In 2015, gross revenue in the EU from digital labour platforms and providers was estimated to be EUR 28 billion. Given the increasing size of the collaborative economy and its potentially disruptive impact on traditional forms of employment, it is important to understand its dynamics as well as the characteristics and experiences of service providers. In 2016, there was a lack of official statistics on employment via digital labour platforms. Consequently, it was difficult to fully assess the potential benefits and challenges posed by this form of employment. One of the intentions voiced in the European agenda for the collaborative economy was the establishment of a monitoring framework that covered both the evolving regulatory environment in MS, and economic and business developments. According to this agenda, periodic surveys of consumers and businesses on the use of the collaborative economy will form part of the monitoring toolset.
PPMI designed and implemented an online panel survey to gather knowledge from EU citizens/service providers participating in activities on digital labour platforms. The survey covered 14 countries in the EU, and collected more than 2,300 responses from each country, yielding an overall total of 32,200 responses. To carry out the project, PPMI had to work in 14 different European languages, ensuring questionnaire translations were culturally and linguistically appropriate. The research team then analysed the data and prepared reports at country and EU level reports that discussed the survey’s main findings.
This study increased understanding of the EU citizens/service providers who work on digital labour platforms, their motivations for using such platforms, the types of work they carry out, and the remuneration they receive from such activities. The survey also aided understanding of the cross-border provision of services and its specificities. It is expected that this project will encourage the adoption of better-informed policies towards the collaborative economy.