“You are a number, you are an ID, you are a scooter icon that moves around a map. … The app does not know you. The app does not listen to you.”
— "Singh," delivery rider
Published in the journalism non-profit Rest of World in September 2021, the Global Gig Workers was an attempt to capture the lived experiences of people working in the platform economy. Working with the data journalist Youyou Zhou and the mobile survey company Premise, we created a multidimensional survey that was distributed to nearly 5,000 gig workers in 15 countries. We combined this with on-the-ground reporting in more than a dozen places, helping to show commonalities and differences in how platforms and algorithmic management are reshaping the labour force.
The project combined rigorous analysis with shoe-leather reporting, blending data with personal narratives from across the world.
We used the data from the project to direct further reporting, examining the roots of gender inequality in the platform economy, and how the economics of venture capital have driven the evolution of gig work.
We also worked with seven reporters in Asia, Africa and Latin America to source first-person experiences of the gig economy, framed around a simple core metric that encapsulates how they view their working day.
The project won in the Excellence in Technology Reporting category at the 2022 Society of Publishers in Asia awards, and was longlisted for the One World Media awards.