The rise in popularity of remote work, which was growing as a trend has been increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has led businesses to see the value of hiring talent globally. As a result, the gig economy has grown, providing lucrative opportunities for independent contractors, online platform workers, and temporary employees worldwide.
What is gig work?
Gig work can be defined as project-based income-earning opportunities outside of traditional, long-term employer-employee relationships, typically conducted via an on-demand digital platform by independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers and temporary employees. It includes skilled opportunities that require specific qualifications, talent or ability. For example a software developer based in South Africa working for a company based in the United Kingdom.
South African has an estimated 3.9 million giggers
South Africa is one country that has seen a surge in demand for its resources due to the wealth of talent, knowledge, and skills available at relatively low cost, compared to other international options, making it an attractive option for businesses looking to reduce costs. According to a recent Investec report, “What is the gig economy and why is it growing?” South Africa has an estimated 3.9 million giggers.
With the rise of digital platforms, gig workers in South Africa can now access a global market and earn foreign currency such as USD and EUR, which can offer greater stability and financial security than the Rand. This can have a positive impact on the overall economy, as increased foreign currency earnings can help to stabilise the exchange rate and provide a boost to the country’s balance of payments.
These arrangements benefit both employers – because they may be able to employ highly skilled workers more cheaply than in their own countries – and employees – who may broaden their opportunities to earn income.
Challenges gig workers face
However, it turns out getting paid from overseas in South Africa comes with its fair share of challenges. Receiving payments in a foreign currency is a significant issue for gig workers, as banks and remittance companies often levy high fees. The involvement of multiple intermediaries in the payment process further complicates matters, resulting in payments taking days to reach the recipient, which can be problematic when there are bills to be paid.
Additionally, not all South Africans have access to foreign currency bank accounts, which means that they cannot leverage the benefits of receiving payments in foreign currencies like USD and EUR, currencies which are much stronger than the Rand. In the past 12 months, the Rand has depreciated by 21.93% against the US dollar.
Locals must think global
The gig economy presents a significant opportunity for South African workers to access a global market and earn foreign currency, providing stability and financial security in a country where the Rand continues to depreciate.
Fintech platforms like Be Mobile Africa offer a solution to these challenges, making it easier for South African gig workers to receive payments from international companies and manage multiple currencies without having to worry about high fees or complicated processes. By leveraging these platforms, gig workers can focus on providing value to international businesses and maximising their earning potential. Ultimately, the growth of the gig economy and the rise of digital platforms offer a promising future for South African workers looking to thrive in an increasingly globalised economy.
Find out more about Be Mobile Africa’s multi-currency accounts and how you can apply in less than 60 seconds.