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oDesk is considering expanding its operations into Australia according to Technology Spectator. In what was his second trip to the country since September, oDesk’s VP of its international division Matt Cooper said that a move into Australia is in consideration, but declined to comment any further on such plans.
Such a play seems logical for oDesk, as it would capitalise on the success the company has already seen in Australia according to the Paper.
oDesk has around 50,000 registered clients in Australia. Mr Cooper adds that around 2.5% of registered Australian businesses are aware and are using oDesk’s platform to find employees. This gives the company and its service around two times the amount of business penetration that it enjoys on its home turf, the US.
Mr Cooper also outlined that the company is seeing its strongest growth in Russia, India, the Philippines and Ukraine. But he also announced that oDesk has no plans to tackle the Chinese market anytime soon.
An Australian operation would likely be charged with further educating the market on the benefits of freelance and contract based work. In this regard, Mr Cooper welcomed the IPO of its local rival Freelancer.com as an event that drew awareness to the trend.
Mr Cooper also added that while both oDesk and Freelancer.com compete in the same space, they are very much aligned in their goal to educate and promote online-based freelance working.
As to who is actually leading the space, oDesk claims it is larger than Freelancer, based on the amount of “work performed” through its service. Though, he says that Freelancer.com leads based on its number of registered users.
It was separately announced yesterday that Kelly Services had formed an alliance with oDesk - see more below or here.
The news also comes at the same time as it was announced that Australia's labour market data was slightly better than expected. Although the unemployment rate rose to 5.8% from 5.7% as expected. The good news was that 21,000 jobs were added over the month. The market was only expecting an increase of 10,000. More importantly, 15,500 of those jobs are full time - this was unexpected as there has been a significant push away from full time employment this year. However, the small increase in full time employment doesn't come close to covering this year's losses and the unemployment rate continues to rise.