Web platforms match companies, freelances

Web-based freelancing platforms can bridge the gap between companies with tens of thousands of open positions and people looking for work, according to Fabio Rosati, chief executive of Elance-oDesk, as reported by Sarah Halzack in the Washington Post.

Elance offers five categories of workers: programmers, mobile developers, designers, writers, and marketers. It claims that the workers have earned $1,108,792,943 as of this morning. Sister company oDesk (the two announced a merger late last year) offers people who will design websites, write content, develop code, improve SEO, create mobile apps, “wrangle” data, manage tasks, and build software.

Halzack in the Post quotes one oDesk customer, Serge Knystautas, as describing the platform as “telecommuting on steroids.” He used oDesk to acquire software developers to build his website PrestoSports.

Staffing Industry Analysts, a firm providing advice on contingent work, predicts spending for online staffing could reach anywhere from $16 billion to $46 billion by 2020. (Those figures include online arrangements for on-site work—for example, a company could use an online staffing tool to dispatch a technician to a remote location.)

A downside for freelances is that the arrangements lack benefits and job security. “But,” writes Halzack, “experts say millennials—who are poised to make up 46% of the workforce by 2020—may not be put off by this kind of arrangement.” Studies such as this one suggest millennials value flexibility and “…opportunities to dabble in various career options.”

Further, Halzack quotes Ken Matos, senior director of employment research at the nonprofit Families and Work Institute, as saying, “Millennials grew up watching the breakdown of the predictable work contract. More millennials…are starting with a position of, 'These are all transactions. There is no company in the world that is going to take care of me.'”

Read the full June 13 Washington Post article here.

See also “Commission releases report on creating manufacturing jobs.”

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