August 04, 2011 09:00 ET

Online Work Replacing Full-Time Employment

Record Unemployment, Recession Mentality Lead Companies to Alternative Hiring Strategies

REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 4, 2011) - The Great Recession has put many businesses into an evolve-or-die situation. Between a national 9.2 percent unemployment rate, increased difficulty obtaining business funding, and international competition, businesses around the world are seeking new competitive advantages beyond traditional models. Faced with locating, hiring and retaining quality employees in this environment, many companies are relying on alternative recruitment channels not only to sustain their business, but to thrive -- and workers are considering contract and remote work as their go-to source for full-time employment.

"What matters today is talent and work ethic, not nationality or location," said Jonathan Swanson, co-founder of Thumbtack, a marketplace for local services, which has been employing online contractors for over two years. The service now has 170,000 merchants listed on its site -- 150 times more than when it started hiring online in 2009. Swanson's team accomplished this incredible growth with eleven full-time U.S. employees and more than 100 remote contractors from oDesk, the leading global employment platform.

"Remote work is ushering in a new working paradigm, one that is enormously more powerful and productive for employers, and more flexible and enjoyable for employees," he said. "Employers stuck in the nine-to-five model are missing out. At Thumbtack, we are scaling our business faster, more affordably, and more easily than we could have ever imagined. The talented workers that oDesk has connected us with are essential to our success."

Among other positions, Thumbtack recently hired for web research and data entry roles, which fit in with some of the top work categories sought by employers online, as indicated in oDesk's Online Employment Report. The monthly report includes information on the overall demand for online work, the popular locations for online workers and the in-demand skills for contractors. The most recent report shows that -- in July alone -- more than 93,000 new jobs were posted on oDesk, and over 1.9 million hours of work were performed through the site, netting more than $19 million spent on online work during the month.

Online workers are finding that the variety, freedom and sense of empowerment of online work simply can't be matched by a full-time job.

"Online work gave me the opportunity to be financially independent," said contractor Jenny Magno-Rubin, who works for Thumbtack as an editor. "I don't have to choose between being a mom and being an employee. I still get to have a life and enjoy it -- while having a job."

Online work has allowed businesses like Thumbtack to grow quickly and successfully, providing access to skilled workers with limited staffing investment and HR overhead. When the economy recovers from its recent turmoil, those companies won't abandon the cost savings, flexibility and ease of management that online employment affords: Online work is here to stay.

"Online workers are core to small business success," said oDesk CEO Gary Swart. "Many companies that initially used this approach to accomplish work during the economic downturn are incorporating online workers into their ongoing staffing and growth strategies. The continuing growth in demand for skilled online workers indicates a smart move by businesses -- away from the full-time employment model to a flexible, on-demand workforce."

For more information on the current trends in online work, please visit the oDesk July Online Employment Report.

About oDesk
With more than 1.3 million contractors in over 150 countries, oDesk ( is the global employment platform that enables employers to hire, manage, and pay a flexible online workforce.

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    Sammy Totah
    BOCA Communications
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