Preparing for the Future of Work

Advent of new ICT technologies has opened myriad new possibilities for knowledge workers across the globe by enabling them to provide their services remotely to clients. By leveraging these ICT technologies, a new on-demand economy is being created, where professional activities broken into discrete assignments and offered to a virtual cloud of aspiring workers.  This industry, often referred to as online outsourcing, is expected to generate gross service revenue between $15 billion and $25 billion by 2020. Major chunk of this online outsourcing industry is being taken by individuals having necessary & relevant skills required to complete such temporary assignments and project or contract-based work. Millions of individuals around the world are tapping into the opportunity and earning money while working from the comfort of their homes. This trend is expected to grow as the creative destruction caused by fourth industrial wave continues to disrupt business processes and models.

Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest provider of such online freelancers with estimated registered number of online freelancers ranging in several hundreds of thousands. Most of the work done is for international clients; therefore money earned by them is brought into the country, mainly as foreign remittances. While accurate data on money brought by freelancers is not available, estimates range from $ 500 Million to $ 1.3 Billion annually. This amount is just a fraction of the country’s potential as, with its large population, increasing internet connectivity, broadband penetration, young & educated youth, thousands of IT graduates and million plus enrolled university students, Pakistan can increase the number of freelancers manifold. This will help bring in valuable foreign exchange into the country, and more importantly, reduce unemployment as the number of fresh graduates passing out every year is a lot more than number of new jobs created.

Therefore, Ignite, intends to launch a large scale national Digital Skills (DigiSkills) Training Program to train one (1) million people across the country over a period of 2 years approximately. The DigiSkills Program is aimed at equipping our youth, freelancers, students, professionals, etc. with knowledge, skills, tools & techniques necessary to seize the opportunities available internationally in online jobs market places and also locally to earn a decent living. The program aims at not only developing key specialized skills, but also imparting knowledge about various freelancing and other employment and entrepreneurial opportunities available internationally and locally. Due to limited employment opportunities, it is essential for upcoming workforce to have necessary knowledge and abilities to grab such opportunities. This is envisaged to be achieved through a national level program, which will train target audiences in freelancing and other specialized skills.

The program aims to increase:

  • Number of individuals working as freelancers in the country
  • Number of hours worked per freelancer
  • Earnings per hour or per project for freelancers
  • Household incomes
  • Financial inclusion
  • IT exports
  • Number of experts in specialized skills