Economics/Class Relations

What it’s like to work at party hostels

January 5, 2023
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“I pay them $2.50 per hour”: Inside the hidden market for “virtual” assistants.


Outsourcing work has long been popular, but the growth of remote work and new technology has allowed the virtual-assistant industry to take off.


For some, the gig — in which they complete tasks for clients remotely — allows them to make bank and work on a flexible schedule. Insider has interviewed plenty of VAs bringing in big bucks with their remote gigs. But others aren’t as lucky.


Some small business owners have tried to cut costs by hiring VAs in developing countries like the Philippines, and paying workers pennies on the dollar compared to their peers in the US and Europe. A 38-year-old in the UK tweeted that she hired two VAs and wrote, “I pay them $2.50 per hour and they take a LOT off my plate.”

But while these entrepreneurs are reaping the benefits of inexpensive VAs to jump-start their businesses, many of the people whose skills they’re profiting from are struggling to get by. One 25-year-old Filipino who works as a VA put it bluntly: “exploitation at its finest.”


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Nathan Wells
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  • Moving to Florida could cost you more overall. Americans are moving to Florida for better weather and lower taxes, but home and rent costs are rising — and wages aren’t keeping up. Here’s the deal.
  • “I work in party hostels all around the world — here’s what it’s like.” Taylor Futch loves the hostel life, even when it means cleaning up drunk guests’ vomit. But the free accommodation and extensive travel (and the all-night pub crawls) make it all worth it. Inside the party-hostel life.
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This edition was curated by Nicholas Carlson, and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Dave Smith, and Nathan Rennolds. Get in touch:

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