The Online Labour Index (OLI) is the first economic indicator that provides an online gig economy equivalent of conventional labour market statistics. It measures the supply and demand of online freelance labour across countries and occupations by tracking the number of projects and tasks across platforms in real time.
A new version of the Online Labour Index is available at www.onlinelabourobservatory.org. The old version available below is no longer actively maintained.
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Using the Online Labour Index
The visualization above lets you explore the OLI. It shows how the utilization of online labour varies over time and across countries and occupations. The index is normalized so that 100 index points on the y-axis represents the daily average number of new projects in May 2016. For instance, you can see that by September 2016, the utilization of online labour had increased by around nine index points (ie. 9%) from May. Read more about the insights that can be derived from the OLI here and here. View the visualization in a separate window here.
How the Online Labour Index is constructed
The OLI is constructed by tracking all the projects/tasks posted on the five largest English-language online labour platforms, representing at least 70% of the market by traffic. The projects are then classified by occupation and employer country. The results are published as an automatically updated open data set here. Read more about the methodology here.
Online Labour Index worker supplement
Since July 2017, we also track where in the world online gig work gets done, by observing workers active on four major online labour platforms. The visualization below allows you to explore how the supply of different types of work is spread across the globe. Read more about what insights can be derived from the worker data here. Read about the methodology of the worker supplement here. View the visualization in a separate window here.
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Citing the Online Labour Index
The Online Labour Index is produced by Otto Kässi and Vili Lehdonvirta as part of the iLabour project at the Oxford Internet Institute. The visualization is developed in collaboration with Martin Hadley from the University of Oxford Interactive Data Network. The data set and visualization are made available on a CC-BY license. You are free to use them in other publications as long as you credit the authors. Please link back to this page or include the following citation:
Otto Kässi, Vili Lehdonvirta, Online labour index: Measuring the online gig economy for policy and research, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 137, 2018,
Pages 241-248. [open access version]
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