Following this, gig workers including self-employed individuals and freelancers are exposed to income volatility and inadequate savings as their earnings may vary wildly from one month to another.
These issues stand out as the main financial challenges facing Malaysia’s gig workers, thus, technology company I Synergy Group Ltd (iSynergy) is committed to being the leading aggregator in the gig economy and providing solutions to ensure continued income for them.
Citing the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) data, chief executive officer Shah Mohammad Ali said on average, Malaysians earned about RM2,000 a month but household spending amounted up to RM4,000.
‘’This means to say, you are spending more than you make, and that is not sustainable. And what is best would be to provide them with the opportunities to earn more,'’ he told Bernama recently.
He believed iSynergy would be able to connect the gig workers with opportunities to earn continuous income while providing access to essential resources and services through Wyde.
Wyde is a digital marketplace aggregator platform developed by the company to serve gig workers, shoppers, and merchants to help those who need to secure job opportunities and boost digital adoption.
Shah said Wyde also enables gig workers to earn income through promoting offers, shoppers to earn rewards in the form of points for their purchases, and merchants to drive sales, lower their costs and grow their businesses.
‘’Wyde’s core value proposition is to create a positive impact on society by enabling stakeholders to achieve their goals through our focus on job creation, digital adoption, and opportunities for everyone,’’ he said.Growing B40 Participants in Gig Market
iSynergy has 40,000 members under its wing, of whom 80 per cent are from the B40 income group who have showed tremendous interest to boost their income. As an aggregator platform, iSynergy recognised the importance of providing gig workers especially the low income and vulnerable group access to job opportunities, financial inclusion, and guidance literacy.
On top of that, Shah said data indicates that out of every five million graduates, 200,000 will be jobless, with gig work seemingly the best solution to ensure their access to the labour market.
Shah said iSynergy's aim is to provide actionable insights to address the unique gig economy challenges, thus enabling gig workers and new graduates entering the field to better understand how to work online and keep up pace with the e-commerce boom.
Based on Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) programme implementation data, it is estimated that there are as many as 1.12 million individuals involved in the gig economy sphere, taking the opportunity to generate income either as supplemental income or as the main income.
They earned a total of RM2.86 billion from 2016 until June 2020, with the overall market size for this industry in Malaysia estimated to be worth at least RM1.61 billion.
MDEC has projected that the gig economy, especially from the development aspect of local platforms, will continue to grow from approximately RM371.4 million in 2021 to at least RM650 million in 2025.
The e-commerce sector, meanwhile, has roared exponentially in recent years, with DoSM reporting that Malaysia’s income from e-commerce transactions had surpassed US$232.188 billion (RM1 trillion) mark for the very first time in 2021, at a growth rate of 21.8 per cent.Addressing Lack of Financing Options
Poor access to credit remained a major barrier to these workers to grow their potential. As gig workers hope for better welfare and well-being, many struggle with approval to access financial products because their profile does not meet the eligibility criteria.
Here, iSynergy believes that through blockchain and artificial intelligence backing, data on gig workers' income can be generated from every transaction done through its connection.
‘’The technology behind blockchain enables the ability to track who sent this particular order. So every time a shopper shops, a micro agent or the influencer also gets part of the revenue.
‘’So it's an ongoing source of revenue for micro agents and this could lead to financial inclusion,’’ Shah said. He said in the last five years, there were transactions of some RM200 million done via iSynergy’s sales force, with 15 per cent going toward the commission for gig workers.
‘’That's a significant amount and in 2021, during the pandemic period, in six months, there was a commission payout of about RM2.1 million, the majority dominated by those between the ages of 35 and 45.
‘’There were also retirees and the data also indicated that women, had done really well and also surprisingly, in remote areas,’’ he noted. From this valuable data, he said the financial institutions could come up with alternative models of credit ratings for these individuals so they can be eligible for financing.iSynergy-IFIN Services Collaboration to Promote Financial Empowerment
iSynergy also tied a collaboration recently with the Islamic Finance Initiation Network (IFIN Services) to deepen its commitment to promoting financial empowerment among gig workers in Malaysia.
Besides increasing inclusion and literacy in Malaysia’s gig market, the partnership also grants iSynergy access to the Middle Eastern market. ‘’Apart from the scalability of our platform, the partnership offers us greater access to platforms in the Middle East, specifically in Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar.
‘’At the same time, we are also looking at focusing on Shariah-compliant and halal businesses,’’ Shah added. The move is in sync with the government’s plan to develop a comprehensive gig economy in Malaysia and to encourage local businesses to utilise ‘digital freelancers’ to boost their operations.-- BERNAMA