Who Exactly are the Crowd Workers?

Who Exactly are the Crowd Workers?Crowdsourcing is a method that allows organizations to take advantage of self-selected volunteers to accomplish tasks, gather information, or gain new ideas. The end result is not just the work and insight of one person, but of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands.

However, many project managers wonder exactly who these crowd workers are. Because they choose to participate, rather than being chosen by the organization, it’s easy to wonder if crowd workers are truly as qualified to weigh in on the future of your organization. The truth is that crowd workers are far more qualified than you may think.

Who Are Crowd Workers? 

Many project managers who are considering crowdsourcing assume that employed professionals don’t have time to participate in crowdsourcing projects. That assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. Consider these statistics about crowd workers:

  • Most crowd workers – about 66% – are female.
  • Crowd workers are mostly millennials. Over 50% report a birthdate after 1975. When those born from 1970 onward are included, the percentage jumps to 70%. This can be a great asset when you’re looking to focus on gaining millennial customers.
  • Crowd workers are very skilled and generally college educated. More than 50% hold a bachelor’s degree and more than 20% hold a master’s degree. This means the crowd is as educated, if not more so than your employees!
  • Crowd workers live in smaller households. 35% are single with no children, and 55% live in a household of only 1 or 2 people. However, 30% of crowd workers report being married with children.
  • Most crowd workers are employed. This means that crowdsourcing projects are generally a hobby or a second source of income. In fact, 20% earn between $25,000 – $40,000 a year, another 20% earn $40,500 – $60,000, and another 20% earn between $60,000 – $100,000. This can mean that money is a secondary motivator, and that other rewards are more important.

What Motivates the Crowd? 

If most crowd workers already have a job, why exactly do they participate in crowdsourcing projects? Studies find that the most frequently mentioned motives of crowd workers are:

  • Money. Many crowd workers see crowdsourcing projects as a way to use their talents and skills to earn extra money outside their primary job, without the pressure of obligation or regular hours.
  • Skill Improvement. Many times our favorite or most important skills aren’t used daily in our jobs. As a result, crowd workers seek out crowdsourcing projects as a way to learn and hone skills they don’t usually use in daily life.
  • Fun. Many people are simply passionate about what they do. Programmers love to program. Designers love to design. They see crowdsourcing as a great way to do what they enjoy.
  • Altruism. People love to feel that they are giving back. Crowdsourcing projects allow people to contribute to solving important problems and make a difference on a larger scale.
  • Reputation. Crowd workers often love the accolades, awards, and recognition they receive for winning a crowdsourcing contest or submitting a key idea. Gaining recognition is at times much more important to crowd workers than a monetary reward.

Overall, only 15% of crowd workers use crowdsourcing projects as a primary form of income. Most crowd workers are interested in side income, fun, learning, giving back, and reputation.

You may be surprised with what you’ve just read about crowd workers, and it should help boost your confidence in the usefulness of crowdsourcing as a resource. Crowd workers are generally educated, employed, and skillful. They use crowdsourcing to hone their skills, earn extra money, have fun, give back, and gain attention and recognition. As a result, they are sometimes easier to motivate and engage than your own employees.

To learn more about how you can get started with crowdsourcing in your organization, download the Crowdsourcing: An Introduction e-book today!


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