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Crowdworker: That's how much they really earn

Crowdworkers compete for jobs online. Sometimes about highly complex design or programming activities, sometimes about simple micro jobs. Low-wage earners, trainees and students in particular expect the latter to earn easy euros on the side. But is that really the way to make big money? What do crowdworkers earn on average? What is behind crowdworking, what advantages and disadvantages it has ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

What are crowdworkers?

Crowdworkers are usually not employees, but work as freelancers. The specialty of "crowdworking" is that crowdworkers accept bulk orders. Hence the term also derives: English “crowd” means “mass”, “worker” means “worker”. Often it is about collecting a lot of data, writing texts (for websites or online shops) or taking photos of products and how they are presented in a retail store.

Crowd workers often work from home. Often the jobs can be done from your own laptop or smartphone. Some jobs can also be carried out on the go - for example when shopping. Most of the crowdworkers, however, work as designers, copywriters, programmers or generally do “creative jobs”.

Job profile crowdworker: platforms and jobs

The orders for the digital nomads are almost always placed over the Internet. There are now numerous crowdworking platforms for this purpose. The client and contractor must first register there. The best-known providers of crowdworking include:

  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • Clickworker
  • Test IO
  • Streetspotr
  • CrowdGuru
  • Freelancer
  • AppJobber

According to the IG Metall trade union, there are up to 32 such portals today. Clients are often well-known companies such as Rewe, Telekom or Honda.

What do crowdworkers do?

It is not uncommon for these to be micro jobs, pure hard work that, in principle, anyone can do, for example:

  • Collect and research product data
  • Write short texts (reviews, picture descriptions)
  • Check price tags in the supermarket
  • Fill out online questionnaires
  • Type in addresses
  • Make smaller video recordings

The crowdworkers are still a minority among the employees: According to the Federal Ministry of Labor, around one percent of the workforce in Germany are crowdworkers.

The average crowdworker in Germany

The Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) recently carried out a comprehensive study on crowdworking and crowdworkers. The aim was to examine the motives, backgrounds and working conditions of the microjobbers. The analysis was limited to two platforms: one for stationary crowdworking, one for mobile crowdworking. With "mobile crowdworking", the work orders are advertised via the smartphone, the physical mobility of the jobber is assumed. Result of the crowdworker study:

  • Age
    The typical crowdworker is young. The average age is 29 years. Half of them are between 20 and 29 years old. Older people are clearly underrepresented. Only 0.3 percent of crowdworkers are older than 60.
  • gender
    Crowdworkers are predominantly male. A full 65.3 percent of micro-workers are men, 34.7 percent women.
  • marital status
    Most crowdworkers are singles. 75.7 percent of the respondents stated that their family status was “single”. 21.4 percent are married, 2.1 percent divorced and 0.8 percent widowed. And: 26.1 percent live alone.
  • employment
    Those who take on micro jobs on the Internet usually do so to earn money on the side. Around 39 percent of crowdworkers are employed, around 31 percent are still in training or studying. Only eight percent of them are self-employed. Only seven percent said they were unemployed. Another two percent are on parental leave, maternity leave, retirement or early retirement.
  • Graduation
    The level of education of the crowdworkers is comparatively high. 41 percent of those surveyed have a university degree. 28 percent have an apprenticeship or a skilled worker qualification. Almost 95 percent have an intermediate level of education, of which 30 percent have an intermediate level and 65 percent have a high school diploma. Only five percent have a secondary school leaving certificate or are still striving to do so.

If you add up all of the crowdworker's activities, i.e. main occupation and microtasks, around half of them work at least 40 hours a week. One in ten even comes to more than 50 hours. By contrast, 18 percent work less than ten hours a week.

The number of ordersThe average number of jobs that a crowdworker processes is comparatively small: 25 orders within six months. But there are also intensive jobs. Almost five percent completed more than 250 micro-jobs in the half-year, around four percent even more than 500.

What can be earned with crowdworking?

Despite a lot of small jobs and jobs: Only a few earn big money with it. 65 percent of the crowdworkers receive an average net income of 1.99 euros per order. 16 percent stated that they earn three euros or more per order. Most of the crowdworkers surveyed earn a maximum of 4.99 euros per week on the side. Only three percent can look forward to a weekly bonus of 20 euros and more.

