In Research Theme 4, we are exploring how the disconnected attempt to reconnect, through public employment services, new types of self-employment and platform work.  Research in this theme is also analysing workers’ responses to building new forms of voice and representation in an international context.

Key areas of investigation are:

  • Can technology empower the unemployed to find work or does it marginalise further?
  • What role can intermediary bodies play within this new digital landscape?
  • How do workers navigate new forms of employment with regards to representing their own interests and workers’ rights?

Related work

Leeds Index of Platform Labour Protest

This project explores the role of digitalisation in shaping working practices and experiences in two firms located in legal and IT services. 

Digitalisation, connectedness and inequalities

This project explores the role of digitalisation in shaping working practices and experiences in two firms located in legal and IT services. 

The Care Necessities: Developing Inclusive Digital Technologies for Scotland’s Post Pandemic Social Care

This Innovation Fund project explored the extent to which the introduction of technological innovation in social care has been characterized by care worker and service user participation in the choice, implementation and evaluation of technology. 

Towards privatised social and employment protections in the platform economy? Evidence from the UK courier sector

Why do digital platforms offer privatised social and employment protection provisions — and with what consequence for platforms and platform governance, workers, and regulators?

Digital Connections and Inclusion in Brighton and Hove: A response to the COVID pandemic

This related project investigates how existing inequalities were amplified by the digitisation of job seeking and access to benefits during COVID-19. Funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (University of Sussex).

EUROSHIP: Closing gaps in social citizenship. New tools to foster social resilience in Europe

This related project provides a new, gender-sensitive, comparative knowledge about the effectiveness of changing social protection policies targeted at reducing poverty and social exclusion in Europe. Funded by European Commission Horizon 2020 programme H2020– SC6 – GOVERNANCE FOR THE FUTURE.

Measuring digital exclusion: Why what is counted is also what counts

29 March 2022

This data commentary offers a critical review of the evidence currently available to understand the nature of digital exclusion in the UK.

Online but still falling behind: measuring barriers to internet use ‘after access’

Kevin Hernandez and Becky Faith (2023), Internet Policy Review

Gender Inequalities in Digital India: A survey on digital literacy, access, and use

Islam, A. and Manchanda, P. (2023), Digit Working Paper No. 5

Digital Poverty in the UK

Becky Faith, Kevin Hernandez and James Beecher (2022), British Academy Report

Digital Poverty in the UK

Faith, B., Hernandez, K. and Beecher, J. (2022), IDS Policy Briefing 202, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies

Theorising labour unrest and trade unionism in the platform economy

Joyce, S., Stuart, M. and Forde, C. (2022), New Technology, Work and Employment

Promoting the creation of an inclusive workplace

Christine Grant (2022) Open Access Government

A global analysis of worker protest in digital labour platforms

Bessa, I., Joyce, S., Neumann, D., Stuart, M., Trappmann, V. and Umney, C. (2022) International Labour Organization

Digitalised management, control and resistance in platform work: a labour process analysis

Joyce, S. and Stuart, M. (2021), Chapter 7 in Work and Labour Relations in Global Platform Capitalism, ILERA

Global Labour Unrest on Platforms: The case of food delivery workers

Trappmann, V., Bessa, I., Joyce, S., Neumann, D., Stuart, M. and Umney, C. (2020) Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

A global struggle: worker protest in the platform economy

Joyce, S., Neumann, D., Trappmann, V., and Umney, C. (2020), European Trade Union Institute Policy Brief

Digital Presenteeism: The Pressure to be seen in the Virtual Office

21 February 2023

Laura Jarvis-King on how office workers, who once took care to be seen at their desks, are now adopting new forms of ‘digital’ presenteeism to signal their constant availability.

Mapping protest in platform work: Introducing the new Leeds Index of Platform Worker Protest

19 January 2023

The Leeds Index tracks where protests takes place, against which companies and over what grievances. 

The platform economy discussion at the ILO: first a failure, now a future?

29 November 2022

Huw Thomas on efforts to secure an international labour standard for platform work.

