Freelancing: Antidote to unemployment

Tension, depression, anxiety, lack of confidence and demotivation are the common issues that the unemployed youth faces in our country. Every year hundreds of thousands of students graduate and enter the job market, relentlessly searching for jobs. But the truth is that the job market in Bangladesh is overly saturated and cannot cater to the number of graduates the country produces.

One in every 10 of Bangladesh’s 44 million young people is unemployed, according to research by World Vision Bangladesh. The rate of educated unemployment in the country is increasing exponentially. However, these young unemployed people can easily start their career by taking some IT training and freelancing online. By doing so, they not only make a living but also contribute to the economy by earning a salary in a valuable foreign currency.

Freelancing jobs include everything from computer programming to web design, tax preparation, and search engine optimization. This has generated a wide range of new opportunities for people in emerging markets that did not previously exist. Asia has become the number-one region for providing outsourcing services to the rest of the world.

Freelancing offers many advantages, including the freedom to choose clients and projects, access to the global market, and flexibility over the location. Most importantly, freelancers can avoid the long, frustrating hours commuting in traffic in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.

Consequently, freelancing has become a popular career option for many Bangladeshi people, offering a new and flexible source of income that suits their lifestyles.

A lot of women in Bangladesh, including highly educated women, often sacrifice their careers in order to take care of their families. Freelancing is becoming a preferred career option for many Bangladeshi women, as it provides them with an opportunity to work from home.

According to the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) of Oxford University in the UK, Bangladesh now contributes 16.8% of all outsourced online workers in the world, a rate which is second only to India at 24.6%. Of the Bangladeshi outsourcing workers, 22% work in software development and technology, representing 3.7% of all online freelancers in the world. The majority (about 40%, or 6.8% of the world total) work in sales and marketing support. About a quarter of work in creative multimedia (4.2% in the global context). Similarly, about 3% work in writing and translation, 7% in clerical and data entry and 2% in professional services (representing 0.5%, 1.3% and 0.4% of all freelancers on the web).

Bangladesh is one of the few countries in Asia that has a huge youth population. Of its 163 million people, almost 65% are under the age of 25. This vast, young and strong human resource, however, is still lacking in the knowledge necessary to thrive in the competitive global market.

Although freelancing as a career has gained in popularity over the last few years, thousands of Bangladesh’s young people are in need of proper training and government support to help them take advantage of this opportunity.

The government should focus on turning unemployed young people into tech-savvy workers and engage them in IT-based freelancing. In this way, the government of Bangladesh can attain its goal of translating the vision of Digital Bangladesh into reality by focusing on human capital development for the global digital economy.