Gigmeter looks at trends in the gig communities of Serbia and South-Eastern Europe, including Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Croatia. This index seeks to identify the structural aspects of the gig labour market and the similarities and differences between the region’s gig workers, as well as to reveal trends and evolving changes. Below are the findings of Gigmeter monitoring for October 2020.


Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru led the field in South-Eastern Europe by number of registered gig workers, together exceeding 100,000 freelancers from the region in October. The figure below shows the ratios between gig workers registered on the three platforms. Relative to the previous measurement in May, Upwork recorded a significant relative increase in its registered gig workforce over other platforms. Upwork has remained the most popular gig marketplace in five countries, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania, and, between May and October, also emerged as the top freelancing platform in Croatia and Bulgaria. Upwork’s regional dominance was underscored by the fact that it boasted over 50 percent of the total active gig workforce in three countries (North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania), and more than 40 percent in another four (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Bulgaria). Upwork was only barely beaten into second place in Romania by Freelancer, whilst in Hungary the largest proportion of the gig workforce was active on Guru, which was nevertheless ahead of Upwork by the slimmest of margins.Read more ...

Interestingly, relative to the previous survey, Upwork has recorded a huge increase in workers based in Croatia, North Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro, with smaller growth coming from Romania and Hungary. Guru saw modest growth only in Serbia (at 2.17 percent), whereas Freelancer’s share rose appreciably only in Bosnia-Herzegovina (by more than 20 percent). This suggests the market was moving towards greater concentration on Upwork, even though the other two platforms were still going strong.

Two factors may have affected the precision of these forecasts but did not impact the validity of the conclusions about key trends. Firstly, there has been a change to the methodology of how gig workers are presented on the various platforms, and, secondly, the same gig workers may have had multiple profiles on different platforms. The latter issue is more significant, since platforms have an interest in presenting only active workers available to potential employers, and therefore update their gig worker databases fairly regularly. As such, even though some workers have profiles open on more than one platform, this does not affect estimates of the actually available workforce, since all those workers are active. That being said, duplicate or multiple profiles have a bearing on how accurately the true number of gig workers in the region can be estimated.

To assess the structural characteristics of the gig labour market, Gigmeter looked at the most commonly used platform in seven of the region’s nine countries, which also had a major presence in the remaining two.


To control for the differences in size between the countries, the gig workforce was observed in both absolute and relative terms. Romania was home to the most gig workers in absolute terms across all platforms, which was only to be expected given the size of the country’s overall population. In relative terms, North Macedonia had the greatest share of freelancers per 100,000 population. Finally, a mix of both absolute and relative observations revealed Serbia was ranked best, as it came second in both measurements.Read more ...

Looking at the dominant platform (which accounted for more than 41.1 percent of all gig workers), October registered some changes relative to the May survey. These were to some extent caused by adjustments to the monitoring and measurement methodology as pointed earlier.
October’s findings revealed that Serbia remained the country with the largest gig workforce in the sample, being home to some one-quarter of all of the region’s freelancers. Nevertheless, the country’s advantage fell by 12.3 percentage points, from 36.4 in May to 21.4 percent in October. By contrast, over the preceding six months Romania doubled its relative share to 21.15 percent of all regional gig workers active on the platform. Even though a large proportion of the gig workforce was still based in Bulgaria, its share declined to 11.44 percent. In general, the major fall in relative shares recorded by Serbia, to a larger extent, and, less prominently, Bulgaria, can be attributed primarily to the very high pace of gig workforce growth in Romania, as well as by the more moderate increase in gig workers in all other countries.


To ensure a fair assessment of the state of the gig market and eliminate the impact of large differences in size between the countries observed, the figure shows the relative numbers of gig workers relative to country population. The latest findings indicate that Serbia fell into second place in comparison with May, with North Macedonia coming first. Hungary has the fewest gig workers per 100,000 population: according to this criterion its freelancer community is 8.5 times smaller than that of first-ranked North Macedonia.


The proportions of the overall pool of the region’s gig workers by occupation remained nearly identical to the May survey. Creative and multimedia services and software development and tech accounted for over 60 percent of the workforce, whilst the aggregate share of gig workers in sales and marketing support stood at only slightly above 10 percent. In this sample, the Serbian gig labour market presented a picture of the entire region in miniature, as the regional percentages of freelancers in the various occupations corresponded to those seen in the country. Tellingly, workers in creative and multimedia services outnumbered those in professional services by a factor of nearly 9.


In contrast to the average regional values, the shares of individual professions by country varied greatly. Comparing the relative share of each profession in the entire region with the corresponding figures for the countries revealed the comparative advantages enjoyed by each. Here, Albanian gig workers were not only over-represented relative to the regional average in professional services, sales and marketing support, and software development and tech, but the relative shares of freelancers based in Albania in all these three professions exceeded those of all other countries. Read more ...

