Survey of Online Workers, March 2015

March 1, 2015

From March 30-31, the SRC conducted a survey of 2,409 people who earn income as online task workers. People who perform remote, computer-based tasks for services such as RapidWorkers, Samasource, and Amazon's Mechanical Turk often work for sub-minimal wages and have little or no recourse if online task employers decide not to pay them. The result, some economists argue, is that these services have the potential to degrade conditions for all workers and may represent a setback in the decades-long struggle for fair labor practices. However, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Internal Revenue Service indicate that the growth of online labor markets has not been as significant or as consequential as some experts have claimed. These data show that while the non-standard labor force (which includes temp workers, part time workers and independent contractors) has indeed grown over time, that growth has been relatively stable and is largely unrelated to rise of the internet. But the validity of these data depends on whether or not people earning money from online work report those earnings when they file their taxes. To address this issue, the survey asks online workers about their work activities and earnings.

Archived Resources:

Survey of Online Workers questionnaire May 2015

Survey of Online Workers dataset May 2015