GIG WORKERS IN THE REGION
Gigmetar looks at developments in the gig communities of Serbia and South-Eastern Europe: 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 CENTAR’s research done in February 2021.
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 the latest measurement. The figure below shows the relative ratios between gig workers registered on the three platforms. Relative to the previous two surveys (October 2020 and May 2020), the order of these marketplaces on the leader board remained unchanged. Whilst Upwork remained dominant, with a market share of 39 percent, changes were registered in the relative shares of freelancers from individual countries. Upwork also lost more than 2 percent of market share to Guru, which emerged as the second largest platform in the region, even though it enjoyed only the slimmest of leads over Freelancer.Read more ...
SHARE OF GIG WORKERS BY COUNTRY AS % OF REGIONAL TOTAL
February’s findings revealed 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. The decline registered in October 2020 was halted and reversed, with Serbia recording a slight increase of close to 3 pp. By contrast, Romania, the second-largest country by this measure, saw its share contract slightly by some 1.5 percent after registering large-scale growth from May to October 2020. Even though a large proportion of the gig workforce was still based in Bulgaria, its share continued to decline to 10.4 percent. In general, the relatively limited increases in shares recorded in this measurement by three countries – Serbia, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina – were accompanied by modest contractions in the remaining six.
NUMBER OF GIG WORKERS PER 100,000 POPULATION, BY COUNTRY
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 below shows the relative numbers of gig workers relative to country population. North Macedonia came first, with its freelancer population, according to this measure, greater by 42 pp than second-ranked Serbia. Albania and Montenegro also recorded significant ratios, each with over 100 gig workers per 100,000 inhabitants, even though the workforces in both countries were relatively small. Just how well developed gig work was in North Macedonia was best illustrated by the fact that this country had 9.15 times more platform workers than Hungary, where the figure was lowest at no more than 25 gig workers per 100,000 population.Read more ...
REGIONAL GIG WORKERS BY PROFESSION
The proportions of the overall pool of the region’s gig workers by occupation remained nearly identical to both the May and the October survey. Creative and multimedia and software dev and tech accounted for 61.5 percent of the workforce. By contrast, the two least popular occupations, sales and marketing support and professional services, recorded an aggregate share of 13.7 percent. It seems that the current size of the market and the limited influx of new entrants mean the differences in relative shares between occupations can change only incrementally over time.
A look at the proportion of freelancers in actual employment at the time of the survey in the total gig workforce revealed some interesting differences between occupations. This measure showed creative and multimedia freelancers had access to significantly more work, with those in writing and translation coming second. Read more ...
REGIONAL GIG WORKERS BY COUNTRY AND PROFESSION
In contrast to the balanced regional findings, the shares of individual occupations by country varied greatly. Comparing the relative share of each occupation in the entire region with the corresponding figures for the countries revealed the comparative advantages enjoyed by each. Above-average relative shares for a particular country mean a profession is over-represented there, giving the nation a comparative advantage at the regional level.Read more ...
REGIONAL GIG WORKERS BY GENDER
In this sample, platform work was dominated by men: for every 20 gig workers, 13 were male. This means there has been a slight increase in the share of men, primarily due to the significantly larger proportion of men amongst new entrants. Men accounted for more than one-half of the platform workforce in each of the region’s countries, but some differences were nonetheless apparent. Three countries that had in excess of 40 percent of female freelancers in their workforces in the previous survey – Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia – were found to have much lower shares in February 2021, at some 35 percent on average. Conversely, the gender breakdown of the Bosnia-Herzegovina workforce has remained the least well balanced, with only 1 of every 4 gig workers there being women. In another difference from the previous measurement, Montenegro was the only country where the female freelancer population stood at above 40 percent, although this could well have been caused by a change in methodology, given the tiny number of Montenegro’s gig workers, who number 16 times fewer than Serbia’s and account for just under 2 percent of the total regional gig workforce. Interestingly, the gender structures of the various countries’ workforces have increasingly been converging across the region.Read more ...
HOURLY RATES, IN US$
The hourly rates demanded by gig workers fell slightly, by close to US$ 1, in comparison with October 2020. Conversely, in contrast to both the May 2020 and October 2020 surveys, Croatia was found to have the highest average labour costs, which were greater by as much as 56.8 percent relative to North Macedonia, the country with by far the cheapest labour in the region where hourly rates went down to below 80 percent of the regional average in this survey. Average hourly rates of more than US$ 20 were achieved only in countries of the region that are EU member states, whilst Montenegro had the highest rates of non-EU members of close to US$ 20.
The gender gap in hourly rates remained very pronounced throughout the region, even though the countries exhibited significant differences. Read more ...
HOW GIGMETAR WORKS
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.