CLOSED: Fairwork Pakistan is hiring a Research Consultant

Posted on 30.01.2023
We are hiring!

Invitation to Tender

The Fairwork Project at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford is seeking a research consultant to conduct the Fairwork assessment of digital labour platforms Pakistan and continue our established research in this country. Partners need to be based in the country of study. Towards building a sustainable and fair future of work 2023.

Pakistan Fairwork Research Consultant

This document is intended to inform potential interested parties about what to expect if they take on the role of being a Fairwork research consultant in Pakistan. It details key arrangements we would put in place to facilitate the partnership, the main steps involved in Fairwork research and conducting an annual Fairwork scoring round, what’s involved in formalising the consultancy agreement and the information we seek to help us in the selection process.

This is a call for proposals for with Fairwork, which works to ensure decent work standards for workers on digital platforms. Proposals must be submitted by February 6, 2023, via email to


“Fair Work in the Platform Economy: A Global South Perspective” is an action research project funded by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit). The project is coordinated by Professor Mark Graham at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, with key coordinating partners including Professor Martin Krzywdzinski at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Professor Richard Heeks at the Centre for Development Informatics, University of Manchester.

Fairwork’s main focus is rating digital labour platforms – mainly but not exclusively in the ride-hailing, delivery and domestic work sectors – according to five decent work principles: fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation.  Evidence is gathered from the platforms themselves and from worker interviews, with each platform being awarded a score between 0 and 10 (see examples here).

Fairwork’s action research approach intends not just to understand the platform economy across the world, but to change it. By bringing workers, platforms, scholars, labour researchers and policymakers to the table, we work to collaboratively develop and embed principles of fair work into the script of the platform economy. Fundamental to the project is a commitment to being participatory in our research and non-hierarchical within our communities. Our aim is to understand, and counter, some of the forces that disempower platform workers across the world. We are a transnational network of social justice-minded scholars in pursuit of this planetary goal.

Launched in 2018, the project has so-far produced ratings for more than 200 digital labour platforms (both geographically tethered, and cloudwork), and currently operates in 38 countries on five continents.

Fairwork, at its essence, is a way of imagining a different, and fairer, platform economy than the one we have today. By evaluating platforms against measures of fairness, we hope to not just show what the platform economy is, but also what it can be.


  • Consultants are expected to conduct research following Fairwork methodology into geographically-tethered platforms in Pakistan.
  • Close collaboration is expected between the consultant and Fairwork central team, based at the Oxford Internet Institute and WZB Berlin Social Science Center
  • Project duration will be 1 March 2023 – 31 August 2023, with no possibility of further extensions for this scoring round.
  • Maximum Budget: Proposals should not exceed total of GBP £21,000 for scoring 10 or more platforms, or GBP £15,000 for less than ten platforms.

Deliverables and Performance Measures

We expect the selected consultant to conduct the following as part of the Fairwork Activities in a scoring round:

Fieldwork Phase I 

  • Desk research into platforms and identification of stakeholders
  • Reaching out to platform management and worker associations Organising one stakeholder meeting [including govt officials, worker associations, platforms]
  • Writing 1 Fairwork blog  contribution

Fieldwork Phase II

  • Conducting worker interviews
  • Storing and classifying interview data in Fairwork Drive according to the Fairwork rules
  • Producing 1 multi-media output with Fairwork team management
  • Writing 1 Fairwork blog  contribution
  • Reaching out to worker associations multiple times in line with the Fairwork research process (at the beginning, middle and end of research)

Phase III

  • Analysis of worker interviews
  • Creation of provisional scores and peer review
  • Draft text for Fairwork Pakistan report
  • Reaching out to platform management [share provisional scores with platform management, encourage improvements for higher scores, obtain final evidence]
  • Reaching out to at least 50 organisations for Fairwork Pledge
  • Conceptualising 1 social media campaign with Fairwork central team
  • Working on 1 co-authored publication with regional team and central team (detailed outline, abstract, full draft, or submitted)

Phase IV

  • Writing report
  • Publication of report
  • Preparing on 1 peer reviewed article Documentation of impact and outreach activities

Selection Criteria

  1. A track record of work and/or research related to worker rights in the platform economy.
  2. A demonstrated track record scoring/assessing companies/organisations against objective criteria, and triangulating data from multiple sources (workers, unions, companies, etc.) in order to produce those scores.
  3. A demonstrated concern for and motivation to act on labour rights, working conditions, and/or social/economic justice.
  4. A capacity to undertake: (1) large-scale qualitative field research, (b) negotiation/advocacy with platforms, (c) negotiation/advocacy with government, and (d) negotiation/advocacy with other digital economy stakeholders within Pakistan.
  5. Operational independence as a consultant, and no obvious conflicts of interest that would undermine any of the four points above.

Application Pack

Please provide the following information in your application pack:

  1. A Cover Letter showing how you meet the Selection Criteria and indicating your interest and your research plans (max 2 pages)
  2. Please also include a brief plan about the specific roles of the research team.
  3. CV (max 2 pages)
  4. A financial proposal in GBP not exceeding the amount listed in the Call, with clear Justification of Resources
  5. A clear time plan for the research project, showing how and when the project deliverables will be met.
  6. A statement confirming the following: “This proposal is based on the University’s standard terms and conditions of purchase (available here).
  7. The selected consultant will have to accept the University of Oxford’s Consultancy Agreement. See Annex for standard agreement.