Is this the future of work?
Crowdworking is becoming increasingly popular. How the model works and why it could revolutionize the working world.
Germany. A work model that could completely change the working world is gradually spreading: crowdworking. It is part of the platform economy which links up customers and suppliers via the internet. Experts, such as sociologist Martin Krzywdzinski at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB) think: “Even though crowdworking mainly represents a source of additional income at the moment, the social implications of this new form of work need to be taken seriously.”
What is crowdworking?
Companies offer work via internet-based platforms (crowdsourcing). These jobs can be taken on by workers who are registered with the platforms, the crowdworkers. The work may be in the form of microtasks such as text production or data entry, but it could also be more demanding macrotasks, such as programming. One of the leading German platforms is clickworker.de. The company says it already has more than a million active crowdworkers.
What are the pros and cons of crowdworking?
Businesses no longer need employed members of staff. Instead they look for affordable solutions on the internet. And crowdworkers can determine their individual work schedules, where and when they prefer. However, at the moment only a few people can actually make a living this way, and they lack any social security safeguards.
How will things progress?
The Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs looked into crowdworking in November 2017 in a research report and came to the conclusion: “Whilst some people talk about it being a niche phenomenon, others see the already existing potential for a fundamental change in the labour market”. The Science Year 2018 of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research is addressing the topic under the motto “Working life of the future”.