Postdoctoral Research Fellow (f/m/d)

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

The Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung gGmbH (WZB Berlin Social Science Centre), research group “Globalization, Work and Production” (GAP) seeks to hire a

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (f/m/d)

for an appointment starting as soon as possible until July 2022 (extension possible). The appointment is made at 100% of the regular working hours (currently 39 hours/week).

The research fellow will work for the Fairwork Secretariat at the WZB. The Fairwork Secretariat is a joint project of the Oxford Internet Institute and the WZB, led by professor Mark Graham (University of Oxford) and professor Martin Krzywdzinski (WZB). Fairwork is an action-research project that studies the gig economy in order to develop fairness ratings for digital platforms, that are used as a lever to improve working conditions. It currently operates in Brazil, Bangladesh, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa, and the UK. The primary aims of this position will be to (1) conduct research with platform workers and platform managers about job quality on digital labour platforms; (2) use that research as part of action research strategies to leverage change in the gig economy; (3) play a coordination role with some of the project’s international partners; (4) collaborate on publications and research outputs to disseminate the evaluations of platforms against principles of fair work.

The tasks of the research fellow include in particular:

  • conducting primary research and secondary comprehensive and comparative analysis of data collected in the Fairwork project
  • preparation of research publications, chapters, summaries, and reports
  • collaborating in the preparation and management of grant applications
  • coaching and monitoring the Fairwork research activities abroad, assisting with the supervision of project researchers external to the WZB
  • developing strategies to turn the Fairwork scores into an ethical consumption strategy
  • assisting the Fairwork team in the expansion of the project to further countries
  • outreach and liaising with external partners and stakeholders, in particular also the German development policy makers
  • disseminating findings in the media
  • managing and coordinating the new Fairwork Observatory

The Fairwork Secretariat sits at the nexus of three research clusters in Oxford and Berlin that focus on the future of work. The Oxford Internet Institute is home to over a dozen researchers studying digital transformations and what they mean for work and workers. The WZB GAP group comprises a number of researchers focusing on the digitalization of work, including research on platforms, automation, and artificial intelligence. The work at the Fairwork Secretariat will also involve cooperation with the Berlin-based Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society. The tasks required will involve close cooperation between the Berlin- and Oxford-based teams, including joint research activities, workshops and conferences, as well as publications. There will be regular travel opportunities to facilitate collaboration between the Oxford- and Berlin-based teams, and the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in partner countries.


  • a relevant postgraduate degree in sociology, geography, anthropology, economics, development studies, or related fields
  • strong publication record and familiarity with the existing literature and research related to the gig economy, platform work, the digital economy, decent work, or precarious/temporary work
  • academic or professional experience, experience in the development of research projects and methodologies
  • Experience conducting, analysing, and interpreting interview data
  • excellent communication skills, including the ability to write for publications, present research proposals and results, and represent the research group at meetings
  • Experience coordinating a diverse set of stakeholders
  • Knowledge of issues impacting on precarious and insecure workers, and a demonstrable commitment to working towards the empowerment of workers, and to equality and inclusion
  • Enthusiasm to work in a diverse and international team

Salary for the position: up to EG 14 TVöD Bund (Yearly gross income between 55,000 and 64,000 Euros, depending on qualification and work experience).

The position will be filled subject to funding approval. Applications from equally qualified people living with a disability will be given preference. We value diversity and welcome all applications – regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic or social origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation and identity. The WZB expressly encourages women and people with a migrant background to submit an application.

Candidates are requested the application (cover letter, CV, publications list, certificates/references) by 1 December 2020. Please send your application by email (one pdf-file) to

Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Sonata Cepik, bewerbungen-gap(at)wzb.eu, with “Postdoc Fairwork” in the subject line.