Along with the development of the IT sector in the country, there has been a silent revolution of freelancers. From cities to remote areas, young people are earning tens of thousands of dollars a month by freelancing. Currently, 14 percent of the total freelancers worldwide are in Bangladesh. They sit in the country and do various jobs online.
Such information has emerged in the World Trade Organization (WTO) report entitled 'World Trade Report 2023'. In this report's 'New Shape of Global Trade' chapter, efforts are being made to make trade sustainable and inclusive despite the global crisis. Digital media is the most important for him. In this chapter, several facts are given about the rise of the digital services sector in Bangladesh.
The Bengali of freelancing is 'free professional'. There is no nine-to-five job obligation in this profession. Philanthropists can work from office, home, or anywhere. For this, you will need your own skills, electricity, and a dynamic internet connection.
If the organizations of different countries of the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, do some IT-dependent work through local workers, it costs more. Again, many times the required staff is not available. They then outsource the specific work. It saves money for that organization or person, as well as that person also earns by doing the work from any place.
Most jobs are matched on certain websites. In IT parlance these are 'online marketplaces' (online job markets). The interest of young people in freelancing is increasing due to the expansion of information technology and various government and private initiatives in the country.
There is no accurate data on how many freelancers there are in the country. There is no detailed information about this in the WTO report. However, Bangladesh Freelancer Development Society Chairman Tanjiba Rahman said that 153 marketplaces work in Bangladesh. If you calculate them, the number of freelancers is about 1 million.
According to Exploding Topics, a US organization that provides data analysis support for entrepreneurs and investors, 1.57 billion people in the world are involved in freelancing. And 70 percent of them are 35 years old or younger.
According to Exploding Topics, freelancing is in the highest demand in web design. They earn an average of $21 per hour. However, according to Payona's Freelance Income Survey Report 2023, freelancers now earn an average of $28 per hour.
Most of the freelancers in the country are working for very low wages. We now have to move to higher-wage jobs. For that, whoever will study the subject, will do freelancing in that subject. We do freelancing in only 11 topics from Bangladesh. But there is an opportunity to do freelancing in 1 thousand 23 subjects.
According to the WT report, Bangladesh is moving forward in the digital service sector. Although the quantity is still low, the growth in the export of digital services is good. Since 2005, Bangladesh has achieved an average growth of 11 percent in merchandise exports. In contrast, the average growth in digital services exports is 15 percent. E-commerce businesses are growing at an average of 18 percent annually. In 2021 alone, 1 crore 10 lakh people were high-speed internet users. There are 8,280 digital centers in remote areas.
Quoting the Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) in Bangladesh, the WTO report said that in the fiscal year 2020-21, 400 companies in the information technology sector exported digital services worth 1.3 billion dollars to 80 countries. In the next fiscal year, digital services worth 1.4 billion dollars were exported to 167 destinations. At present, the contribution of the ICT sector to the country's GDP is 1.28 percent. 3 lakh people have been directly employed in this sector. In 2025 it will increase to 5 lakh.
Meanwhile, according to the data of Bangladesh Bank, the export of consultancy services, non-customized computer software, data processing and hosting services, computer repair, and other services have increased by more than one and a half times in four years. In the financial year 2017-18, computer-related services worth 18.2 million dollars were exported. In the fiscal year 2020-21, it increased to 303.7 million dollars. Exports of computer-related services increased to $550 million in the outgoing 2022-23 fiscal year.