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 and Herzegovina, and Croatia. This index seeks to identify the structural aspects of the gig labour market and the similarities and differences between the gig workers in the region, as well as to identify trends and evolving changes. The most recent measurement (August 2021) indicates that the gig workers market in the region is stagnating following the strong expansion recorded in the previous years – the number of gig workers is slightly decreasing because the population of the registered gig workers declined by 2.15 percent.
The leading global platforms in South-Eastern Europe by number of registered gig workers are Upwork, Freelancer and Guru, where the most recent measurement registered 104,988 freelancers in the nine countries in the region. While the previous measurements did not show significant changes with respect to share of the three leading platforms, the most recent one shows a change of order thereof. Namely, the number of active gig workers on Freelancer decreased by almost one-fifth (17.1 percent). This is probably the result of several factors: changes of the methodology by which the platforms show active gig workers, as well as the potentially lesser activity of Freelancer relative to the other platforms. As opposed to the previous measurement where Guru recorded a more significant increase, this time it was barely noticeable (0.6 percent), with the dominant platform in this part of Europe – Upwork – additionally solidifying its position. The increase of active freelancers on Upwork was significant in absolute and relative terms – almost 3,000 new freelancers and the 7.1 percent growth relative to the previous measurement. These trends brought about significant changes in the market morphology – at the moment, the share of Upwork on the market is almost 43 percent, Freelancer fell to 25 percent, while Guru represents the second dominant player on the platform market with 32.3 percent. Contrary to the previous measurement, today Guru holds a significantly stronger position relative to Freelancer.Read more ...
SHARE OF GIG WORKERS BY COUNTRY AS % OF REGIONAL TOTAL
The systemic characteristics on the gig labour market related to their geographic dispersion, professions, gender, income and the related distributions are observed relative to the leading platform – by the number of countries (7 of 9), and the total number of gig workers (42.7 percent) alike.
According to the latest measurement results, almost one half of all active gig workers are located on the leading platform (47.64 percent) in two countries in the region – Serbia and Romania. Also, the upward trend of the number of gig workers is accelerated (7.1 percent) relative to February when the increase recorded was only 3 percent. Serbia is the dominant destination of Upwork gig workers: it is the location of more than ¼ of them relative to the total number of active Upwork gig workers in the region.
The trend of increase of the number of gig workers by country relative to the previous measurement should be observed from two aspects: within the countries relative to the previous measurement and as a share of the concrete country relative to the gig worker population in the region. Read more ...
NUMBER OF GIG WORKERS PER 100,000 POPULATION, BY COUNTRY
In order for the comparison of the development of gig market to be as accurate as possible and to neutralize the difference in the size of the countries, the below graph shows the relative number of gig workers as compared to the size of the country i.e., the number of inhabitants. North Macedonia continues to lead with 249 gig workers at 100,000 inhabitants or 87 more than Serbia which comes second with 162 gig workers. The fact that North Macedonia represents a “hotspot“ economy from the aspect of gig work – with the number of gig workers almost ten times higher than in the last ranking Hungary – where there are only 25 gig workers work at 100,000 inhabitants. . A significantly higher share is that of Albania and Montenegro, although the number of gig workers in them is relatively small.
With the exception of Bulgaria and Hungary which stagnate, all the countries record the rise in the number of gig workers as per this criterion. Thus, Bosnia and Herzegovina has 37 gig workers more relative to the previous measurement; Montenegro has 27 more relative to the previous measurement and North Macedonia 19 gig workers more. More modest changes were recorded in Albania (9) and Croatia (8), followed by Romania (2) and Serbia (1), while their number in Hungary remained practically the same.
