Right Before Your Eyes, Yet Unnoticed

A Comparison of the Growth of Online Labour in Various Countries in Southeast Europe

  • Branka Andjelkovic
  • Tanja Jakobi
  • Ljubivoje Radonjic
doi: 10.32575/ppb.2024.1.7


This paper focuses on the increasing prominence of digital labour platforms in the labour markets of Southeast Europe, and compares the supply of online labour from nine selected countries: Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria. Digital labour platforms, as an innovative business model, play an important role in today’s labour markets by linking the demand and supply of digital work. Southeast Europe is no exception to this trend, and has become an important supplier of online labour. With the impact of the Covid–19 pandemic, this and other new forms of employment further increased both globally and in Southeast Europe. Despite this trend, online labour often remains invisible and under the radar of national policymakers and regulators, as well as national statistical agencies, due to the globalised nature of online platforms. This paper aims to shed light on the development of online labour in the countries studied, based on publicly available data collected through Gigmetar, a web scraping tool designed to monitor trends on the number, gender, incomes, and occupations of online workers. The paper compares online labour from nine countries active on the most significant general digital labour platforms (Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru) from February 2022 to October 2022. The criteria for the comparison include occupations, gender and income. The analysis is based on the data of approximately 80% of the total number of active digital workers on the platforms under investigation.
The paper points out the similarities and differences in online labour between the countries of Southeast Europe. For example, the number of online workers increased in all the countries, with creative services and multimedia and software development comprising the most dominant occupations in each country. Moreover, men are more commonly represented in these digital markets than women.


digital labour platforms, online labour, labor markets, Southeast Europe, Gigmetar


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