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The report calls attention to a striking discrepancy between the attention paid to crowd-working in the media and in political circles and the actual spread of this form of work. In fact, online work assignments have been done only by 1 to 4% of the entire working population, mainly younger people. They often use crowd-working as a transition from the end of their education to the start of their careers. Critics attack platform work for the precariousness of employment, wage dumping and a lack of social security provision, among other things. But there are also positives , according to the analysis of the IZA, such as the preference of those employed for digital forms of work not tied to a specific location. “An increasing shortage of qualified personnel could also mean that the demand among companies for platform-based access to qualified crowd workers increases”, the IZA continues.

But industry is focusing not only on the labor market. Crowd-working can be effective in this context, especially since many sectors are already complaining of a shortage of labor. There are often limits to this in practice, however, because of the specific expertise that is frequently required. Digital platforms, by means of which transaction costs can be reduced or new business models introduced, promise greater success. More information about this can be found in the study “The platform economy in mechanical engineering” published at last year’s HANOVER TRADE FAIR by the VDMA industry association, the consultancy company Roland Berger and Deutsche Messe.