Andrew Karpie's Blog

“Online Staffing Platform,” Elance, Reports Continuing High Growth in 2012

Elance has published its Global Online Employment Report indicating strong ongoing adoption in the online staffing segment and strong growth for the company, as businesses and workers continue to embrace this model for getting certain kinds of work done.    

The company reported that topline revenues for 2012 crossed the $200M mark,  with 2012 freelancer earnings on the platform coming in at $200M, or 40% over the 2011 level (freelancer earnings represents what is paid to freelancers and does not include Elance mark-up or any other revenue sources).  Additionally, 345,000 new hiring businesses joined the platform in 2012 (growth of 54% over 2011), and 799,000 new freelancers registered with the platform in 2012 to find work (growth of 44% over 2011).  There are now more than 1.25M hiring businesses and over 2.2M freelancers registered with the Elance platform.

The number of jobs posted on Elance continued to climb in 2012 with an average run rate of about 80,000 jobs a month.  Well over 800K jobs were posted on Elance in 2012. 

Click image to enlarge.

In the largest Elance work categories,  skilled “knowledge workers” (especially IT and Creative), aggregate freelance earnings continued to grow at very high rates in 2012, in many sub-segments like mobile app developers and web designers growing at rates over 100 or even 200% (2012 over 2011).   

According the Elance report, “the top 10 GDP countries increased their online hiring by an average of 67%” in 2012.

A very interesting characteristic of supply and demand on the Elance platform is that the United States remains the #1 country for both freelancer demand as well as freelancer supply based on aggregate spend/earnings  (with 2012 year-over-year growth rates on both the demand and supply sides of the platform being between 25 and 50%).  This may suggest that Elance’s platform and market growth strategy and business model may not conform to the “conventional wisdom” that online staffing platforms are simply vehicles for using low-cost labor in less developed countries.

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