However, some jobs do not take longer than five minutes. Others take half an hour or more. Around half of all micro-jobs take between five and 15 minutes from the clock. If you take 1.99 euros per 15 minutes as a basis, the hourly wage reaches halfway the minimum wage. But that is far from a lucrative top extra income. This also applies to crowdworkers who are active on multiple platforms. 68 percent of them generate an average weekly net income of a maximum of 19 euros. Only 14 percent state a weekly income of 50 euros and more.

Average net income ...

per order

  • 0 to 0.99 euros: 35.8 percent
  • 1 to 1.99 euros: 29.4 percent
  • 2 to 2.99 euros: 19.2 percent
  • 3 to 4.99 euros: 13.6 percent
  • from 5 euros: 1.9 percent

per week via one platform

  • Up to EUR 0.50: 5.3 percent
  • EUR 0.50 to EUR 0.99: 7.1 percent
  • 1 to 1.99 euros: 20.8 percent
  • 2 to 4.99 euros: 35.3 percent
  • 5 to 9.99 euros: 19.6 percent
  • 10 to 19.99 euros: 8.5 percent
  • Over 20 euros: 3.3 percent

per week across multiple platforms

  • 0 to 9 euros: 44.0 percent
  • 10 to 19 euros: 24.0 percent
  • 20 to 49 euros: 17.6 percent
  • 50 to 99 euros: 8.0 percent
  • 100 to 499 euros: 5.6 percent
  • Over 500 euros: 0.8 percent

Advantages and disadvantages as a crowdworker

Anyone interested in a job as a crowdworker should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages beforehand.

advantages

  • diversity
    A decisive advantage as a crowdworker is the variety of part-time jobs. To name just a few examples: In addition to research, programming tasks, the collection of geospatial data, creating texts, design tasks, tuition or accounting activities may be required. As a crowdworker, the jobs can be chosen and incorporated into everyday life as a kind of hobby. Those with a broad base have a lot of variety.
  • flexibility
    It is not for nothing that the majority of crowdworkers work part-time - so the rest of the time can be planned flexibly. Suitable for employees who need to care for family members or look after children.
  • practice
    For students and young professionals, working as a crowdworker can be a good opportunity to gain practical experience in the area in which they want to work later. Graduates sometimes have difficulties finding a permanent position without professional experience immediately after graduation. As a student, you can improve your student loan.

disadvantage

  • Merit
    Unfortunately, the fees for micro-jobs are often microscopic. In addition, many orders are difficult to plan. This means that the income per week or month remains incalculable. The only exceptions are complete projects, which, however, are rare.
  • validation
    The majority of crowdworkers are not insured through their employer. In other words: In the event of illness, you have no continued payment of wages. There is no statutory vacation entitlement. No money is paid into the pension scheme and they are not covered by social security. On top of that, they have to land several clients to avoid becoming self-employed.
  • Inconsistency
    The downside of flexibility is the volatility that is reflected in the resume. At least for those who work full-time as crowdworkers. This could be a deterrent for potential employers if they plan to work full-time at some point.

Criticism of the form of employment

For companies, the advantages of crowdworking are clear: Companies can post orders flexibly and as required. At the same time, you save yourself social security contributions. The responsibility is completely outsourced to the crowdworker. He must also provide the necessary technology (laptop or smartphone) and the corresponding programs. Practical: Anyone who has a full-time job elsewhere is then insured through this employer - or through their spouse or family insurance as a student.

For the crowdworkers themselves freedom and independence represent classic advantages. Since crowdworkers compete for jobs with many other digital day laborers, orders and pay are often low. So it happens that many have to accept orders of some kind in order to be able to pay rent or electricity. As long as crowdworking is a nice sideline, the model works fine. As an alternative form of gainful employment, however, jobs rarely pay off.

What other readers have read about it

[Photo credits: Branislav Nenin by Shutterstock.com]
★★★★★ Rating: 4.99 / 5 - 6574 ratings.
December 8, 2020Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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