How is the world of online work changing?

When and Where

Thursday, November 01, 2018 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Waters Lounge
Woodsworth College Residence
321 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1S5


As digital realities change the nature of work, concerns about the quality and fidelity of measures that
track trends in the labour market are becoming more widespread. Without confidence in the accuracy of
our measurement tools, we can’t be sure what is changing, and for whom. That makes it difficult to identify
successful policy options that help people develop their potential and deploy their skills.

By unbundling jobs into tasks for both personal consumption and business activities, online platforms can
more easily match demand for labour with supply, potentially from anywhere in the world. How important
is this newly emerging global market of freelance labour as a business strategy, and how fast is it growing?

The Online Labour Index (OLI) is the first attempt to answer these questions with hard statistics. By taking
the daily pulse of projects and tasks performed across platforms, the OLI tracks trends by country and
occupation in real time. Since May 3, 2016, when the index was launched, to October 9, 2018, the use of
online labour across the five most used English-speaking platforms is up by 27%. Canada plays a surprisingly
large role in this global labour market.

Please join Dr. Otto Kässi, creator of the OLI, in conversation with the Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers, Armine Yalnizyan.

Dr. Otto Kässi is a labour economist with a background in econometrics. He has been at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) since 2015. The OII is a multidisciplinary research and teaching department of the University of Oxford, founded in 2001. Dr. Kässi’s research concentrates on empirical study of online labour markets, primarily through the ERC funded project iLabour: The Construction of Labour Markets, Institutions and Movements on the Internet. His pioneering methods developed the Online Labour Index,  the first economic indicator that provides an online gig economy equivalent of conventional labour market statistics.
Dr. Kässi is also affiliated with the OECD as a Future of Work Fellow, where his work focuses on megatrends that are affecting job markets, and the challenges faced by governments in the areas of social protection, skills development and labour market regulation.  
He earned both Master’s and Doctoral Degrees from the University of Helsinki. His studies concentrated on labour economics with a particular emphasis in econometric and statistical methods. Prior to joining OII, Dr. Kässi worked in an online advertising start-up as a data scientist. 

This event is presented by University of Toronto Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources in partnership with the Atkinson Foundation


Contact Information


Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, Atkinson Foundation


321 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1S5