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ICT for Employment and Employability -The Future of Work

In the context of the European Employment strategy, the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs, the Grand Coalition for ICT Jobs, and specifically in its 2012 EMPLOYMENT PACK, the JRC-IPTS is conducting research to inform policy makers on some of the new forms of work and pathways to employability mediated by the internet.

This research focuses on internet-mediated work activity: crowd-sourced labour, crowd funding, online volunteering and reciprocal work exchange (time banks). These have been developed over the last 10 years and are now growing in importance.

Key themes include: opportunities for entrepreneurship and self-employment, skills and social inclusion, paid and non-paid work and employment transitions. These trends are of relevance to employment related policy related  temporary work, entrepreneurship and flexible working), skills policy, digital skills and access, SMEs, microfinance, social inclusion and public service delivery. There is considerable public, private and third sector activity in these areas, and many initiatives can be seen as models of social innovation. The result will be a report to policy makers in the fields of employment and social policy, and digital inclusion.

A number of experts have been contracted to provide state of the art reports and original fieldwork:

1. IER, University of Warwick, has been commissioned to conduct a short study addressing the following interrelated research questions:

  • How do internet-enabled models based on exchange, donation of labour or capital operate from both the user and operator perspectives?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges that these services present for employment and employability?

The first phase of the research study consists of a literature review and mapping of crowdsourcing initiatives, which will inform the selection of cases for the second phase. The second phase of the study will comprise six in-depth case studies of services and initiatives in the categories introduced above.

2. Three experts are providing a more general background framework for understanding the trends in the areas under investigation, including a set of original short case studies.

  • Jayne Cravens – established expert on online volunteering, USA
  • David Boyle – Expert on Timebanks and Complementary Currencies, EU
  • Javier Ramos – Expert on employment, ICTs and crowdfunding.

IPTS is providing original analysis of internet-mediated work platforms and crowdsourcing.


Timeline and Events

January 2013:  Project Start

11 June 2013: Project work for invited experts and policy officers, Brussels (see project briefing)


Workshop June 2013


Thematic Reports

  1. Internet-mediated Volunteering in the EU: history, prevalence, approaches and relation to employability and social inclusion. Jayne Cravens. Editor: James Stewart
  2. The potential of time banks to support social inclusion and employability: An investigation of the use of reciprocal volunteering and complementary currencies for social impact. D. Boyle Editor: James Stewart
  3. Crowdfunding and the Role of Managers in Ensuring the Sustainability of Crowdfunding Platforms. Javier Ramos Editor: James Stewart.
  4. From Cloud to Crowd: Online work exchanges for contract and crowdsourced labour (forthcoming)

Synthesis reports

  1. CrowdEmploy Crowdsourcing Case Studies: An Empirical Investigation into the Impact of Crowdsourcing on Employability. Anne Green, Maria de Hoyos, Sally-Anne Barnes, Beate Baldauf and Heike Behle Editor: James Stewart
  2. Exploratory research on Internet-enabled work exchanges and employability: Analysis and synthesis of qualitative evidence on crowdsourcing for work, funding and volunteers. Anne Green, Maria de Hoyos, Sally-Anne Barnes, Beate Baldauf and Heike Behle Editor: James Stewart
  3. ICT for Employment, Future Work Final Report, Four trends in paid and unpaid work: implications for employability (forthcoming)