The two-year postdoc position at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM)
is part of a larger consortium of 30 partner organisations, including several industry partners, within SEISMEC (Supporting European Industry Success Maximisation through Empowerment Centred development), a project funded by Horizon Europe. Project overview
SEISMEC, funded by the European Commission in a grant of 10 million euros, is a pioneering interdisciplinary project led by Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)
, in collaboration with a multinational consortium. The project's duration is four years, and it focuses on revolutionising workspaces and empowering workers across major European industries in the post-pandemic era. Research goals and approach
The core objective is to create sustainable, human-centric work environments that integrate new technologies with humanistic practices. SEISMEC aims to:
- Develop insights for enhancing employee well-being and fulfilment within the technological landscape.
- Conduct multiple pilots across various industrial ecosystems within the European Single Market, emphasising human centricity.
- Address challenges posed by advanced workplace technologies.
- Foster innovation through evidence-based recommendations.
SEISMEC aspires to lead European industries towards more people-focused approaches, emphasising the following:
- Worker empowerment and well-being.
- Collaborative innovation between companies and researchers.
- Consideration of the societal impacts of AI advancements.
- Building connections between workers, policymakers and research initiatives.
As our dedicated post-doc in management, you will work on a study that aims to explore and mitigate biases in freelance marketplaces. For the purpose of this study, you are provided with data directly by a prominent European freelance marketplace. Motivation for the study:
Freelance marketplaces, offering remote work opportunities on a task-by-task basis, can be rife with biases, both explicit and implicit. One common bias is based on geographical location, where clients might prefer freelancers from certain countries or regions, while overlooking equally qualified candidates from other areas. Another bias can be related to age or gender, where clients might assume that younger or older freelancers or those of a particular gender are less capable or less experienced. Additionally, biases can be based on the freelancer's portfolio, the client's preconceived notions about the freelancer's abilities, or even the language of the freelancer. These biases can negatively impact the opportunities available to freelancers and limit their potential for success in the marketplace.
The amount of data that is collected by freelance marketplaces presents an opportunity to identify these biases and find ways to mitigate them. This can create an inclusive environment where everyone has an opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background, age, gender, beliefs or location.
This pilot programme aims to develop a model whereby machine learning is used to (1) identify existing biases; and (2) implement a system whereby such biases are mitigated. In particular, by conducting an analysis of click-through rate, reviews, and prediction of the likelihood a certain freelancer will be selected, we can identify where biases lie. For example, previous research pointed out that new freelancers without an established online reputation could find it difficult to get an assignment. One mitigation strategy would be for a marketplace to feature their offline reviews, earned in previous jobs, which could boost their chances of online labour market integration. Key objectives:
- Identify existing biases in freelance marketplaces
- Help freelancers with assignment opportunities by testing ways to mitigate pre-identified biases
- Ensure inclusivity and equal opportunities in freelance marketplaces
Together with a team of researchers, including the industry partner, we expect you to design the study, analyse the data and work towards having the results published in a top-tier business journal.
This post-doctoral project contributes significantly to the SEISMEC initiative to leverage academic expertise to help shape the future of European work environments.