In a recent report, Pakistan has outranked the entire Asian continent as it becomes the fastest-growing freelance market in Asia, shortly behind the United States, United Kingdom and Brazil, making it the 4th in the list of fastest-growing freelance markets globally, with an exceptional growth rate of 47 per cent year on year.

According to Payoneer's Global Gig Economy Index, Pakistan has ranked on the top slot of fastest-growing freelance markets in Aisa, beating both India and Bangladesh at 7th and 8th position, respectively.

Overall, Asian economies are strengthening their position as freelance hubs with Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines collectively attaining a 138 per cent improvement in earnings from Q2 2018.

Recently, Payoneer launched the Global Gig-Economy Index, which is based on the data of more than 30,000 freelancers, service providers and other professionals. The report delves deep into the gig economy and provides insights, broken down by geography and demographic trends.

Moreover, Pakistan has not only managed to secure the top slot in Asia but has also ranked 4th in the world in the growth of freelance earnings in the second quarter, shortly behind the United States at 78 per cent growth, United Kingdom at 59 per cent growth and Brazil at just 1 per cent more than that of Pakistan.

Pakistan's rapid and sustained growth can be attributed to the growing force of young professionals taking towards freelancing as their primary stream of income and the several initiatives and programmes set up by both provincial and federal governments.

Approximately, 77 per cent of Pakistan's population falls under the age of 35, with 57.6 per cent between the ages of 25-34 and 19.7 per cent between the ages of 18-24, and is naturally tech-savvy and statistics on global freelancer revenues by age group indicate that this segment comprises 70 per cent of the total global freelance market and 77 per cent of total freelancer revenues measured in Q2 2019 by Payoneer.

According to Payoneer's General Manager Eyal Moldovan, many freelancers in developing economies are young adults looking to get a foothold in a career. Majority of freelancers in Pakistan are under the age of 30. “In Pakistan, there is a younger generation seeking more opportunities,” says Moldovan, “since the domestic market is not that big and developed.”

To the benefit of this segment, the government of Pakistan has heavily invested in different programmes and technology to significantly enhance the technical skills of its students from a young age. Moreover, unlike a few other countries on the index, Pakistan enjoys an overall 4G internet coverage at extremely cheap rates. Meanwhile, Pakistan has recently also conducted 5G testing, reaching speeds up to 1Gbps.

Moreover, with government initiatives such as the establishment of incubators and Presidential training programmes, Pakistan as an economy is also heavily relying on foreign remittance earned by these freelancers.

Payoneer's Head of Business Development in Pakistan Mohsin Muzaffer says, “There have been many public and private initiatives that have resulted in a better quality of freelancers”, further adding, “Pakistan’s digital workforce is recognized as one of the best and Payoneer will continue to be a part of this growth.”

However, despite several efforts of the government to invite companies like PayPal to Pakistan, the government has failed to make the Pakistani market lucrative and legislatively secure enough for companies like PayPal to set up shop in Pakistan. Recently, PayPal has declined Pakistan’s request to cater the Pakistani market. Hence, Payoneer has served as one of the most essential aspects of Pakistan's freelance market, serving as the only legitimate way to safely and securely bring earnings into Pakistan.

Yet, despite the hurdles, Mohsin Muzaffer says he is optimistic, adding, “Pakistan is ranked amongst the top 5 countries for freelancers. Payoneer has been the first choice for freelancers in Pakistan to withdraw their hard-earned money and we want to build meaningful communities across platforms to help fuel further growth of the market. Payoneer is also investing and helping build and further strengthen the ecosystem.”