Research Officer – Digital Labour Platforms


January 11, 2024

Job Overview

  • Date Posted
    January 11, 2024
  • Location
  • Expiration date
    January 22, 2024

Job Description

(3 days per week – 1 year contract)

Remote position – Home-Based Location


Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) is a global network focused on securing livelihoods for the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy. We believe all workers should have equal economic opportunities and rights. WIEGO creates change by building capacity among organizations of workers in informal employment, expanding the knowledge base about the informal economy, and influencing local, national and international policies.

Digital labour platforms

Digital labour platforms and the business models behind them are rapidly transforming the world of work in ways that are not yet widely understood. The pace and scale of technology- related change is affecting the labour market in ways that make it a challenge for workers’ organisations — especially those in the informal economy — to formulate effective strategies for defending workers’ rights. At the same time, many workers in informal employment are using digital technologies to access markets, and informal economy workers’ organisations are experimenting with models that enable worker ownership of digital platforms.

The Position

WIEGO is currently seeking a Digital Labour Platform (DLP) Research Officer to coordinate research into the intersection of digital platforms and informal employment in the Global South. The work will entail thought partnership with researchers inside and outside of WIEGO, with the policy community, and with membership-based organisations (MBOs) of workers in the WIEGO Network. The Specialist will synthesise existing research on the ways in which digital labour platforms are changing the world of work in labour markets dominated by self employment, and make that synthesis accessible to WIEGO Network partners. They will also engage with WIEGO Network members to analyse how the forces of job creation and job destruction are affecting the worker groups forming WIEGO’s core constituency.

The DLP Research Officer will be responsible for leading WIEGO’s work on digital platforms over a one year period (early 2024 to early 2025). The primary objective will be to build on existing WIEGO work on digital employment and marketing platforms so as to establish a learning community within the WIEGO Network to inform WIEGO strategy moving forward. If successful, the consultant may be invited to conduct follow-up work to inform preparations for the 2025 International Labour Conference standard-setting discussion on decent work in the platform economy.


Key deliverables will include:

  • A research brief (6-8 pages) and accompanying slide deck synthesising existing research on the ways in which digital platforms are changing the world of work, focusing on research that is most relevant to workers in informal employment in the Global South, especially domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors and market traders, and waste pickers. This may include research documenting new types of work to which those workers are being exposed through digital platforms.
  • A slide deck summarising how multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank, IMF, ILO, the EU governance structures and other key policy makers frame the topic of the “platform economy” and its impact on the development of labour markets.
  • A round of semi-structured online interviews with key stakeholders inside and outside the WIEGO Network exploring how informal economy workers’ organisations are experiencing corporate-owned digital platforms in their work and what alternatives to these models may be.
  • A round of semi-structured online interviews with institutional members and MBO partners that are developing union- or worker-led digital employment or marketing platforms or, failing these, state-led platforms that replace other brokers or intermediaries.
  • A series of targeted semi-structured online interviews with WIEGO individual members and external stakeholders who are engaged in research and policy processes on digital platform employment to inform the above.
  • One field visit to WIEGO Network members to further explore the questions arising from the annotated bibliography and semi-structured interviews with detailed field reports delivered within four weeks.
  • One visit to the International Labour Organization to meet key researchers and policymakers exploring questions on digital platform employment and informality, including the views of the ILO constituencies, with a detailed report delivered within four weeks.
  • A slide deck outlining key wins by workers organisations in the Global South in regulating digital platforms
  • Input to identify WIEGO’s niche in digital employment and marketing platform dynamics and WIEGO’s associated advocacy strategy.
  • Regular meetings with WIEGO’s International Coordinator and/or Research Coordinator.
  • Participation in WIEGO Research Forums and Research Committee meetings.

About You

To be successful for this position you will need the following:

Required Experience and Qualifications:

  • A strong political economy lens informed by postgraduate level coursework in a relevant discipline (i.e. political science, economics, sociology, international relations);
  • Proven track record of working on digital platforms and the world of work (i.e. research and policy reports etc.);
  • A strong understanding of the informal economy in the Global South and preferably a specialised understanding of at least one of the four main worker groups with which WIEGO engages: domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors and market traders, and waste pickers;
  • Knowledge of digital platforms in SE Asia
  • At least 3 years of experience in a research institute, think tank, or NGO with proven skills in research design and qualitative data collection methods;

Skills and Competencies:

  • Excellent communication skills and, in particular, the ability to work collaboratively, inclusively and respectfully with membership-based organisations of workers in informal employment;
  • Strong analytical and organisational skills and the ability to learn quickly
  • An inquisitive nature and the desire and humility to develop questions as well as answers;
  • The ability to work virtually and deploy open communication and active listening skills;
  • Excellent writing skills in English (additional languages are a plus);
  • Experience working within a diverse multilingual, multicultural team.

What we offering

The self-employed consultancy contract is offered on an initial 3-month trial basis (3 days per week, flexible hours) extendable by 9 months to a total one year contract subject to satisfactory performance. Pay is in US Dollars and is dependent on experience, location and the role profile. This will be discussed with the successful candidate. The post-holder will work from home and therefore you will need access to your own computer equipment and a strong Internet connection.

Next Steps

To apply for this position, please submit a resume, a writing sample (in English) and cover letter explaining your motivation and how you fulfil the above requirements to [email protected] by the closing date of 22 January 2024.

WIEGO is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. All applicants are welcome.