The rise of digital platforms in the last decade around the world is seen in two pieces of information. In 2010 there were 142; 10 years later there are 777, according to the report on this type of companies and their impact on the labor market just published by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Regarding the number of workers they employ – either as salaried employees or as self-employed – it does not offer figures. “Because the platforms practice a policy of non-disclosure of data, it is very difficult to estimate the real volume of workers employed through these platforms,” he says. However, as its general director, Guy Ryder, warned in the presentation of the report, its impact does not remain on these data or on wages, it is also on the work organization itself.
The first conclusion the report reaches World Employment and Social Outlook: The role of digital platforms in transforming the world of work ―In which it only analyzes those in which work is distributed (Uber, Glovo, Deliveroo, Upwork) and does not analyze others such as audiovisuals such as Netflix or HBO― It goes through recognizing that these companies give job opportunities to groups that have more difficulties such as women, young people, the disabled or immigrants. But it also points to risks: “The regularity of work and income, working conditions, social protection, the use of professional skills, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.”
For the ILO, a tripartite organization (unions, employers and governments) dependent on the UN, “the way forward is to start a process of global social dialogue aimed at ensuring that the opportunities presented by digital work platforms are seized, and the challenges they pose are addressed, so that they are in a better position to offer decent work opportunities ”.
From here, the organization that Ryder leads calls for “transparency in accountability, respect for algorithms,” the right to collective bargaining, protection and Social Security for these workers, and “access for platform workers, when they so decide. , to the courts of local jurisdiction ”.
To do the fieldwork, the organization’s researchers have conducted some 12,000 surveys in 100 countries, and 16 platform companies have also been interviewed. In it, it is divided between the companies that provide their services through the Web, and the work and final product can be loaned and provided through it (Upwork, Amazon Mechanical Turk), and location-based platforms (Glovo, Deliveroo, Uber).
The ILO study is global and it also shows the great differences between rich and poor countries. For example, the average earnings of a worker from a developing country is 60% less than one from an advanced economy, “even when they master the basic characteristics and types of tasks they perform,” the report points out, speaking of the first type of platforms.
In addition to the multiplication of platforms in the last decade that the ILO analyzes, there are other data that speak of the recent push and also of where this type of company has taken root more strongly. For example, the report estimates the global revenue of the sector in 2019 at $ 52 billion. Of this, 49% would have been in the United States and 22% in China. Far is Europe, with 11%.
The investment numbers also come to say the same thing: Asia, North America and Europe concentrate 96% of world investment, but the distribution is uneven. 56,000 million dollars are concentrated in the first region; in the second, 46,000 million and in Europe, 12,000.