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

Labour markets are transforming dramatically, with hundreds of thousands now acquiring and carrying out perform on the net. However, as official stats only seize standard labour markets, an EU-funded venture has been monitoring the escalating environment of on the net perform.


© ST.artwork, #337053566, 2020

Above the previous 10 years, escalating quantities of folks have been acquiring work and carrying out perform by means of on the net ‘gig’ platforms. These websites supply the platform for jobs asked for by providers, these types of as composing, translation, facts science and marketing and advertising, which can then be carried out remotely by employees residing everywhere in the environment.

But even as this new variety of perform disrupts standard labour markets, official work stats proceed to aim on far more regular labour markets. This has resulted in policymakers and researchers lacking vital data as to how the on the net labour sector operates and the situations beneath which its workers are doing the job.

In response, the EU’s iLABOUR venture, funded by the European Exploration Council, has created the Online Labour Index, the very first world financial indicator devoted to monitoring the on the net gig financial system. The index steps the provide and need for on the net freelance labour by monitoring the selection of jobs and jobs dispersed throughout distinctive nations around the world and occupations in real time.

‘We are trying to supply policymakers with this facts to give them an plan of how large this full new on the net sector in fact is,’ says principal investigator Vili Lehdonvirta of Oxford University in the British isles. ‘The plan driving the Online Labour Index is to perform as the on the net labour equal to the Organisation for Financial Co-operation and Advancement index or the Intercontinental Labour Organization’s stats, which are mostly means for policymakers and researchers to refer to and to see how specific phenomena are shaping the environment of perform.’

The index is critical, adds Lehdonvirta, due to the fact it will help respond to socially appropriate thoughts these types of as: Is this sector still escalating? How numerous folks are doing the job for these platforms? How substantially are they getting compensated? ‘Empirical facts could also help researchers and policymakers who are investigating gig workers’ labour legal rights,’ he says.

Fuelling tutorial study

The venture workforce made the index – which immediately updates day by day – by monitoring jobs posted on the 5 premier English-language on the net labour platforms, together with Upwork, PeoplePerHour and Amazon Mechanical Turk.

‘With a handful of platforms, you are presently masking a quite massive share of the market’s world exercise,’ says Fabian Stephany, economist and facts scientist at the University of Oxford, who is in charge of acquiring the Index. ‘But we’re at this time extending the Online Labour Index to incorporate lesser platforms that have a unique aim on, for example, the Philippines, or on Russian-talking nations around the world.’

Though the Index is still growing, the iLABOUR workforce has presently applied this facts to publish a sequence of tutorial papers and experiences on matters ranging from how on the net labour can bridge the urban-rural divide to how Fortune 500 providers are applying the on the net gig financial system to discover freelancers.

For the reason that the tool is freely out there by means of the iLABOUR website, the broader study local community has been able to use this facts to investigate a variety of other difficulties. ‘A lot of study spin-offs, college students and study colleagues are presently applying the facts to respond to quite specific thoughts about freelance perform in the Philippines or Spain,’ says Stephany. Economists at Oxford University’s Saïd Small business University are also accessing the facts to investigate world price differences in on the net labour markets.

A new world conventional

Although facts generated by the iLABOUR venture has made an critical useful resource for researchers, there has also been massive interest from policymakers. Above the previous three several years, the venture workforce has been invited to present their perform at several policy functions organised by the European Commission, the OECD, the European Basis for the Enhancement of Dwelling and Working Ailments, and the European Union’s statistical office, Eurostat.

In addition, principal investigator Lehdonvirta was appointed to the European Commission’s High-amount Expert Team on the Influence of the Digital Transformation on EU Labour Markets and facts from the Online Labour Index was applied for the group’s last report.

‘After the venture ends, I believe the on the net labour index will stay on and proceed to develop but almost certainly beneath the umbrella of an establishment like the United Nation’s Intercontinental Labour Group,’ says Stephany, incorporating that this would help the perform to make an even better influence than has been achieved so considerably.

‘This is critical due to the fact on the net labour is figuring out the working day-to-working day realities of an rising share of the world’s doing the job inhabitants. That is why we need to continually scrutinise this new environment of perform,’ he concludes.