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Gig economy: A work in progress

It has to develop more systems to inspire confidence in both employers and freelancers

Software engineer Roshini left the 9to5 grind for short-term contractual work as content writer. Going through a portal that lists content-writing projects, she signed up for one.
While on a Skype call with a representative of the company that had offered her this project, she received a rude shock.

“They asked me to write unacceptable content. Appalled, I blocked the client. I realised I had made a mistake by sharing my contact details with the person,” says Roshini.
Roshini says she has also come across scamster-companies in the gig economy; and here, the risk of not getting paid for the work one has done is high.

There are certain platforms that do due diligence and filter out fly-by-night operators and list only genuine jobs; but having a listing on these platforms is expensive, says Roshini.
Due to the lack of proper regulation, the gig economy offers both the employer and the gig worker, many challenges to deal with.

A study by Noble House, a human resource talent marketplace, found that 49% of the companies hesitate to hire a gig worker as they are not assured of the quality of the resource.
Concern over information security is another reason companies hesitate to hire gig workers.
Rituparna Chakraborty, president, Indian Staffing Federation, says the gig economy is still nascent in India. It does not offer a ready talent pool for one to hire from, says Rituparna.
With cyber criminals getting smarter by the day, the foremost task for freelancing platforms is to build trust among employers and job seekers.

Dipesh Garg, chief executive officer of Truelancer, a platform that posts freelance jobs, says the industry has to adopt stringent systems to ensure the authenticity of job postings.
“We started this process by using spam filers to block certain jobs. But, that was not effective after a point, so we keep job listings from certain countries to the minimum, and the jobs posted from there are diligently checked for authenticity. We also check the communication that is happening and have a unique mobile number check, which allows for one to an have only one account,” says Garg.

A rating system
Noble House uses algorithms to match requirements and the talent listed in the database that can meet them; this is then followed by shortlisting of candidates and scheduling interviews.
Most platforms now have a rating system that enables corporates to zero in on the gig workers who are more likely to meet their skill requirements.
Simplilearn, a Bengaluru-based certification provider, hires gig workers for certain projects. “We assess the technical skills of the available candidates and ask them to prepare a scenario-based case study and present it,” says Archana Krishna, VP – HR and Organisation Development, Simplilearn.

Background checks

In India, as hiring of a gig worker is usually very quick, background checking is not prevalent.
When background verification company AuthBridge did a screening for its clients, it found that 35 out of the every 1000 candidates screened had misrepresented themselves in their profiles.

“Very few portals have integrated background checks into their processes. We have to work with job aggregators to bring in a system where, say, you will have a green tick on a resume that has been authenticated,” says Ajay Trehan CEO and founder, AuthBridge.

He says there’s a misconception that background verification is time-consuming and expensive.
“Some of the identity and criminal record checks can be done in six to seven hours. It does not cost much to do this,” says Trehan.

Garg suggests that to avoid the risk of not getting paid, a gig worker can seek some payment at the beginning of the work, and subsequently, seek that small amounts be released from time to time.
“If a client is just posting requirements without hiring, we block them,” says Garg.

Women in leadership

DDI, a global leadership consulting firm, is organising a conference on ‘Engendering diversity: Accelerating women in leadership’ on March 15 in Mumbai. The event will also include an all-women panel discussion on ‘Gender diversity: How it influences Talent ecosystem?’ with women leaders drawn from various verticals.

Understanding POSH

Simplilearn, a digital skills training company, has brought out a video to create awareness about the POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) Act.
The video, Youtube, talks about issues such as gender inequality at the workplace, the Vishaka Guidelines, steps to prevent sexual harassment at workplace and redressal mechanisms that organisations must put in place. The video was initially created for purpose of internal training at the company; but the team later decided to place it in the public domain as doing so would benefit a lot of people. It also invites viewers to send in their questions relating to the topic. These questions will be answered by experts.

Source: The Hindu