LAHORE: Punjab’s youth countering the unemployment stepped in freelancing world to earn money and support their families and to become self-employed as it becomes a new sensation for youth in province after government led programmed launched e-rozgar.

International Data Group (IDG) 2014 report claims 40 per cent of Pakistanis are self-employed. This year International Monitoring Fund forecast a slight increase in unemployment ratio from six per cent to 6.1pc in the 2017 fiscal year.

According to latest Payoneer Freelancer Income Survey, freelancers in Pakistan are working 34 hours per week. The global statistic is worldwide average hourly rate charged by freelancers is $19. The freelance scene is young – over 50% of the respondents are under the age of 30 worldwide.

At the same time, older freelancers earn more than their younger counterparts. Freelancers with advanced degrees earn more than those with high school and bachelor’s degrees.

Regardless of their own location, more than two-thirds of freelancers work for clients based in North America, and half of them work for clients based in Europe.  On the other hand, “the world average is 36 hours per week (7.2 hours per day for a five-day work week). There is no data available about Pakistan freelancers. 

Farisa Musarat Jilani who hails Rawalpindi district attended three months freelancing training at University of Engineering and Technology and she termed it as lifetime experience. She had done his BS in Information Technology, and her domain is creative designing.

“After I got training now I have recommended it to others in my family and peer circle,” Farisa said. 

“Most of the project which I bid at freelancing is about the creative designing and few of them are about the content writing. “We got training about the latest application like how to build your business on Facebook,” Farisha said.

“The training led to a time in my life where I become financially independent and I can see how I could attain my social mobility,” Sarah said. 

Sarah who is doing PhD in chemistry, is a kind of person who wanted to be socially independent as her husband is also studying and paying family’s academic dues until Sarah started entered in freelancing. “Being a woman the experience so far alleviates my confidence and has facilitated me to earn a comfortable living while working from home. I am earning Rs 40,000 to 50,000 per month,” Sarah explained.

Sarah Khan is house wife, who hails from Faisalabad, said the experience of training at PITB e-rozgar program was ‘outstanding’. She attained her training at IT lab sponsored by PITB at Government College University, Madina Town, district Faisalabad. 

“Being women in Pakistani society she has to do sacrifice on tiny things but the economic independence led her to give confidence that there are others ways to see life,” she said.

“Despite all odds I have been supported by my parents,” she said.

Sabir Hussain, who hails from Gujarat district and who was jobless after completing his BBA but now from freelancing earns 500 dollars monthly.  He said there are multiple reasons working as freelance jobs because there is freedom of choice to dot work instead of working a routine and boring normal 9 to 5 job.

Helma Kusuma , Communications Manager (Asia) for Freelancer.com told this scribe that out of over 900 thousand users from Pakistan, more than 800 thousand users have registered as freelancers on Freelancer.com.

“The rest are employers and businesses that have posted freelance jobs on the marketplace. Majority of the Pakistani users come from cities like Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Faisalabad. Most of the employers who hire Pakistani freelancers in the marketplace are from USA, India, UK, Australia and Pakistan,” she said.

Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) had organised Pakistan’s 1st National Freelancing Convention this year in March which was co hosted by  Techhub Connect and Chief Minister’s e-Rozgaar Program.

The bought entire freelancing community under a single umbrella; more than 5000 leading freelancers, entrepreneurs, co-working spaces, businesses, and students are expected to take part in the event. Such events also encourage women in tech by bridging gender divide through technology.

Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Chairman Dr Umar Saif told the Nation that freelancing is the future of the Pakistan. “All we need is to invest and pay focus from government side in freelancing. One of the most vibrant areas of money earning right now is lies I freelancing,” Dr Saif said.

Dr Saif said Punjab government's e-rozgar is to help the youth of Pakistan to make them self employed and self sustainable by training them in earning income through internet.

“This sector has such a huge potential which is not just accessed and measured but we here at PITB has pacing up the training programs in different cities of Punjab for general public to increase exposure of youth so they could get foreign opportunities and earn millions of rupees sitting at home and contribute positively to Pakistan by bringing in foreign currency,” Dr Saif said.