How the war is destabilizing the digital gig economy

Ukraine and Russia are key players in the global gig economy, and the war is exposing how much American and European companies rely on them.

The gig economy is one of the clearest examples of globalization, connecting companies with qualified workers around the world.

Many of those contractors live in Ukraine and Russia.

A 2017 University of Oxford study found Ukraine and Russia represent the 7th and 12th largest global suppliers of digital gig work, respectively -– meaning it’s a tumultuous time for gig workers and the companies that hire them.

So what’s going on?

In Russia, tens of thousands of gig workers have been barred from platforms like Upwork due to economic sanctions against the country.

In Ukraine, many gig workers are still working, but others have had to push deadlines and put projects on pause.

American companies…

… use gig work platforms — like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com — to find highly skilled talent in fields including software development, graphic design, and video editing.

Per Wired, countries like Ukraine and Russia have attracted American and European companies because workers tend to be:

  • Well-educated
  • Tech savvy
  • Willing to work for lower wages than their American and Western European counterparts

Continued conflict could lead to further destabilization, exposing just how much these companies and workers rely on each other.

BTW: If you’re interested in supporting Ukrainian gig workers, Upwork is allowing direct donations through its platform.

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