World Bank Report Highlights Rapid Growth in Online Gig Work Amidst Limited Worker Protections

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According to a recent World Bank report, there is a notable expansion of online gig work on a global scale, with a significant impact in developing nations. This trend is becoming a crucial means of employment, especially for women and young individuals in economically challenged regions where job opportunities are limited.

According to the report’s findings, the worldwide population engaged in online gig work could be as high as 435 million individuals. Furthermore, it highlights a substantial 41% surge in the demand for gig work from 2016 to the first quarter of 2023. 

However, this growth is raising concerns among worker rights advocates who worry about the limited job security and lack of robust employment protections within the gig economy, where individuals move from one job to another with little stability and minimal employment rights.

According to Sharon Block, executive director of Harvard Law School’s Center for Labor and a Just Economy:

“The economic conditions in developing countries are different from the U.S., but one thing that is universal is the importance of developing and prioritizing good jobs — with a basic minimum wage and basic labor standards. There might be different pathways and timelines of getting there, but that’s a universal value.”

The report illustrates the global shortage of social insurance coverage for gig workers. Approximately half of the gig workers surveyed lacked a retirement plan, and alarmingly, 73% of Venezuelan gig workers and 75% of Nigerians had no savings designated for their retirement.


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