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Online Labour Index 2020: New ways to measure the world’s remote freelancing market

Author: Stephany, F., Kässi, O., Rani, U., & Lehdonvirta, V.
Published in: Big Data & Society
Year: 2021
Type: Academic articles
DOI: 10.1177/20539517211043240

The Online Labour Index (OLI) was launched in 2016 to measure the global utilisation of online freelance work at scale. Five years after its creation, the OLI has become a point of reference for scholars and policy experts investigating the online gig economy. As the market for online freelancing work matures, a high volume of data and new analytical tools allow us to revisit half a decade of online freelance monitoring and extend the index's scope to more dimensions of the global online freelancing market. While (still) measuring the utilisation of online labour across countries and occupations by tracking the number of projects and tasks posted on major English-language platforms, the new Online Labour Index 2020 (OLI 2020) also tracks Spanish- and Russian-language platforms, reveals changes over time in the geography of labour supply and estimates female participation in the online gig economy. The rising popularity of software and tech work and the concentration of freelancers on the Indian subcontinent are examples of the insights that the OLI 2020 provides. The OLI 2020 delivers a more detailed picture of the world of online freelancing via an interactive online visualisation updated daily. It provides easy access to downloadable open data for policymakers, labour market researchers, and the general public (www.onlinelabourobservatory.org).

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Connected HIIG researchers

Fabian Stephany, Dr.

Assoziierter Forscher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Gesellschaft


  • Open Access
  • Peer Reviewed