May 22, 2024


Imagination at work

Measuring the new world of online work – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Labour markets are transforming substantially, with hundreds of thousands now getting and carrying out function on the net. Nonetheless, as official statistics only capture regular labour markets, an EU-funded task has been tracking the increasing globe of on the net function.


©, #337053566, 2020

Above the past decade, increasing figures of folks have been getting work and carrying out function by means of on the net ‘gig’ platforms. These sites deliver the system for jobs requested by providers, these as crafting, translation, details science and internet marketing, which can then be carried out remotely by employees residing wherever in the globe.

But even as this new style of function disrupts regular labour markets, official work statistics continue on to target on a lot more traditional labour markets. This has resulted in policymakers and researchers missing important information and facts as to how the on the net labour industry operates and the situations less than which its workforce are doing the job.

In reaction, the EU’s iLABOUR task, funded by the European Study Council, has created the On the internet Labour Index, the 1st international economic indicator focused to tracking the on the net gig economic system. The index measures the offer and need for on the net freelance labour by tracking the amount of tasks and jobs distributed across different nations around the world and occupations in genuine time.

‘We are striving to deliver policymakers with this details to give them an notion of how large this whole new on the net industry truly is,’ suggests principal investigator Vili Lehdonvirta of Oxford College in the British isles. ‘The notion powering the On the internet Labour Index is to perform as the on the net labour equal to the Organisation for Financial Co-procedure and Advancement index or the Intercontinental Labour Organization’s statistics, which are largely means for policymakers and researchers to refer to and to see how specified phenomena are shaping the globe of function.’

The index is significant, provides Lehdonvirta, simply because it will enable respond to socially appropriate questions these as: Is this industry nevertheless increasing? How lots of folks are doing the job for these platforms? How substantially are they getting paid? ‘Empirical details could also enable researchers and policymakers who are investigating gig workers’ labour rights,’ he suggests.

Fuelling tutorial investigation

The task group established the index – which quickly updates everyday – by tracking tasks posted on the five most significant English-language on the net labour platforms, such as Upwork, PeoplePerHour and Amazon Mechanical Turk.

‘With a handful of platforms, you are already masking a incredibly huge share of the market’s international activity,’ suggests Fabian Stephany, economist and details scientist at the College of Oxford, who is in demand of producing the Index. ‘But we are at the moment extending the On the internet Labour Index to include scaled-down platforms that have a precise target on, for example, the Philippines, or on Russian-speaking nations around the world.’

Even though the Index is nevertheless growing, the iLABOUR group has already employed this details to generate a collection of tutorial papers and reports on matters ranging from how on the net labour can bridge the city-rural divide to how Fortune 500 providers are working with the on the net gig economic system to locate freelancers.

Because the software is freely offered by means of the iLABOUR internet site, the wider investigation local community has been able to use this details to look into a wide range of other concerns. ‘A lot of investigation spin-offs, college students and investigation colleagues are already working with the details to respond to incredibly certain questions about freelance function in the Philippines or Spain,’ suggests Stephany. Economists at Oxford University’s Saïd Company Faculty are also accessing the details to look into international selling price variations in on the net labour markets.

A new international regular

Even though details created by the iLABOUR task has established an significant resource for researchers, there has also been huge fascination from policymakers. Above the past a few many years, the task group has been invited to existing their function at a lot of plan activities organised by the European Commission, the OECD, the European Foundation for the Enhancement of Dwelling and Working Ailments, and the European Union’s statistical business office, Eurostat.

In addition, principal investigator Lehdonvirta was appointed to the European Commission’s Substantial-amount Qualified Team on the Influence of the Electronic Transformation on EU Labour Markets and details from the On the internet Labour Index was employed for the group’s last report.

‘After the task finishes, I imagine the on the net labour index will stay on and continue on to mature but in all probability less than the umbrella of an establishment like the United Nation’s Intercontinental Labour Corporation,’ suggests Stephany, adding that this would enable the function to make an even greater impression than has been attained so much.

‘This is significant simply because on the net labour is identifying the working day-to-working day realities of an increasing share of the world’s doing the job inhabitants. That is why we need to repeatedly scrutinise this new globe of function,’ he concludes.