GigmetarTM is the first instrument aiming to describe the geography of digital work in Serbia and South East Europe in terms of gender, incomes, and occupations. It is a result of the efforts made by the Public Policy Research Centre (CENTAR) to shed more light on the phenomenon of online platform based work in Serbia and East and South-East Europe. According to the Global Gig-Economy Index, this part of the world has built a strong position in the global market for gig work in recent years.

The findings of the research conducted by CENTAR show that tens of thousands of gig workers based in Serbia and South East Europe are active on both general online platforms, such as Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, and Fiverr, and specialised platforms, such as Engoo and ABC Tutor. It was a World Bank study from 2015  that first indicated that Serbia was among the leading countries among the providers of this kind of work measured by the number of active gig workers per capita and their share in the workforce.


In order to secure consistency and reliability of the metrics used, CENTAR opted to track the volume of gig work in Serbia and the region using Upwork as the point of reference, for a number of reasons. Firstly, Upwork is the largest global platform measured by the gross volume of the services provided, with more than 7 million clients and 12 million registered gig workers. Secondly, it is used by more than 30 percent of companies on Fortune 500 list, including Airbnb, Automattic, BISSELL, GE, and Microsoft. Thirdly, gig workers on Upwork offer more than 8,000 various skills and competencies (according to the platform’s own classification), in the fields of software development, design and creative services, finance and accounting, and consulting and customer services, which are the most common among the gig workers in the region. Fourthly, Upwork is the leading platform for gig workers in Serbia and neighbouring countries and offers a most representative data set regarding its labour supply (i.e. gig workers) as it verifies their identities, updates the records at regular intervals, and offers the best and most accurate insight into many other aspects of gig work relevant for understanding of this phenomenon.

CENTAR’s GigmetarTM is designed to track the activities and profiles of Serbian and regional gig workers using the set of criteria publicly available on Upwork. The platform keeps records for a far larger number of workers, but GigmetarTM shall track continuously only those who are active in the period under observation to procure a reliable assessment of the relevance and volume of the regional market within the global context.

Thanks are due to Olof Palme International for their initial support in developing GigmetarTM for Serbia, and the Open Society Foundation Berlin for backing us in our first step towards extending the index to cover the entire region.


The indices measure absolute and relative geographical distribution of gig workers on the basis of their earnings, gender and fields of specialisation/occupations. Results for Serbia are disaggregated by region at the NUTS2 and NUTS3 levels, whereas regional information are given at the national level. CENTAR tracks the occupations of Serbian and regional gig workers using the Open Labour Index (OLI) classification, which allows comparison of data between GigmetarTM and global findings. We monitor six main groups of occupations (based on the skill sets of gig workers): software development and IT technology, creative and multimedia, writing and translation, sales and marketing, clerical and data entry, and professional services.


Our research employs web scraping and data mining techniques similar to those used in the construction of the Oxford Internet Institute’s OLI. We also rely on other data sources, such as the findings published by the online platforms, research conducted by global payment operators, and other relevant information. Updated information are presented for bimonthly periods starting with December 2019.

Apart from regular standardised data sets, CENTAR also publishes specialised analyses and research papers based on a large amount of data collected during the construction of GigmetarTM. The first such study, due for publication in early June, will investigate the impact of Covid-19 on the region’s gig workers.



Recommended citation: Anđelković, B., Jakobi, T., Ivanović, V., Kalinić, Z., Bogićević, M., Lundin, S. & Radonjić, Lj. (2020, May, 8). Gigmetar. Public Policy Research Center.