Online workers get a rough deal

Online contract jobs are now helping millions in the developing world to make a living – but a study has uncovered a subculture of low pay, job insecurity and lack of redress against exploitation.

The “Gig Economy” works via online platforms where small jobs are put out to global tender. Sometimes these are locally delivered activities such as housework, but more common are globally delivered products such as writing or social media work.

Anyone can bid for the job, which is why it has been welcomed by organisations such as the World Bank and the UN Development Programme as a boost to human development and a solution for the tens of millions of people entering the global job market each year.

Now a study of online workers in the developing world has found there are far more people seeking work than there are jobs available, which drives pay downwards. The study, published in January, was presented at the Digital Development…

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