Impact of project:
Impact evaluation completed
This project was voted as the runner-up in the Experiences From the Field's "Most Recommended (Most Popular) Project" category by recieving the second-most votes from online audiences.
oDesk is the world’s largest and fastest-growing online workplace, freeing people around the world to work together without geographic limits. Online work empowers businesses to compete on the same playing field as larger competitors by providing access to the best global talent on demand, while enabling contractors to work from anywhere, on the projects they choose, at the rate they set. This borderless way of working—what we call Work 3.0—is creating millions of new jobs around the world by bringing the work to the worker rather than the worker to the work.
With oDesk, skilled people in developing economies or areas in which the local job market is severely depressed can access millions of job opportunities around the world, allowing them to improve their standards of living, support their families, and command the rate they are worth in the global economy.
oDesk’s ultimate goal is simple but ambitious—enabling people to work with whomever they want, wherever they want. Moving the workplace online allows people around the world to improve their standards of living and allows businesses to thrive with limited resources. Without the physical barriers of traditional employment, both businesses and workers are empowered. Businesses have a wealth of talent to choose from and can find applicants based on qualifications and motivation, not location. On the other side, employees have complete control over their careers and can choose their hours, projects, and rates—allowing them to compete in a global economy without even leaving their house.
Why this project is a Good Practice example:
oDesk (and online work in general) represents a new way of working. People around the world can access millions of job opportunities without leaving their homes or their families, and businesses can access the world’s best talent on demand. This way of working, Work 3.0, has the power to revolutionize the global economy, on both the business side and the contractor side. It simultaneously addresses the ongoing war for talent causing businesses to struggle to hire skilled workers, while also addressing the persistent unemployment and underemployment issues plaguing regional economies where skilled workers cannot find local jobs.
oDesk’s technology and platform allows anyone with Internet access to satisfy the demand for highly skilled workers. oDesk matches businesses and contractors around the world, makes the actual working relationship as successful as possible through work management tools and real-time visibility options, and facilitates payment across even international borders.
And we are only scratching the surface of this shift. Staffing Industry Analysts forecasts that 50 percent of the Fortune 100 workforce will consist of contingent workers by 2020, and there is no reason that many of these people won’t be online. In fact, a third of the global workforce is predicted to be working online by that year. And as the leader in online work, oDesk is in a unique position to shape industry-leading policies and legislation to ensure that online work benefits as many people around the world as possible.
Through the oDesk platform, work and income are distributed directly to populations that have not been able to access it before, such as those in developing countries. More than 2.2 million contractors around the world have registered on oDesk, and the number is growing rapidly.
oDesk’s impact is especially felt in emerging markets such as India and the Philippines. In the Philippines, more than 20 million hours have been worked to date on oDesk’s platform, and more than 14 million have been worked in India. Contractors in the Philippines earned $10.7 million and Indian contractors earned $14.9 million in Q1 2012 alone.
For comparison, the 2011 average hourly wage in the Philippines was $7, compared to the average hourly wage of $14.12 for oDesk contractors in the Philippines that year. Similarly, in Bangladesh, the average daily wage from 2009-2010 was $2.98, whereas the average hourly wage for oDesk contractors from Bangladesh was $12.72.
Furthermore, the independent research firm Genesis Research Associates recently surveyed our user base, and found that—of the more than 8,000 oDesk contractors who responded—85% said they “love oDesk” and 72% say it has improved their quality of life.
But the benefits are not limited to the contractors; clients are finding that online work allows them the flexibility and cost-effectiveness to compete with much larger companies. Of the more than 7,000 oDesk clients who responded to the survey, nine out of 10 said that remote work makes their business “more competitive.”
Since its inception, oDesk has realized that there are three main platform areas that the company needs to constantly innovate and refresh: hiring, managing and payment. In the hire stage, it’s critical for oDesk to provide match technology that helps contractors and businesses find the right fit for each project, even if there is a great geographic disparity.
In managing online work contracts, oDesk uses its technology to provide real-time visibility into the work that’s being done by contractors, so clients can manage projects in real time as if they were working together in an office. Finally, in the payment stage, oDesk strives to create an easy and seamless way for clients to pay an entire team of contractors, even across international borders. Clients are given a review period to look over team members’ work hours, and the oDesk platform allows them to pay all of their contractors in one lump sum with a credit card.
We have also learned that, as online work emerges as a major disruptive innovation in global employment, there is a lot of work to be done in terms of policy and legislation to ensure that online work is able to benefit workers and businesses around the world as much as possible. We look forward to working with policymakers on issues such as international payment regulations, global labor laws, tax regulations and compliance, and more.