Freelancing is a potential source of employment in Pakistan and the government needs to remove the obstacles that are straitjacketing its growth, Manager of Uconnect Mr. Ehsam told WealthPK.
Ehsam said potential graduates are unable to find suitable jobs in Pakistan due to which they are left with no option but to choose underpaid jobs to make their ends meet. It is due to these underpaid jobs that talented youth immigrate in search of better jobs, he added.
According to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2022-2023, 8,29,549 workers were registered with the Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment (BE&OE) in 2022 for overseas employment.
“Freelancing is like a seasonal job; sometimes, you may get your hands on good projects, sometimes you have nothing to work on for a long period of time. This situation disturbs steady income generation and causes financial mismanagement. The government can help freelancers by advertising their services in the international market. This will make easier for clients to reach out to Pakistani freelancers,” he added.
Mr Ehsam said freelancing is a platform that encourages remote employment. Provision of a suitable environment and infrastructure to the youth to work remotely for international markets will result in high foreign currency earning and foster economic growth, he added.
As per the Economic Survey, in FY2023, freelancers added a total of USD269.8 million to the foreign exchange earnings. The IT sector earned USD156.9 million foreign exchange whereas the non-IT sector contributed USD112.9 million to the reserves.
Pakistan ranks 4th among freelancing destinations globally. The ranking is remarkable, despite problems such as energy and internet crisis faced by freelancers in Pakistan.
According to Ehsam, with the advancement in technology, skill development has become a pre-requisite for survival in the labor market. Developing skills off and on is what all freelancers need. The training facilities financed by the government can be more helpful in this regard.
The Uconnect manager said Pakistan can increase remote employment by introducing skill development programs. Encouraging remote employment is a favorable way of building up the foreign reserves, he added.
Development in technology has made the provision of services around the globe more feasible. Earning foreign currency through freelancing can help Pakistan shore up its foreign reserves and get out of the economic crisis.
The government can shift the investment towards provision of high-speed internet facilities and skill development of the people, which can make Pakistan a top freelancing destination. The earnings from freelancing can then be used to push economic growth.