Commentary – Upwork Blog https://www.upwork.com/blog Insights, info and updates about Upwork Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why IBM’s Move to Cut Remote Work Will Backfire https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/05/ibm-cut-remote-work-will-backfire/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/05/ibm-cut-remote-work-will-backfire/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 15:11:55 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39520

IBM recently gave its remote employees an ultimatum: Move to one of IBM’s regional offices or leave the company. In an editorial for Fast Company, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel explains three reasons why he feels the move is short-sighted: "It’s not just retrograde and absurd, it’s also a surefire way to lose the best people you’ve got already and to turn away tomorrow’s top hires."

The post Why IBM’s Move to Cut Remote Work Will Backfire appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

Relocate or find a new job? That’s the ultimatum faced most recently by workers at IBM, a company that’s spent years promoting the benefits of remote work and selling the infrastructure to help make it work. It recently gave its remote employees an ultimatum: Move to one of IBM’s regional offices or leave the company.

In “IBM’s Remote Work Reversal Is a Losing Battle Against the New Normal,” Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel explains why he feels IBM’s move is short-sighted.

“Flexible work isn’t just the future of work—it’s already here. Forcing people back into offices is like handing them all paper time cards and telling them to start punching in and out. It’s not just retrograde and absurd, it’s also a surefire way to lose the best people you’ve got already and to turn away tomorrow’s top hires. Just ask Yahoo.“

While IBM says the change is meant to encourage collaboration and innovation, Kasriel explains three reasons why it won’t work:

  • The move will diminish the quality of IBM’s team.
  • IBM’s own research indicates this policy will have the opposite effect of stated intended productivity gains.
  • For both IBM and the economy, this is the wrong move and the wrong time
    to make it.

Thanks to the pioneering efforts of many tech companies, including IBM itself,
“…companies now have the ability to conceive of themselves as ‘results-only work environments’,” Kasriel said. “IBM will keep selling cloud-based software and services that support an ‘anytime, anywhere workforce’ it’s no longer a part of. Good luck making that sales pitch.”

Read Kasriel’s full commentary on Fast Company >>

The post Why IBM’s Move to Cut Remote Work Will Backfire appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/05/ibm-cut-remote-work-will-backfire/feed/ 0
The “Dirty Details” of Paid Paternity Leave https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/04/paid-paternity-leave-infographic/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/04/paid-paternity-leave-infographic/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39382

When four-year-old Jacoby waved a pregnancy test stick in his dad’s face one evening—”Look! A magic wand!”—soon-to-be father of three Adam Rhuberg suddenly had a new list of things to worry about, but rushing back to work wasn’t one of them. Rhuberg, director of analytics at Upwork, shares what 12 weeks of paid parental leave meant for his family.

The post The “Dirty Details” of Paid Paternity Leave appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

When four-year-old Jacoby waved a pregnancy test stick in his dad’s face one evening—”Look! A magic wand!”—soon-to-be father of three Adam Rhuberg suddenly had a new list of things to worry about. Baby #3, he says, means “logistical planning plus questioning your decisions in life.”

As he explains in “The New Paternity Leave: Now Dads Can Man Up,” however, rushing back to work wasn’t on that list. Rhuberg is director of analytics at Upwork, a company that offers 12 weeks of paid parental leave to moms and dads alike.

“Does this mean that Clio and I will have a stronger relationship moving forward? With that much Q.T., how could we not?” — Adam Rhuberg, dad and Upwork employee

Can family leave help improve gender equality in the workplace? Based on policies implemented around the world, including his own experience in France, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel says a generous parental leave policy is the right thing to do for families and business alike—supporting gender parity, employee retention, and better balance between work and family.

“Most new parents have to cobble together some combination of vacation time, sick days, disability, and unpaid time off in order to care for their children,” Kasriel said. “And even then, taking time off has been seen as an exception rather than the norm.”

