Digital Labour Platforms in Europe: Numbers, Profiles, and Employment Status of Platform Workers

This report explores three issues related to the growing phenomenon of Digital Labour Platforms: firstly, how to measure platform work as a form of employment incorporating elements such as regularity of provision, time allocated and income generated; on this basis, and drawing on a new dedicated survey (COLLEEM), the article quantifies and categorises platform work into sporadic, secondary and main. Secondly, it provides an empirical investigation of the association between individual characteristics, such as gender, age, family composition, education and motivation, and the probability of carrying out particular types of platform work, such as microtasking, creative services, software development, transportation and so on. The analysis highlights substantial heterogeneity in the attributes and motivations of the workers performing different tasks. Finally, it discusses the employment status of platform workers and provides some descriptive statistics suggesting that a large share of platform workers perceive themselves as employees, even though they are in most cases legally considered selfemployed.

Urzì Brancati, C., Pesole, A., Fernández-Macías, E. (2019), Digital Labour Platforms in Europe: Numbers, Profiles, and Employment Status of Platform Workers, EUR 29810 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2019.


  • professional services
  • Online client-determined specialist work, Online moderately skilled click work, Online platform-determined higher-skilled work, Online platform-determined specialist work
  • EU28
  • 2019
  • Research publication
  • autonomy, flexibility and control, employment status, legal issues, worker characteristics
  • English
  • European Commission (Government)
  • Qualitative research
  • Open access
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