Upwork launches Work Marketplace to challenge old freelancer stereotypes- what is it and what does it mean for freelancers?
Upwork has launched a new industry category – the work marketplace. The move was made to give freelancers and companies multiple ways to ‘Upwork’. But what does that mean?
What is Upwork’s Work Marketplace?
According to Upwork, the work marketplace is a complete “ecosystem” that offers numerous ways for freelancers and companies to connect and work together. For example, today on Upwork companies can post a job and hire on their own via the Talent Marketplace, browse and buy pre-scoped projects on Project Catalog that allow them to quickly accomplish their mission-critical goals. They then can rely on a team of expert Talent Scout recruiters to help them pinpoint the right freelancers faster, and take advantage of the Enterprise Suite of management and compliance tools.
“While others have relegated freelancing to ‘gig’ jobs with weak pay, poor quality work, and a general culture of impermanence, we have always envisioned a better way to work with freelancers at the heart of every business, doing critical work that goes against the old freelancer stereotype and challenges the traditional notions of what makes a workforce and how work gets done,” said Upwork President and CEO Hayden Brown.
“We’re in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime, tectonic shift in how work gets done and there’s no looking back,” said Brown. “We were compelled to introduce the work marketplace because when we spoke to customers, it became really clear to us that traditional staffing firms and ‘gig’ solutions for freelancing are holding back the full potential of this market by perpetuating transactional relationships and commoditizing freelancers… Introducing the work marketplace is just the tip of the iceberg – we know there are years of innovation ahead, starting with the products we have begun launching this year, to fully realize our work marketplace vision.”
A survey conducted in February 2021 of Upwork clients found that 79 per cent of those who increased freelancer hiring said that the increase was permanent. Professionals working as freelancers discovered freelancing empowers them to work on their own terms – giving them more control over when, where, for whom they work, and what they work on.
Freelancing: it’s more than tech
Tech companies aren’t the only ones embracing freelancers. Upwork’s latest research report found that freelance adoption is growing among industries that are commonly assumed to require onsite, in-person work – like manufacturing, agriculture, and mining.
An analysis of Upwork’s 100 largest non-tech clients revealed that they are leveraging freelancers to expand their workforce’s capabilities, using Upwork’s work marketplace to connect with freelancers skilled in categories like web, mobile, and software development. In fact, spend amongst these non-tech clients grew 44.2 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.
“It’s a profound moment when you realize there is a freelancer somewhere in the world who can make whatever you’re dreaming up a reality; it fundamentally changes how you work and makes the impossible possible,” said Kevin Scott, head of technology, PGA of America.
“My epiphany came when I was trying to find someone with a rare combination of skills that were seemingly impossible to find. I looked on Upwork and was able to find the exact person we were looking for. You hear a lot about how statistically the best people in the world don’t work for your organisation – and it never rang true to me until we met that person. We’ve been finding great people on Upwork ever since, which has helped make our team stronger.”
It looks very very expensive to me.