Digital levelling up: starting early to tackle digital poverty

28 November 2022

Becky Faith and Emma Daniel look at barriers to digital levelling up in Sussex.

There is a robot doing my job! Am I doomed?

15 September 2022

What happened to the revolutionary retail model of unmanned supermarkets introduced by Chinese tech giant Alibaba?

Contested delivery platforms in Argentina: what do platform workers want?

20 July 2022

In South America, “health and safety” is one of the main demands in platform labour protests.

Remote for All: Time to Include People with Disability and/or Neurodiversity in the Remote Working Discussion

21 June 2022

Remote working seems to offer a means to increase inclusion for workers with neurodiversity and/or disability, however, employers, line managers and colleagues may lack awareness, knowledge and understanding of the reasonable adjustments that are needed.

Researching AI video interviews from a human perspective

7 June 2022

How are AVIs perceived by young job-seekers and do they contribute to an extra level of anxiety within the job seeking process?

“Will you give us a phone if we do this survey?” Surveying digital gaps through digital means

20 April 2022

How should research methodologies be adapted to engage and reward participants with digital access restrictions?

Barriers to Employment Service digitalisation?

16 March 2022

What factors are influencing the adoption of digital tools by employment services and do they overcome, or replicate, existing challenges for users?

“We organise in under ten minutes”: Rise of Germany’s wildcat strikers

1 February 2022

How a grassroots collective of delivery riders is challenging the German unicorn e-commerce company, Gorillas

Coworking in the country: sign of a healthy rural economy?

6 December 2021

Can new models of hybrid-working act as a catalyst for the expansion of rural coworking spaces?

Digital Levelling Up in Sussex

2 November 2022

Dr Becky Faith asks who is being left behind by the digital transformation and how can we imagine a more inclusive digital future for Sussex? 

How fixing the digital divide will help the country level up

30 March 2022

What do you need to cross the divide as an individual and what would a digitally included nation really deliver us?

Amazon still seems hell bent on turning workers into robots – here’s a better way forward – David Spencer in the Conversation

13 March 2023

Professor David Spencer has written a new article for The Conversation about ongoing strikes by Amazon workers protesting about pay, long hours and surveillance systems.

Digit team collaborate on launch of Gigpedia

1 March 2023

Digit researchers are collaborating on a new central hub that will collate available information on the gig economy worldwide.

Call for papers: Summer School on digital transformation and its impact on workers

23 February 2023

WZB Berlin Social Science Center and the Digital Futures at Work Research Centre are holding a Summer School in Berlin on 18th and 19th May 2023.  

Parliamentary Office for Science & Technology cites Digit-funded research

16 January 2023

Research into the remote e-working experiences of Disabled and Neurodivergent Workers, supported by Digit's Innovation Fund, has been cited in a new briefing from the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology.

House of Lords Committee cites Digit associate fellow’s evidence

25 November 2022

The written evidence was submitted for the inquiry 'Designing a public workforce fit for the future'.

Digit researchers’ findings on labour protests during the pandemic published by ILO

25 November 2022

The report documents protests by key workers in healthcare and retail against their working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digit researchers’ report on digital poverty features in new British Academy evidence hub

24 November 2022

The report has been published by the British Academy and features in a new evidence hub on Technology and Inequality.

Digit researchers’ policy brief on Digital Poverty

13 September 2022

A new policy brief by Digit researchers highlights that 1 in 10 of England’s poorest households (9 percent) reduce spending on food or clothes to afford phone or home internet.

New ILO paper by Digit researchers on platform labour protest

28 June 2022

A new paper by Digit researchers, published by the International Labour Organization, "A global analysis of worker protest in digital labour platforms", aims to develop an understanding of labour unrest among platform workers as a global phenomenon.

The crisis of digital exclusion in hyper connected times

17 December 2020

Digit Research Fellows Becky Faith and Kevin Hernandez have written a blog which looks at the current crisis of digital exclusion in hyper connected times.

ETUI Policy Brief

5 March 2020

This policy brief sets out the first findings of the Leeds Index on worker protest in the platform economy.