Upwork, formerly Elance-oDesk, is an American freelancing platform. In 2015, the Elance-oDesk merger was rebranded as Upwork and the company's full name is now Upwork Global Inc. Upwork is currently based in Santa Clara and San Francisco, California.
In 2017, Upwork had over twelve million registered freelancers and five million registered clients. More than three million jobs worth over $1 billion USD together were posted in 2017.
Upwork allows clients to interview, hire and work with freelancers and freelance agencies through the company's platform. The client posts a description of their job and a price range they are willing to pay for a freelancer to complete it. The client may invite specific freelancers to apply for their jobs, or else post the job for any freelancer who is interested to apply. Once the client has chosen who they want to complete the job, they hire that freelancer by sending a contract with set hours, pay rate, and a deadline for the work to be completed.
The Upwork platform includes a real-time chat feature that either clients or freelancers can use to message prospects. The Upwork's time tracker application records the freelancer's keystrokes and mouse movements and takes screenshots to be submitted to their client.
In March 2017, Upwork reported 14 million users in 180 countries with $1 billion USD in annual freelancer billings.
In 2020, the company purged 1.8 million freelancers, possibly due to changes made under the leadership of new CEO Hayden Brown. In a 2019 call with investors, Brown said that Upwork would be focusing more on serving the needs of Fortune 500 companies rather than smaller companies just looking for a quick job with a single gig worker. During this call, Brown also spoke of a "skill gap" between what companies were looking for on the Upwork platform and what they were getting. Many of the freelancers purged were rated as "less skilled" or had lower rankings on the platform.
Upwork has also made other changes under Brown's leadership. The platform adopted paid client subscription rates, increased client payment fees from 2.75% to 3%, raised the cost of "Connects" (virtual tokens used by freelancers to submit job proposals), and changed the number of "Connects" needed for freelancers to submit job proposals. Brown has said that these changes were made to improve the quality of freelancers and freelance work available on the platform, but they also led to increased financial gains for Upwork and its investors.
In March 2021, Upwork released a report claiming that up to 25% of professionals expect to permanently work remotely.
Elance-oDesk Becomes 'Upwork' In Push To Build $10B In Freelancer Revenues
May 5, 2015