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Digital labour platforms and the future of work: Towards decent work in the online world

The emergence of online digital labour platforms has been one of the major transformations in the world of work over the past decade. This report focuses on web-based platforms, wherein tasks can be outsourced by businesses and other clients through an open call to a large, flexible workforce (‘crowd’), which is geographically dispersed around the world. The report provides one of the first comparative studies of working conditions on five major microtask platforms that operate globally. It is based on an ILO survey covering 3,500 workers living in 75 countries around the world and other qualitative surveys. It documents the characteristics of crowdworkers, the type of work they perform and their motivations and perceptions towards this work, and finds both commonalities and differences between workers from the global North and global South. The report analyses the working conditions on these micro-task platforms, which includes pay rates, work availability, work intensity, rejections and non-payment, worker communication with clients and platform operators, social protection coverage, work-life balance and workers’ prospects for future career development., The report shows that while digital labour platforms provide a number of opportunities, there are also some drawbacks. In this context, the report reviews the different initiatives that have been put forth, including the Crowdsourcing code of conduct initiated by IG Metall and the German crowdsourcing platforms to improve working conditions. The report recommends 18 principles towards ensuring decent work on digital labour platforms.