The Invisible Face of Digital Labour in Turkey: Working Conditions, Practices and Expectations
The software sector is a growing industry and has a market share of nearly USD 4–5 billion in Turkey. A qualified and rather young labour force is employed in this sector. This labour, particularly based on knowledge and information, is exposed to new forms of exploitation such as flexible working hours, telecommuting, and working on a temporary project basis. Unremunerated labour is the invisible and typical characteristic of this work model.
In this study, we try to understand working conditions in the software sector from the perspective of employees. In this respect, we conducted 14 in-depth interviews with employees in the software sector in Ankara and İstanbul. The main questions of the research are how employees define their working conditions, and what employees think about forming a union, in digital labour in general where software sector employees place themselves. Employees’ major issues are flexible working hours, temporary projects and working on a project basis. Software industry employees precisely reveal some characteristics for precarity, particularly in terms of its emotional aspects.
Precarious work is a common work form in Turkey since early 2000s. Although the software sector has an educated and qualified workforce in Turkey, the working conditions in the sector feature precarious qualities. This study examines precarious working conditions in the digital labour market for the first time in Turkey.
KeywordsTurkey Information technology Digital labour Working conditions Class Emotions
- Akturan, A., Günsel, A., & Becerikli, M. (2017). Duygusal Emek Kavramı ve Duygusal Emeğin TakımBaşarısı Üzerindeki Etkileri: Bilişim Sektörü Çalışanları Üzerinde Bir Uygulama. Uluslararası Turizm, Ekonomi ve İşletme Bilimleri Dergisi, 1, 34–47.Google Scholar
- Alan, H., & Fidanboy, C. Ö. (2013). Sinizm, Tükenmişlik ve Kişilik Arasındaki İlişkiler: Bilişim Sektörü Çalışanları Kapsamında Bir İnceleme. Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 1(Büro Yönetimi Özel Sayısı): 165–175.Google Scholar
- ÇSGB (Ministry of Labour and Social Security). (2013). Ulusal İstihdam Stratejisi 2013 (Strategy of National Employment). http://www.uis.gov.tr/media/1198/uis_izleme_degerlendirme_raporu138-150.pdf; http://www.uis.gov.tr/media/1198/uis_izleme_degerlendirme_raporu138-150.pdf. Accessed 3 Dec 2018.
- EMO (The Chamber of Electrical Engineers). (2009). EMO Bilişim Çalışanları Anket Sonuçları (EMO Software Sector Survey). http://www.emo.org.tr/ekler/68cab8427ff385d_ek.pdf?dergi=. Accessed 20 Nov 2017.
- Gerbaudo, P. (2017). The Mask and The Flag: Populism, Citizenism and Global Protest. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
- Gill, R. (2009). Technobohemians or the New Cybertariat? Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.Google Scholar
- Hardt, M., & Negri, A. (2004). Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. New York/London: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Hatipoğlu-Aydın, D. (2018). Güvencesiz Adalet: İşçilerin Hukuk Deneyimi Üzerine Bir Temellendirilmiş Kuram Çalışması. İstanbul: On İki Levha Yayıncılık.Google Scholar
- Huws, U. (2003). The Making of a Cybertariat. London: Merlin Press.Google Scholar
- IPSOS. (2017, June). IPSOS Global Youth Survey 2017: Pathways to Progress. https://www.citigroup.com/citi/foundation/data/p2p_global_youth_survey_full_data.pdf. Accessed 15 Feb 2018.
- Lazzarato, M. (1996). Immaterial Labor. In P. Virno & M. Hardt (Eds.), Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics (pp. 133–148). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Ministry of Industry and Trade. (2010). Turkish Industrial Strategy Document 2011–2014. https://www.ab.gov.tr/files/haberler/2011/turkish_industrial_strategy.pdf. Accessed 1 Dec 2018.
- Mishra, A., Azıcı, A., & Çetin, S. (2016). Software Evolution in Turkey. Tecnicki Vjesnik, 23(3), 929–935.Google Scholar
- PricewaterhouseCoopers. (2018). Workforce of the Future: The Competing Forces Shaping 2030, pwc.com, 2017. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/people-organisation/workforce-of-the-future/workforce-of-the-future-the-competing-forces-shaping-2030-pwc.pdf. Accessed 2 Mar 2018.
- Scipes, K. (2011). Understanding the New Labor Movements in the “Third World”: The Emergence of Social Movement Unionism, a New Type of Trade Unionism. Critical Sociology, 19(2), 81–101. (First Published Jul 1, 1992).Google Scholar
- Sennett, R. (2006). The Culture of the New Capitalism. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Standing, G. (2011). The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. London/New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
- Standing, G. (2014). A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens. London/New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
- Stratejik Düşünce Enstitüsü (Institute of Strategic Thinking). (2012). Türkiye’de Yazılım Sektörü (Sofware Sector in Turkey), SDE Analyze Report, Ankara.Google Scholar
- TÜBİSAD (Turkey Informatics Industry Association). (2018). Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) 2017 Market Data Report. http://www.tubisad.org.tr/en//images/pdf/tubisad_2018_ict_market_data_en.pdf. Accessed 3 Dec 2018.
- TÜİK (Turkish Statistical Institute). (2016). Gini Katsayısı AB’de 0.310 oldu (Gini Coefficient 0.310 in EU). http://www.tuik.gov.tr/basinOdasi/haberler/2016_109_20161020.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2018.
- Türkmen, M. (2016). Bilişim Sektöründe Çalışanların Psikososyal Risklerinin Değerlendirilmesi ve E-Devlet Proje Çalışanları Üzerine Bir Uygulama (Evaluation of Worker’s Psychosocial Risk Factors in ICT Sector and An Application for E-Government Project Workers), Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Directorate General of Occupational Health and Safety, Unpublished Thesis for Occupational Health and Safety Expertise, Ankara.Google Scholar