Serbia among top three countries in Europe in number of online workers

An increasing number of young, highly educated people in Serbia have found employment in the digital market. It is estimated that, in our region, there are as many as 20,000 workers who earn their income via the Internet.

They mainly provide services in information technology, software and creative industries, namely they create websites, maintain social networks, translate, teach, write …

According to last year’s online work index and the data collated by the World Bank, Serbia is among the top 20 countries in the world judging by the number of online workers. Some studies even show that, along with Ukraine and Romania, Serbia ranks among the top three countries of Europe in terms of the number of people doing digital work.

An average Serbian online worker is a 33-year-old male, living in Belgrade, and earning an average of $ 1,000 a month, according to a recent poll conducted by the Policy Research Centre. In this market, employees find jobs by themselves, usually have no bosses and are not exposed to mobbing. The only thing they sell is their knowledge. On the other hand, they are not eligible for social security, so they have to take care of insurance contributions themselves.

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“There is a lot of talk about digital work while we have little knowledge about the socio-economic position of these workers”, says Jelena Sapic, from the Policy Research Centre.

She adds that most of the clients, i.e. the platform providers for whom online workers work, are located in America, Great Britain and India.

“A quarter of online workers from Serbia work on two or more platforms, and two-thirds of the survey participants have long-term clients”, says Sapic and adds: “Most often they have completed graduate, master or doctoral studies, which is also a trend in the countries of the European Union. A third of the survey participants possess skills in software and technology development, followed by 29 per cent of those who translate and write, while 22 per cent offer creative services and services in multimedia. There is room for this work segment to expand in the future and to include older people, as well as lawyers, doctors, and economists writing specialized content”.

Women generally work in areas traditionally more suited to female workers, that is translating, writing, and lecturing. The main motives for engaging in online work for both men and women are the desire to work better paid jobs and earn extra money because they usually could not find a “regular” job. They value the flexibility and freedom that working online offers.

“I’m about to graduate from the Faculty of Organizational Sciences and I work on a freelancer platform in the creative industry”, says a 23-year-old woman from Belgrade and adds: ”I usually create web sites, and although I was initially doing this job as a hobby, I think it’s going to be my main job. I am worried, however, that the state does not recognize this type of business as lucrative, does not regulate taxes and does not provide support. Since the employer is out of the country, most of us are seen as consultants and freelancers, so we don’t pay social contributions and insurance.”


Additional income was a motive for 28 per cent of the survey participants to engage in online work, and 12 per cent of them could not find another job. The average gross salary of male online workers is $1,000, while female online workers earn $217 dollars a week. Only 8 per cent of women and 11 per cent of men make more than $1,000 a week. The best paid online jobs are those in the IT industry, followed by translation, teaching and writing.

(Vecernje Novosti, 08.10.2018)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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