quality work at reasonable rates as opposed to a permanent employee. Therefore, freelancing promises mutual benefit to both parties and brings convenience.
“If you dig deep and keep peeling the onion, artists and freelance writers are the leaders in society – the people who start to get new ideas out.”
Freelancing entices people with the freedom of creativity and not having to answer to an authority. The environment is self-made and coworking places support freelancers in finding the desired facilities. The government should protect the interests of freelancers responsibly.