For instance, Albania had double the share of the workers in the professional services occupation than the regional average. In addition, most of Albania’s gig workers were active in software development and tech. By contrast, creative and multimedia services were the dominant occupation in all other countries save Hungary, whose gig workers dominated writing and translation. Except in this occupation, Hungarian freelancers also enjoyed a slight advantage in professional services (1.5 percent above regional average) and clerical and data entry (0.6 percent). Online workers in Bosnia-Herzegovina were somewhat over-represented in creative and multimedia services (by 2.4 percent relative to the regional average) and software development and tech (where the difference was somewhat more pronounced at 6.4 percent). Bulgarian freelancers were more numerous than the regional average in as many as four occupations, namely professional services (by 0.7 percent), creative and multimedia services (1.4 percent), sales and marketing support (2.3 percent) and software development and tech (0.2 percent). In Montenegro, the region’s smallest country by population, gig workers were active mainly in the two most lucrative occupations, professional services (by 2.2 percent) and software development and tech (5.2 percent). Croatian freelancers were over-represented software development and tech (4.5 percent) and writing and translation (4.3 percent). Even though Romania’s gig workforce was the largest overall on all platforms, and the second largest on the platform specifically examined by Gigmeter, the country lacked any tangible comparative advantages. Romanian remote freelancers were slightly over-represented in professional services (by 1.1 percent), software development and tech (4.5 percent), and writing and translation (2.1 percent). North Macedonian gig workers enjoyed a substantial advantage in clerical and data entry (at nearly double the regional average) and creative and multimedia services (with a share of 44.1 percent against regional average of 37.6%), and a moderate one in sales and marketing support (0.5 percent more than the average for the region). Lastly, Serbian freelancers tended to specialise in clerical and data entry (at 2.9 percent above average) and creative and multimedia services (5.1 percent).

The differences in comparative advantages revealed diverging trends in gig workforce development across the region and the extent of specialisation in particular markets. A look at both the presence and magnitude of these comparative advantages revealed that the Albanian gig labour market was rather highly specialised in the regional context (in the areas of professional services, sales and marketing support, and software dev and tech), with Montenegro, Croatia, and Serbia showing the least specialisation or the greatest resemblance to trends in the regional market as a whole. By contrast, if specialisation is viewed as the number of occupations in which a country’s national share in the total gig workforce exceeds regional values, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia are seen to enjoy comparative advantages in two occupations, Albania, Hungary, Romania and North Macedonia in three, and Bulgaria in as many as four occupations.


In this sample, platform work was dominated by men: slightly over 6 in 10 of all gig workers were male. Men accounted for more than one-half of the platform workforce in each of the region’s countries, but some differences were nonetheless apparent. In contrast to the May survey, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia exhibited more balance in October, with over 40 percent of all freelancers being women, whilst the opposite was found in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the gender breakdown remained heavily weighted in favour of men, who accounted for three-quarters of all gig workers. To some extent, these findings reflect changes to the methodology as well.Read more ...

It is also worthwhile to examine the occupations in which the latest measurement found women accounted for the majority of the workforce. In Albania, most women from the sample were active in software development and tech; in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, and Serbia they were in the majority in creative and multimedia services; and in Hungary and Romania their principal occupation was writing and translation. Conversely, in Albania the fewest women gig workers were employed in writing and translation; in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia they were the least represented in professional services; and in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, and Macedonia women had the smallest presence in software development and tech.Findings about the male gig worker population are also instructive. As with women, in Albania the commonest occupation for men was software development and tech, which was also the top profession for men in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia, Hungary, and Romania. Most men chose creative and multimedia services in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Serbia. Conversely, in Albania men were the least numerous in writing and translation. The fewest male gig workers opted for professional services in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Macedonia, and Serbia, whilst in Hungary the least common gig occupation for men was sales and marketing support. Montenegro was distinctive for recording three professions with the lowest shares of men due to its small overall gig workforce: these were professional services, clerical and data entry and sales and marketing support.


Tellingly, the average hourly rate continued its (modest) upward trend, rising by 1.6 percent in October relative to May. As in the May measurement, the rates demanded were generally highest in European Union member states, with the notable exception of Montenegro: Croatia came first, with Montenegro second, followed by Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. The Macedonian gig worker pool remained the most competitive, as the prices demanded by these workers stood at 63.1 percent of the average hourly rate in Croatia, or 80.2 percent of the regional average. Albania, Serbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina were all also below the regional average (of US$ 21.03).

Not only were men more numerous, but they also demanded higher hourly rates than women. Read more ... Significant variations were recorded between countries. Montenegro’s ratio was the least favourable and deteriorated since the May measurement: there, women demanded on average as little as 56 percent of the men’s hourly rate. Apart from Montenegro, the gender pay gap was also very wide in Croatia, where the hourly rate demanded by men was greater by 34 percent than that of women. In contrast to May’s survey, when Bosnia-Herzegovina had seen the narrowest gap (as the hourly rate requested by women was 83.9 percent of that for men), in October the smallest difference was recorded in Bulgaria (with women’s rates equalling 92.5 percent of those demanded by men). The pandemic seems to have caused a slump in women’s incomes: in October, female gig workers demanded hourly rates lower by 23.76 percent than those requested by men, widening the pay gap by 3.6 percentage points relative to May.


Recommended citation: Anđelković, B., Jakobi, T., Ivanović, V., Kalinić, Z. & Radonjić, Lj. (2020). Gigmetar Region, October 2020, Public Policy Research Center,



GigmetarTM is the first instrument that describes the geography of digital work in Serbia and the region in terms of gender, income, and most common occupations. It is a result of the efforts made by the Public Policy Research Centre (CENTAR) to shed more light on the work on online platforms.


The Public Policy Research Centre (CENTAR) is a team of innovative researchers and digital enthusiasts investigating the future of work and development of the digital economy in Serbia and South-East Europe.