Uber, TaskRabbit, Deliveroo, Freelancer – just a few well-known names of the quickly expanding gig economy. According to European Commission, gross revenue from digital labour platforms and providers in the EU was around €28 billion in 2015. Yet gig economy has still been poorly understood, particularly in the realm of labour issues.
One of the key problems has been the lack of official statistics on employment via digital labour platforms. In spring 2017, PPMI was contracted by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) to help them solve this. As part of this assignment, we designed and implemented an online panel survey of digital platform service providers. The survey covered 14 EU countries with 2,300 responses from each country, yielding an overall of 32,200 responses collected.
The final findings were submitted in November 2017. Our survey identified that around 10% of European internet users have provided some type of services via digital platforms. These were generally young people, mostly males, with quite diverse levels of education. The services they provided via digital labour platforms were diverse as well, ranging from local gigs such as cleaning or delivery, to professional or creative freelancing activities. A variety of factors influenced service providers’ decision to work via digital labour platforms, most notable of them being the flexibility and possibility to be ‘own boss’. Nonetheless, most of the gig workers belonged to the lower income deciles in their countries.
We expect this project to serve as basis for the future research into the issue, and ultimately to inform collaborative economy policies in the EU.
For more information on the project or our experience conducing online panel surveys and assisting EU and national institutions with social research, please contact Egidijus Barcevičius