Online staffing platforms continue to gain traction as a source for contingent workers, with oDesk, a Redwood City, Calif. provider reporting rising usage not only in the Unites Stated, but in other countries as well.
The United States was the top country in terms of client spend for oDesk contractor services, followed by Australia, Canada, U.K. and the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, the fastest-growing countries in terms of client spend were Ukraine, Russia, India, Malaysia and China, based on compounded annual growth rate from 2010 to 2012.
In fact, non-U.S. client spend has grown to nearly 40 percent of total spend through oDesk, up from 22 percent in 2007. “Clearly, other parts of the world outside of the U.S. are catching on as users/buyers of online staffing services — not just contractors offering their labor services,” says Andrew Karpie, a research analyst with Staffing Industry Analysts.
Detractors of online staffing platforms assert that companies use them in order to drive down wages, sending much of the work overseas. However, in terms of dollars earned by oDesk contractors, the United States comes in at No. 3, following India and the Philippines. Ukraine and Pakistan round out the top five.
And it’s not just freelance technology services that companies are procuring talent for. Seven of the top 10 fastest-growing specialized skill categories in terms of client spend were non-technical:
1. Engineering & technical design (Tech)
2. Project management
5. Game development (Tech)
6. Mobile apps (Tech)
10. Video production
“ODesk’s growth shows that online staffing platforms are a valid, reliable resource for companies looking to get projects done,” Karpie says. “They open up the doors to a worldwide pool of talent and numerous skillsets.”
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