Emerging Platform Work in Europe (Hungary in Cross-country Comparison)

  • Csaba Makó National University of Public Services, Budapest
  • Miklós Illéssy Centre for Social Sciences – Centre of Excellence, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • Saeed Nosratabadi Doctoral School of Management and Business Administration, Szent István University


In this paper, we aimed to assess the main characteristics of a growing form of precarious employment, namely the platform work. These digitally enabled services cover a wide range of activities from personal low or semi-skilled services (e.g. personal transportation) to highly skilled online services such as software development. In our paper, we aimed to characterize the digital platform labor force by their content of the job, working conditions, employment status, and the collective voice. The primary aim of the analysis was to give an overview of theoretical foundations and empirical evidence for an EU supported project on platform workers. Here we presented an overview of the variety of terminology, definitions of platform work, and platform workers and examine the grey zone of labor law regulation in which many of them operate. We assessed the size of platform employment in Europe, indicating the knowledge inequalities within the EU countries and some methodological inconsistencies. As a case study to scrutinize the regulatory challenges accompanying diffusion of platform work, we looked at the failed story of Uber in Hungary and by subsequent success of Bolt which took over the market share of the former. Our findings showed that while the size of the platform economy is growing in Europe, there is no consensus in the social scientific community either on the appropriate terminology or the most convenient methodology on how to measure its extent. This emerging form of employment represents a significant challenge not only for labor law jurisdictions but to the softer forms of social regulation as well. To better understand the proper governance of digital labor markets and the issue of ”collective voice” through the transformation of the content of work, working conditions, and employment status of the Platform Work sector, will be necessary to focus on both the transformation of work/labor as well as its interplay with value creation, governance, management and labor in the platform-based economy.