Is Pakistan the Next Hub for the Virtual Assistant Market?
The Spirit of Modernistic Change
Rising economies are the product of all-encompassing inspiration, development and endearing change. That is how civilizations develop, flourish and conquer against all odds. We live in a digital age where economies and countries are evolving at a rapid pace.
And Pakistan is at the helm of this fiery change. Ranked #5 in the world in terms of population with over 210 million inhabitants – making up 2.3% of the planet’s total populace – the country is a thriving melting pop for development in the internet age.
Information technology in Pakistan is a growing and heightening industry that has tremendous prospects and fascinating potential. As a powerful developing country, the IT industry has always been unflinchingly regarded as a successful sector of Pakistan economically, even in times of financial crisis.
In the midst of all this, the country has a booming and rapidly progressing Virtual Assistant services market, providing income and advancement for millions nationwide.
What are Virtual Assistant services?
A Virtual Assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is an independent or employed online professional that provides administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office or agency.
Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits, except in the context that those indirect expenses are included in the VA’s fees.
Moreover, clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies. Clients pay for 100% productive work, and can work with Virtual Assistants, individually, or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs.
Virtual Assistants usually work for other online or E-commerce businesses, but can also support busy executives. It is estimated that there are as few as 5,000-10,000 or as many as 25,000 virtual assistants worldwide.
History of IT in Pakistan
Historically, the first IT policy and implementation strategy was approved under the leadership of Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman FRS, then Federal Minister of Science & technology, in August 2000 which laid the foundations of the development of this sector.
A 15 year tax holiday was approved to promote the IT industry in 2001 which has the grown from $ 30 million to over $3 billion during the last 16 years. Furthermore, the government of Pakistan has given numerous incentives to IT investors in the country during the last decade, this resulted in the development of the IT sector.
As of June 2017, Pakistan has 44.5 million internet users and is ranked as one of the top countries that have registered a high growth rate in internet penetration. Overall, it holds 1.5% of the world’s internet user population [Internet World Stats – 2017 Report]
All these facts and established figures leave a thriving and evergreen playing field for the Virtual Assistant market in Pakistan, which is growing by the day at a phenomenal pace. Wherever there’s Ecommerce, there will be fledgling jobs and opportunities for the Virtual Assistant market too. They are both directly proportional to one another.
Some of the local portals have emerged as leading online businesses in Pakistan, for instance, PakWheels. The auto portal has emerged as the leading online car buying and selling website in Pakistan. Similarly, Zameen.com is the leading online real estate database that connects real estate dealers, developers, estate agencies with general buyers, sellers and renters in Pakistan.
Even in terms of the media platforms, the show called “Idea Croroan Ka” – modeled after the award winning U.S show ‘Shark Tank’ has seen unprecedented growth, whilst progressively showcasing Pakistani entrepreneurial talent to the entire nation, whilst providing great investment opportunities for great business ideas!
Urtasker.com, formerly known as Dasktech in Pakistan is a leading E-commerce Virtual Assistant service provider company which provides daily back office support to E-commerce sellers on multiple online channels such as Amazon, eBay, Shopify and Jet.com. The company is based in the New York with an operation office in Pakistan. It has been rapidly increasing its staff to meet the growing global demand of trained E-commerce Virtual Assistants.
Pakistan may be the new kid on the block that is a fast rising star in IT and Virtual Assistant services / E-commerce realm, but throughout the annals of human history if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that with every progress comes its set of challenges too. And Pakistan is no different. Challenges such as Communications, viable Skills Set and Industry Trends are a prevalent dynamic in the independent and agency VA services industry.
Because English is not the first or official language of the country, it does naturally pose a barrier to many budding Virtual Assistants who possess tremendous drive, passion and ability, but are not able to shine on international stage due to the language limitations. Similarly, since the country is in the developmental and evolutionary phase of its progression in the VA market, the skill-set required to operate on a globally professional and proactive scale is also gradually being refined.
Industry trends are also ever-changing in the cutting edge Virtual Assistant services market worldwide. Thus, such fluidly alternating dynamics pose rising challenges to the young yet talented Virtual Assistant services sector in Pakistan.
However, given the current climate, massive pool of talent, constructive governmental policies and initiatives, as well as a thriving private E-commerce and Virtual Assistant agency services portfolio, Pakistan is not giving up the race. It continues to grow in the industry at a profound speed with all the right steps, in all the right directions thus far.
The Generation ‘Next’ – And the Future Ahead!
Great industries are a collection of passion, vision and the willingness to persevere. The youth in Pakistan have consistently shown all of those fundamental traits as tools for success in the IT industry within Pakistan.
With the advent of the internet, the IT and Ecommerce worlds have flourished beyond anyone would have thought possible in Pakistan. And yet, they have played a fundamental role in the country’s economic landscape. All these factors and many more, make Pakistan a jewel of the east, with prolific prospects and promise of being a thriving hub for the international Virtual Assistant market that is locally relevant and globally centric!
In fact, Pakistan holds the ranking as the 4th largest freelance market in the world today, as per a study by Oxford Internet Institute in 2017.
In conclusion, the growth of Ecommerce has paved the way for the rich and truly flourishing Virtual Assistant market, where there are tremendous opportunities for both Virtual Assistant professionals as well as Virtual Assistant Agencies. The fuel to this fire is Knowledge, Strategy and Execution. The K.S.E formula as it is called, is a powerful dynamic within the Virtual Assistant market that has a strong scope in Pakistan.