There is a growing pool of premium freelancers and freelance market place Upwork (formerly Elance, oDesk) wants to help you tap into this global talent pool.
On Feb. 18, the giant freelance marketplace, which enables businesses and independent professionals to connect and collaborate remotely, announced two new paid services:
- Upwork Pro
- Upwork Enterprise.
The services are designed to help companies tap into Upwork’s pool of high-quality freelance talent.
Although marketed for mid-market and large enterprise companies, the new services may be an effective, convenient and maybe even cheaper alternative for small businesses that are looking to hire independent contractors than HR.
Small businesses today employ different talent sourcing strategies, including scouring job boards resume databases on sites like Monster, Careerbuilder and Craiglist, and using blogs and social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to advertise freelance jobs and to engage and drive applications.
These methods, while creative, can take companies around three months to hire new talents due to talent scarcity, explains Upwork in a press release . However, businesses that use Upwork, the company claims, connect with skilled talent faster – in an average of just three days.
According to the company, Upwork Pro  provides businesses with instant access to a pre-screened pool of proven freelance talent to assist with critical development, content marketing, design and customer service projects. The service costs $149 per month plus an incremental 10% service fee on every payment and the Upwork marketplace fee the freelancer pays on all contracts
Upwork Enterprise , on the other hand, gives you access to designers, developers, writers, translators, customer support pros, lead gen specialists, and more at an annual subscription fee customized to your needs. This tool allows you to build your own private talent pool at scale, while at the same time helping you remain in compliance with independent contractor classification laws.
In a statement about the services, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel said the new tools are necessary in today’s market.
“Businesses continue to experience difficulties accessing the skills and talent they need to meet mounting demands,” the executive said,” she said. “People are central to a business; there is no more powerful competitive advantage. Upwork Pro places premium talent in the hands of mid-market companies. For large businesses looking to build a freelance workforce at scale, Upwork Enterprise provides the technology, sourcing and talent services in one solution.”
You can liken what Upwork is trying to do here with the problem e-commerce companies try to solve. Part of the challenge for ecommerce companies is making discovery and check-out as quick, convenient and seamless as possible. Similarly, Upwork has introduced the new algorithms to better match its large human cloud talent pool to companies seamlessly.
Since only a few companies have recruitment departments with a dedicated sourcing function, and those that do often are not designed for recruiting at scale, the new services from Upwork that make connecting with quality independent contractors a breeze, cut down the time it takes to seal the deal and ensure you get faster task completion times, are a welcome solution even for small businesses.
One thing that sets Upwork’s new pro services apart from its cheaper packages that everyone else uses has to do with the enhanced pre-screening of freelance work candidates. The company says its new services allows you to “work with the best in the business — regardless of location — accessing skilled freelancers curated by your own colleagues and our sophisticated algorithms.”
It goes on to tout the services as “the top choice for savvy business owners, HR leaders, legal/compliance officers, and procurement executives.”
For independent contractors looking for freelance jobs, the company says freelancers are earning more than $1 billion annually via Upwork.