REGIONAL GIG WORKERS BY PROFESSION
The newest measurement brought the changes related to the distribution of freelancers by certain professions. The relative share of gig workers in the two dominant sectors – creative services and multimedia and software development – dropped by almost 4 percentage points, so they now make just below 58 percent of the total number of gig workers in these two professions. In addition to the drop in these two professions – creative services and multimedia of 1.5 percent and software development for 2.4 percent, the drop of 1.1 percent was also recorded in sales and marketing. On the other hand, there was a slight increase of the share of gig workers in minimum one of the represented areas – professional services by 0,3 percent. A more notable increase of the share was recorded in administrative services and data entry and writing and translation: by 2.1 percent and 2.6 percent respectively. Though relatively small, the size of the changes is not insignificant. Namely, these trends indicate that the online labour market in South-Eastern Europe is becoming more attractive for the population with less sophisticated skills set. The negative aspect of such development is that these professions/skills are less paid, and so the total market value, measured by the total generated income, is lower.
The most recent measurement provided new opportunities to observe the gig workers working on the projects at the time of measurement. Namely, the average employment of gig workers defined as the percentage of gig workers measured relative to the total population working on concrete projects at the time of measurement was 17.9 percent. The highest engagement percent was recorded in Serbia (23.8 percent), with the lowest number of active freelancers at the time of measurement – 10.4 percent – in Albania.Read more ...
REGIONAL GIG WORKERS BY COUNTRY AND PROFESSION
Contrary to the balanced analysis of data at the regional level, distribution of certain occupations by country varies significantly. If one compares the relative share of a given occupation at the level of a concrete country with the regional average, one can identify comparative advantages emerging at the level of certain countries. Higher relative shares at the level of concrete countries compared to the regional average indicate that a concrete profession is more represented in that country whereby it gains a comparative advantage in the regional context. The latest measurement points to the possible dynamic changes when this aspect of gig labour market is taken into account.Read more ...
REGIONAL GIG WORKERS BY GENDER
Men dominate in platform work in our sample: 635 of 1000 are men. Nevertheless, the latest regional measurement shows a 2.1 percent points increase of the share of women, primarily thanks to the higher number of women among the new freelancers. The share of women increased in all the countries except Croatia (-0.5 p.p. relative to the February measurement). Taking into account gender structure per country, significant changes are noticeable. Namely, although men constitute more than a half of the gig population in each of the countries in the region, the percentage of female gig workers in two countries: Albania and Montenegro is still above 40%. Both countries recorded an increase of the number of female gig workers relative to the previous measurement, additionally making them increasingly gender equal against this parameter. A higher share of women relative to the regional overview is also seen in Bulgaria, Hungary and North Macedonia. The latest measurement again shows the most unfavourable gender structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina (only 30.8 percent of gig population are women), but this market recorded the biggest progress relative to the previous measurement – the number of female gig workers grew by 5.2 percent points. A slight but continuous decrease of differences in gender structure among the countries in the region has been recorded in the most recent measurement. Taking into account gender balance among different occupations, the female gig workers in Albania are most uniformly represented in certain areas. For instance, there are more than 2.5 times female freelancers doing clerical and data entry jobs than in the least populated profession in this country – professional services. The major difference persists in Croatia: almost eight times more female freelancers are in the most populated occupation – writing and translation.Read more ...
HOURLY RATES, IN US$
The demanded average hourly rate remained practically unchanged relative to the previous measurement. While the decrease recorded in February 2021 relative to October 2020 was more pronounced, the latest rate measurement decreased by an average 0.02 cents per hour only. One may conclude that the labour market stabilised, at least with respect to hourly rates. Croatia remains the country with the most expensive work force (24.04$/h), and North Macedonia the country with the cheapest work force (16.05$/h). Hypotethically speaking, if the Croatian freelancer worked 176 hours in August (this is the number of possible work hours in regular employment) and earned an average gig worker income, he earned 1406,24$ more than his colleague in North Macedonia, with the same engagement and the average hourly rate in the latter country.
Differences among countries are evident with respect to the demanded average hourly rate. It exceeds 20$ in the EU Member States only. 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.