For Rhuberg, being able to keep his new daughter at home until she was nearly seven months old was the single most important benefit. He knows many parents have just a few weeks before they run out of paid and unpaid options:

“You and your partner are both forced back to work while this tiny little creature—this creature that relies on you for absolutely everything, weighing less than a bowling ball, needing naps and feedings and human contact—has to get dropped off at a daycare, where the child-to-adult ratio is often 5:1—or worse, where germ-infested toddlers are swarming around your new baby and strangers are spending more time bonding with your child than you are.”

The “dirty details”

What does three months at home with three kids under the age of five look like? Here’s a look at the numbers.

What does 12 weeks of paternity leave look like? This infographic by Upwork's Adam Rhuberg—a father of three, who took paternity leave when his wife went back to work after the birth of their third child—put his experience into numbers. This included 366 baby diapers, 210 naps, 1,453 minutes with the Baby Bjorn (and one back injury), and 305 children's books read.

 


Feature image: The Rhuberg family in Redwood City, CA. Photo © Alyssa Hunter.

 

The post The “Dirty Details” of Paid Paternity Leave appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/04/paid-paternity-leave-infographic/feed/ 0
Here’s One Way We Can Impact Gender Equality Immediately: Offer More Parental Leave https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/04/impact-gender-equality-parental-leave/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/04/impact-gender-equality-parental-leave/#comments Wed, 19 Apr 2017 11:45:37 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39345

Family leave policies can make a difference for new parents as well as the companies they work for. Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel shares his experience with parental leave and explains why he feels offering mothers and fathers equal time off — and making it OK for them to use that time — can be such a significant benefit for gender equality in the workplace.

The post Here’s One Way We Can Impact Gender Equality Immediately: Offer More Parental Leave appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

For new parents, family leave policies can make an enormous difference.

I’ve experienced the impact first-hand with my own family. Three of our children, our sons, were born in France and the fourth, our daughter, was born here in the United States. The contrast between the two countries is striking. In France, working mothers typically receive 16 weeks paid time off from the country’s social security fund for the first child and even more for the second. Fathers get 14 days of paid paternity leave. And parents can take additional time on top of that up to three years with partial or no pay. I’m virtually certain my wife and I would not have had three children in four years without such generous support.

In the U.S., on the other hand, there is often no guaranteed time off with pay at all — in fact, it is one of only nine countries globally that provide no paid maternity leave and only 12 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave. Most new parents have to cobble together some combination of vacation time, sick days, disability, and unpaid time off in order to care for their children. And even then, taking time off has been seen as an exception rather than the norm.

When I became a CEO, I faced the challenge and honor of not only trying to support balance and equality within my family but also for the team at my company. I decided that I was in a position to do something about it. My experience showed me that one of the biggest obstacles to both balance and gender parity in the workplace is having enough parental leave, so our team changed our leave policy and began offering 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all, regardless of whether you’re a mom or a dad.

Yet there is still a strong societal expectation that dads won’t take much time off, even if it’s available. As Adam Rhuberg, Upwork’s Director of Analytics, put it eloquently in this piece about taking paternity leave:

“During the pregnancy, I received the routine question all expectant fathers get: ‘Are you going to take any time off?’ … I was able to respond ‘yep, my company gives me 12 weeks fully paid.’ The reaction was always astonishment. ‘TWELVE WEEKS?! That’s awesome! Are you going to take it all?’ That was always the follow-up question, and again, it paints a sad reality — that taking time off that you’re entitled to — whether it’s vacation time, sick time, or virtually unheard of parental leave time — is still not widely accepted.”

How do we promote better gender equality in the workplace? We need to allow both fathers and mothers to take equal time off and we need to also take actions to increase acceptability of actually taking the time off. Sweden wisely introduced a “use it or lose it” approach to its generous policy, which gives 16 months of leave that can be taken by either mothers or fathers and sets aside three of those months for dads, with the other 10 months divided as the parents see fit. As a result, Sweden saw parental leave claimed by mothers decrease from 99.5% in 1974 to 75% in 2015. Clearly, uptake is still lower among mothers but urging fathers to take leave by setting aside “daddy months” and their “use it or lose it” approach is helping.

