Join our Team. We are hiring a Research Officer in South Africa

Posted on 17.09.2020
We are hiring

The Centre for Information Technology and National Development in Africa (CITANDA) at the University of Cape Town is hiring a Research Officer to work for the Fairwork team in South Africa.

This is a fixed-term position, with negotiable remuneration between R600,000-R660,000 per annum, starting as soon as possible until the end of June 2022.

The closing date for applications is 30 September 2020.

About Fairwork 

Fairwork is an action-research project that currently operates in the UK, Germany, South Africa, India, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Egypt, and Bangladesh. We research working conditions in the gig economy, in order to develop ‘fairness ratings’ for digital labour platforms like Uber, Helpling and Deliveroo (see examples here). We use these ratings as a lever to improve pay and conditions for platform workers, through media and consumer pressure.

Fairwork’s programme of action research intends not just to understand 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 gig economy. Fundamental to the project is a commitment to being participatory and non-hierarchical within our communities: we are all—workers, unions, platforms, regulators, academics—the experts, and we all have co-developed this project. Our ultimate aim is to understand, and counter, some of the forces that disempower gig workers across the world.

Over the past three years, we have mobilized a unique and growing transnational network of social justice-minded scholars from over ten countries in pursuit of this planetary goal. In order to effectively advocate for gig workers everywhere, we believe it necessary for our team too to reflect a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and more. In growing our team, we value and welcome the unique contributions that applicants can bring in terms of their education, opinions, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, ethnicity, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin, age, religion, disability, and beliefs. We actively strive to build and nurture a culture of empathy, inclusiveness, and respect.

About the Research Officer

The ideal candidate(s) will have:

  • A PhD in a relevant degree such as information systems, sociology, geography, anthropology, economics, development studies, or related fields;
  • Academic or professional experience, and an established career, related to the gig economy, platform work, the digital economy, decent work, or precarious/temporary work;
  • Proven experience in conducting empirical qualitative research including semi- and unstructured interviews;
  • Ability to manage your own academic research and associated activities;
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to write for publication, present research proposals and results, and represent the research group at meetings; and
  • Experience coordinating a diverse set of stakeholders.

See details of essential and desirable applicant criteria in the full job description.

Structure and Primary Responsibilities

As the successful candidate for the position of Research Officer, you will be based in Cape Town, South Africa. The Centre for Information Technology and National Development in Africa (CITANDA) is housed within the Department of Information Systems (IS) in the Faculty of Commerce of the University of Cape Town.

Reporting to the Principal Investigator (PI), you will act as a researcher of the Fairwork Foundation. The position will involve hands-on field research in South Africa and assisting with the project’s expansion to other parts of the world. Your tasks will include developing fair work standards, research with workers and platforms, organising meetings, outreach, liaising with external partners and stakeholders, disseminating findings in the media, assisting with the supervision of project researchers external to the OII, and assistance keeping the project to some of our key deadlines. The primary responsibilities of this position will be:

  • Doing primary and secondary research and drawing on our existing research to evaluate platform companies against principles of fair work.
  • Having operational responsibility for multiple sub-areas of work within the bigger Fairwork project and giving input to all key decision-making project-wide.
  • Disseminating the ‘fair work’ rating criteria in collaboration with the PI and project team.
  • Regularly liaising with project stakeholders, and supervision of some of the project research team who are external to CITANDA.
  • Preparation and writing of research publications, chapters, summaries and reports.
  • Extensive travel to conduct research, both alone and with partners, to investigate and analyse wider issues shaping platform work in fieldsites.
  • Small scale project management and the coordination of multiple aspects of work to meet deadlines.

See the complete list of responsibilities in the full job description.

Duration and Deadline

This is a fixed-term position starting as soon as possible until the end of June 2022.

The remuneration is negotiable between R600,000-R660,000 per annum.

The closing date for applications is 30 September 2020.


If you have any questions about this role, please email Pitso Tsibolane at