Goal of research
To identify the main characteristics of self-employed workers and market dynamics in the period from 2009 to 2019.
Online survey, quantitative and qualitative sociological methods
Empirical base of research
The empirical base of the study includes quantitative data from four waves of the “Russian Freelance Survey”, conducted according to a common methodology since 2009 at one of the largest Russian-language freelance online marketplaces FL.ru. At the beginning of 2019, the fourth round of the survey was implemented, in which 2410 freelancers took part. The “Russian Freelance Survey” is a unique monitoring study of freelancers and online labor markets which is unprecedented not only in Russia but throughout the world.
Results of research
In 2019, the project explored in detail the geography of the online freelance work, the income of freelancers, the issues of work autonomy and social well-being, especially in connection with non-standard work schedules. The Russian-language online labor market operates across national borders. Freelancers from 39 countries participated in the last wave of the survey. At the same time, the share of Russian citizens in the market is about 75%, and about a quarter of them live in Moscow.
Freelancers are a materially well-off group: their income level is comparable, and in some cases even exceeds the incomes of Russian workers. However, there is a substantial income differentiation among freelancers, in relation to employment status, occupation, skills, work experience etc. The real wages of freelancers over the past few years have not increased. The instability and unpredictability of future incomes are the main problems.
Compared to Russian workers freelancers work much more often in non-standard times, including evenings, nights, weekends and holidays. Non-standard schedules are generally associated with deterioration of the work-life balance. Women, people with a spouse (partner), and freelancers with small children are in a more vulnerable position. As more and more people show interest in self-employment, the task of a balanced assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of freelancing, including the material and subjective well-being of workers, is becoming more relevant.
The project contributes to better understanding of the Russian labor market, helping to make a balanced and empirically based assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of self-employment, including the material and subjective well-being of workers.