Update (Feb. 10, 2022): The freelancing industry in Pakistan is rapidly progressing. The national community of freelancers has generated $216.788 million by exporting their services from July to December during the fiscal year 2021-22, which is almost a 16.74 percent rise from last year’s earnings for the same period. This data was recently released by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (IT&T).
Update (March 3, 2021): A freelance Information Technology (IT) hub has been established by the government of Pakistan in Rawalpindi. The project is worth PKR 35 million. It is the very first project of the tech industry in Pakistan, which has been developed on such a large scale. This newly-established freelance IT hub in Rawalpindi will be auctioned for rent on 10th March.
According to the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC), this project has been developed to facilitate the Information Technology (IT) sector in the country and create new opportunities for youth.
The new IT hub is a massive-scale development with a total area of 7,500 sq. ft. It features four meeting halls, two group discussion halls, a cafeteria, and a daycare centre for working mothers. A rooftop restaurant and dedicated parking space, which will be enough to house 40 vehicles at a time, have also been planned for the project.
The global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry has been growing consistently since 2002, and this growth gave birth to freelancing or online gig market. The BPO industry is expected to hit $405.6 billion by 2027, thanks to a sizeable contribution by freelancers or the freelancing sector. Countries including India, China, the Philippines, and Pakistan, to name a few, are among the countries receiving the majority of outsourced work due to the vast availability of manpower and skills at a significantly lower price point. As far as Pakistan is concerned, freelancing in Pakistan has progressed at an unbelievable pace.
From the mushrooming of outbound and inbound call centres to the growth of software houses, tech companies, and content mills, freelancers in Pakistan have cemented their position in this ultra-competitive industry.
The success of Pakistan’s gig economy or freelancing industry in Pakistan in recent times was revealed in a periodical report on the fiscal year 2018-19, released by the State Bank of Pakistan. Pakistan stands proud as one of the five most popular countries in the world of freelancing. Thanks to the availability of modern technology and high-speed internet connections, people from different parts of Pakistan — even far-flung areas — have been enabled to work remotely and contribute to the economy of Pakistan.
Pakistan is a Hub of Talented People
Pakistan’s potential in all things tech can be gauged from the inexhaustible talent displayed by its youth. The IT Industry in Pakistan, be it academically or professionally, is mostly powered by the younger generation. Currently, almost one million freelancers are working in Pakistan, with the majority hailing from the megacities of Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.
Getting global exposure is not a problem for freelancers in Pakistan, thanks to the internet, digital media, and various online gig portals. Freelancing in the country is mostly led by younger minds under the age of 30, which also makes up around 64% of the total population. Talk about an abundance of youth!
Content Writing, Graphic Designing, Online Marketing, Cold Calling for Sales, Lead Generation, Web, and Application Development, and AI and Machine Learning are some of the most common jobs outsourced to freelancers or the BPO industry in Pakistan, due to their high success rate. These remote workers generate income by selling their services or products to the international market while earning foreign exchange for the country.
The Concept of Co-Working Spaces in Pakistan
Most people sometimes feel uneasy, awkward, or are perceived as lazy when it comes to working from home all the time. Moreover, working alone can, at times, leave you feeling isolated. All these factors may affect your performance negatively when working online. Hence, the concept of co-working spaces is thriving in Pakistan as well as around the world because they bring like-minded individuals together without threatening their independent lifestyle. Moreover, these places have facilities that most households in Pakistan lack such as high-speed internet, power backup, and proper workspaces.
Freelancers, as well as small scale entrepreneurs in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, take co-working spaces as one of the most ideal places to get going with their professional careers. The expansion of the concept of shared workspace is one of the key reasons behind the progress of the freelancing economy in Pakistan. On a side note, if you want to learn more about the pros and cons of coworking spaces, don’t forget to read this blog.
Freelancing Websites Available to Pakistanis
There are multiple freelancing websites available to freelancers from Pakistan. Let’s explore the four most famous ones among local freelancers.
Arguably one of the oldest and most trusted freelancing websites in the world, Freelancer.com has benefited the global freelancing industry for more than a decade. A large number of freelancers from Pakistan are also generating their income from Freelancer.com. This online freelancing portal is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
This platform has over 12 million active freelancers available for a variety of gigs. Around three million jobs are posted on Upwork every year. You need to create and submit a profile mentioning your relevant skills and experience to become a registered freelancer on the website. Once your profile gets reviewed and approved, it will start appearing to people looking for freelancers from across the globe.
Fiverr is a highly popular freelancing forum frequented by almost every freelancer in Pakistan looking to make money online. It is also counted among the 100 most popular websites in the United States. You can sell your key skills on Fiverr in the form of gigs. The lowest wage that a freelancer can earn on Fiverr is $5 per gig.
A large number of Pakistani freelancers have registered on PeoplePerHour, which is a very popular UK-based online freelancing community. The website allows you to send 15 proposals to different clients for free before asking you to sign up for a premium plan. Hundreds of jobs are posted on PeoplePerHour every day.
So, if you have already identified your skills, then sign up on one of the platforms mentioned above and start earning online as a freelancer!
Alternatives to PayPal in Pakistan
Even though PayPal does not support Pakistan, which is the most reliable merchant for online payments, freelancing in Pakistan is consistently growing and is showing no signs of slowing down. However, efforts on both government and individual levels are required to bring PayPal to Pakistan, so this industry can further benefit the overall economy of Pakistan. As of now, Pakistani freelancers rely on alternate payment methods for receiving payments online from their clients.
Skrill, Xoom, and Payoneer are among the widely used alternatives to PayPal in Pakistan. All these merchants for online payments are simple and easy to use. The only thing that makes PayPal a better or a more feasible option is that it deducts less amount of fee on funds transfer than all the other payment merchants.
What is the Future of Freelancing in Pakistan?
With over 6,000 IT companies and one million freelancers, Pakistan is one of the most financially attractive countries to outsource tech jobs in the world. Currently, a revenue of over half a billion dollars is generated by the freelancing industry in Pakistan. However, if the number of freelancers in Pakistan continues to grow at this pace, and the government takes more steps towards making freelancing easier, then it is estimated that the revenue will cross the $2.4 billion mark over the next five years.
For more informational posts about the progress of the IT industry in Pakistan, stay tuned to Zameen Blog – the best lifestyle blog in Pakistan.