AI Ethics: How Fair Pay Benefits Our Crowd Contributors

Paying Our Contributors Fairly, One Project at a Time

We’re in the data business. Crucial components in the AI lifecycle are data sourcing and data preparation–collecting, cleaning, and labeling data. We create datasets for companies all over the world and we couldn’t do it without the support of our global Crowd. Our contributors are the people who collect and label data, making AI and machine-learning solutions possible. That’s why we have established programs like our code of ethics and fair pay, to ensure our data is sourced and managed fairly. As part of our company’s promise to deliver ethical AI, we’ve established, what we call, our Crowd Code of Ethics. We consider ourselves partners with our contributors and we use our code to outline what we ask of them as well as our commitment to their well-being. Taking care of each other enables us to deliver the highest-quality data possible.

Crowd Code of Ethics

Our crowd code of ethics includes promises from us to our contributors and is is based on years of experience working with contributors across the globe, creating high-quality AI training datasets. As part of this work, we realized that taking care of our contributors’ well-being correlated with improved output. In light of that, we wrote our crowd code of ethics. In our code of ethics, we include aspects of fair pay, inclusion and representation, crowd voice, privacy and confidentiality, communication, and overall well being.

Fair Pay

At Appen, contributor pay is based on their local marketplace. No matter where an Appen contributor is located, we pay above minimum wage. With more than 1 million contributors in over 130 countries around the world, we make sure that each contributor is paid fairly.


One of the magic qualities of data annotation is that the work is accessible to people of diverse backgrounds and abilities. Our contributors complete a simple test and application prior to working on a project. This allows people with diverse backgrounds to work with Appen and be represented within AI data.

Crowd Voice

One of our beliefs at Appen is that there’s always room for improvement. We provide opportunities throughout the work process for contributors to provide feedback to our Crowd Care team and to ask questions when they arise. At 1 million strong, our contributors have a loud voice that’s weighed and valued when Appen makes company decisions.

Privacy and Confidentiality

As a company dealing with data, privacy and confidentiality are top of our list of concerns. Our crowd works with collected data as well as provides data for future datasets. As such, their privacy is of our utmost concern. We take precautions to protect crowd data and do not release private data on individuals to third parties without consent.


Our line of communication with our crowd is open. We believe in helpful, transparent, and responsive communication, which is what we strive to provide our contributors at all times.


The overarching principle of our crowd code of ethics is maintaining the wellness of our contributors. We promote well-being and community through online forums and best practices guides. Our Crowd Care team works to ensure our adherence to this code of ethics while also providing learning opportunities.

Fair Pay in Action

While a code of ethics starts as just words on a page, we try to turn those words into action at every step. One way we’ve done that is through fair pay. By paying above minimum wage in every market where we hire contributors, we’ve been able to provide thousands of people with high quality, well-paying work. According to our November 2021 survey, 16% of our contributors were living under the global poverty line. As of today, 77% of those contributors are living above the global poverty line since beginning to work with Appen. Fair pay in action looks like workers getting fair pay for high-quality, flexible work. Our contributors apply for the projects that interest them, work when it’s convenient for their schedule, and work from anywhere with WiFi access. Our code of ethics isn’t just words, it’s action.
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