Briefing: February 13, 2013

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800,000 New Freelancers Join Elance

Freelancer billings through Elance exceeded $200 million in 2012, a 40 percent jump from 2011, according to its Global Online Employment Report.

Further, Elance reported 345,000 new hiring businesses and 799,000 new freelancers joined the platform in 2012, up 54 percent over 2011, and 44 percent, respectively, from 2011. The platform boasts more than 1.25 million registered hiring businesses and more than 2.2 million freelancers.

“Elance’s results indicate 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,” says Andrew Karpie, research analyst with Staffing Industry Analysts.

What is particularly relevant to buyers of staffing services is that Elance has been signaling its interest in the larger enterprise segment, something that would be a departure from the path of the other larger global online staffing providers, Karpie says.

The number of jobs posted on Elance continued to climb in 2012 as well, with an average run rate of about 80,000 jobs a month and about 826,000 jobs in 2012.

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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).

On the Elance platform, the United States leads other countries in terms of both freelancer demand as well as freelancer supply based on aggregate spend/earnings. “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,” Karpie says.

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