Sunday, June 02, 2013

Online talent exchanges offer developing country individuals and SMEs a new opportunity

There is an interesting article in The Economist on Internet based work marketplaces. The article is titled "Online labour exchanges: The workforce in the cloud".
Last year the value of this sort of online work topped $1 billion for the first time; it will double to $2 billion in 2014, and reach $5 billion by 2018, forecasts Staffing Industry Analysts, a “contingent work” consultant.
Depending on the definition, between one-fifth and one-third of American workers are now freelancers, contractors or temps, up from 6% in 1989, according to Accenture, a consultancy. Yet the $1 billion of work done through talent exchanges in 2012 is only one-third of one percent of the estimated $300 billion spent worldwide on these “contingent workers”, which suggests that talent exchanges are still barely scratching the surface.
I suppose the granddaddy of these sites is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk on which people can do basic “micro-work”.

The article focuses on and, the two busiest among several online marketplaces for work, or “talent exchanges”. 
ODesk was the matchmaker for 35m hours of work in 2012 (over 50% more than in 2011), divided between 1.5m tasks, at a total cost to the employers of $360m. The value of work on Elance rose by 40% in 2012 to exceed $200m for the first time.
 So far, most of the jobs on oDesk and Elance require skills in information technology. The top two skills hired on oDesk last year were in web programming and mobile apps. Yet the range of work offered is expanding fast, says Mr Swart. In 2007 just four categories of work accounted for 90% of the dollars billed on oDesk; in 2012, that 90% was made up of 35 sorts of work, with project management, translation and copywriting among the fastest-growing.
Freelancer ia the third-placed exchange. 

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