LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

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Online freelancing & microwork

Online freelancing small and simple jobs distributed through online platforms to workers for greater cost efficiencies across geographic boundaries. Typical “jobs” that are outsourced through platforms include graphic design, data entry, proofreading, translation, copyediting, market research, programming, data verification etc. Online freelancing is growing rapidly and gaining popularity within younger generation in Sri Lanka as it providing avenues to make extra income with ones skills and knowledge while being at home.

The extent to which the online freelancing /Microwork can lead to inclusive growth benefiting under-employed youth, women and previously-excluded person are largely explored. Growing momentum of online freelancing and microwork has a significant positive socio-economic impact not only on the life of the urban upper- and middle-classes but also on that of the poor and rural areas. Understanding the enabling factors and challenges in adopting to work on online freelancing and microwork platforms are largely un studied .

Therefore, objective of this study is to uncover,

  1. What are opportunities for under-employed youth, women and previously-excluded persons to participate in freelancing / microwork platforms?
  2. Understanding the enabling factors and challenges and how the successful initiatives mitigated these challenges.

To answer this, the research team conducted a series of field experiments involving nationwide baseline survey and multiple focus group discussions covering potential and current workers on online platforms.

Nationwide Survey

LIRNEasia conducted baseline survey among 16-40 years old Sri Lankans to understand the incidence of online freelancing and their willing to work on such jobs. It included 5377 respondents covering all 25 districts of the country and fieldwork was carried out in November 2015 – January 2016. In addition surveys were conducted with current and potential freelancers

Survey with Freelancer & Potential Worker 

Another quantitative survey was conducted with online freelancers at a freelancer meet up organized by Dialog Ezcash. In addition survey with potential workers was conducted with who have skills and following computer training courses at various location of the country.

Focus Group Discussions with current & potential online freelancers 

The qualitative research was designed to understand people’s perceptions and attitudes towards online Freelancing. several focus group discussions (FGD) and  in-depth interview (IDI) were carried out in the three population centers: Colombo Jaffna and Matara.

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