Upwork’s New Service Targets SMB Hiring

Freelancer

Freelancer marketplace Upwork announced its first packaged service for small business. Besides helping SMBs in identifying and hiring talent, Upwork Plus offers on-demand support, increased job-posting visibility, dashboards for collaboration and access to a customers-only online community.

Upwork, which claims to be the world’s largest freelancing web site, said Upwork Plus is designed to ease the strain small businesses face in a continually tight labor market. In its 2019 Future Workforce Report, the company said more than three times as many hiring managers believe hiring has grown harder during the past 12 months than did in 2018.

Freelancer marketplace @Upwork announced its first packaged service for small business. Includes support, visibility, dashboard. #HR #Hiring #Gig #HRTech Click To Tweet

Competition in Hiring

Small businesses are being hit the hardest, Upwork said, because they also have to compete with enterprises that offer higher pay and more attractive benefits to attract scarce talent.

The company said Upwork Plus is designed for teams working together to quickly identify and hire independent contractors. Among its features are:

  • On-Demand Support: Customer support is available around the clock to help customers post jobs. Customers can also opt-in for talent specialist services to get help sourcing top freelancers in any given field.
  • Greater Visibility: Upwork Plus customers will receive a monthly featured job, which raises the visibility of job posts in search results and includes them in a digest that is sent to highly rated freelancers. 
  • Collaboration Features: A dedicated dashboard allows Plus customers to track program efforts from across their organization. Customers can also invite colleagues into a shared account and access collaboration and project status-tracking tools.
  • Customer Community: Plus customers get access to an online community that includes guides and resources to help them find appropriate freelancers. Learning tools and forums are also available.

Upwork Plus will cost $49.99 per month.

Upwork’s Future Workforce Report says that 72 percent of “high-growth” U.S. businesses hire freelance talent. These same companies predict their use of freelancers will increase.

Of those already hiring freelancers, 87 percent say they’ll maintain or increase their engagement of freelancers this year. The primary reasons cited were to increase productivity and alleviate workloads.

In December, Upwork was the launch partner for the Microsoft 365 freelance Toolkit, a workforce collaboration solution that helps enterprises work with freelancers at scale. Microsoft also began using Upwork Enterprise in a pilot program to connect certain teams with freelance talent.

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Investors seem to have faith in Upwork’s approach. In February, Upwork reported total revenue of $67.3 million for the 2018 fourth quarter, an increase of 23 percent. For the year, revenue increased 25 percent to $253 million, while gross profit rose 25 percent, to $172 million.