Skills for the Planetary Labour Market – Indian Workers in the Platform Economy

15 June 2022



With 560 million internet users, India is the second largest digital market in the world. People between 20 and 39 years of age represent just over half of the country’s internet users. This means that workers located in India may overcome some of the constraints of their local labour markets by using digital labour platforms to take part in a planetary labour market. So, for many of these young internet users, digital labour platforms provide an essential income and much needed opportunity to improve their livelihoods.  

In this Digit Debates talk, Sana Ojanperä discusses her research, using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, which sheds light on how Indian cloudworkers perceive and expand their skills portfolios in relation to their platform work, and unveils how governmental, private and third-sector skills training approaches need to be adapted to meet their needs. It additionally traces how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Indian cloudworkers and the cloudwork landscape. With the COVID-19 crisis in India worsening in recent months, and the concomitant escalation of lockdown measures, this research sheds light on the conditions of a growing sector of the Indian workforce. While these workers may face less health risks than their counterparts in contact-intensive occupations, this research highlights their challenges during this crisis.


Sanna is a quantitative researcher studying the intersection of international development, digitalization, and the role of data. She is currently working on her doctoral thesis at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), University of Oxford. Sanna’s doctoral research is funded by The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and AI, where she also co-convenes the Data and Inequality Interest Group. She also consults as a data scientist for development organizations such as GIZ, World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. 

Before commencing her doctoral studies, Sanna worked as the quantitative research lead in an ERC-funded GeoNet project hosted at the OII, and which studied how new economic practices and processes are taking root in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of changing connectivities. Before joining the OII, she worked with the Digital Engagement team of the World Bank Governance Global Practice and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Strategic Planning and Development Effectiveness Unit. 

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