“Ukraine currently occupies fourth place in the world and first place in Europe when it comes to the number of people working on digital labour platforms, according to pre-pandemic data. App-based work via companies like Uber, Glovo, Rocket and Uklon, or online freelance platforms such as Kabanchik, Freelance and Freelancehunt, as well as outsourced jobs in the IT industry are booming in Ukraine.
This ‘success’ in the global rankings of digital platform and app-based work has been many years in the making. The high informality inherent in Ukraine’s labour market (about 30 per cent of the national labour force, or at least 3.27 million workers are informal) enables the normalisation of precarity – and for the occurrence of workers’ rights violations, many of which disproportionately affect women.
As full-time formal sector jobs and industries declined through the 1990s and into the 2000s, few employment alternatives emerged in Ukraine. The economic crisis of 2014-2015, precipitated by the war with Russia, augmented the issue due to the austerity measures implemented by Ukraine’s government between 2014-2017. Left with no alternatives and limited state support, Ukrainian workers have either been migrating en masse in search of opportunities abroad, or taking the jobs – whichever jobs are available – at home.”