If the new administration is going to address parental leave by providing six weeks of paid time off, as called for by President Trump, that could be a very welcome development. It should offer that guarantee to fathers as well as mothers. And companies should step up to foster a culture that encourages people actually taking the full time available.

This is about doing the right thing. But there are material benefits, too. With recruiting top talent harder than ever, companies that have implemented generous family leave benefits reap rewards. The rate at which new mothers left jobs at Google dropped by 50 percent when the company increased paid maternity leave to 18 weeks. And there’s a big benefit to retaining employees — the cost of replacing a team member amounts to about 21 percent of the employee’s annual salary.

The administration, as well as U.S. companies, should look to examples like Google, Facebook, and Intel, which show how a robust parental leave policy benefits both U.S. professionals and the company.

Along with instituting more generous parental leave policies for both genders, I think it’s also important to recognize that parental leave is not “time off.” Just look at the stats about his leave that Adam compiled into this amusing and very eye-opening infographic. Better leave policies recognize that parenting, especially of infants, is hard work, but it is also one of the most valuable things we do for the future of our families, our companies and our society.

The post Here’s One Way We Can Impact Gender Equality Immediately: Offer More Parental Leave appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/04/impact-gender-equality-parental-leave/feed/ 1
Automation Isn’t the Problem: Why Skills and Geography Can’t Be Ignored https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/03/skills-geography-cant-be-ignored/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/03/skills-geography-cant-be-ignored/#respond Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39205

The workforce and the way we work are rapidly evolving, and automation is one factor that gets a lot of attention. But is it the barrier many people think it is? Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel argues the imbalance doesn’t come from the rise of robots and artificial intelligence. The bigger problem is a mismatch between skills and geography.

The post Automation Isn’t the Problem: Why Skills and Geography Can’t Be Ignored appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

The workforce and the way we work are rapidly evolving, and automation is one factor that gets a lot of attention. But is it the barrier many people think it is?

In an article for Quartz, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel argues the imbalance doesn’t come from the rise of robots and artificial intelligence. Instead, he says, the bigger problem is a mismatch between skills and geography.

“Fundamentally, work is not a fixed pie which machines are eating a bigger and bigger piece of while humans have less and less. Instead, work is generated by businesses and entrepreneurs who identify economic opportunities based on problems that need to be fixed.”
— Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork

Various studies have suggested as many as 47 percent of jobs could be automated over the next twenty years. At the same time, while unemployment persists and middle-class wages stagnate, 38 percent of global companies say they’re having a hard time finding the talent they need. “Workers are not being retrained for high-skilled jobs,” Kasriel notes. “[And] talent is much more widely distributed than the jobs are.”

A mismatch of skills

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, one third of the skills that will be considered essential within the next three or four years aren’t considered important today.

Kasriel says continuous learning is key to seizing new opportunities: “In times of uncertainty, the best thing we can do is make the workforce more adaptable, entrepreneurial, and able to learn.”

The declining cost of distance

People don’t necessarily live where the best jobs are located, and technology has made it easier than ever to work and collaborate at a distance.

“There are talented people outside the largest cities, and it is more cost-effective than ever for companies to expand their talent pools to geographic areas further afield,” Kasriel said. This also benefits professionals, who then have access to higher paying work than they’ll find locally.

“We’ll only run out of jobs if the world runs out of problems to solve,” Kasriel said. Read his full commentary on Quartz >>

The post Automation Isn’t the Problem: Why Skills and Geography Can’t Be Ignored appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/03/skills-geography-cant-be-ignored/feed/ 0
Entrepreneur: 3 Team-Building Secrets of Successful Small Business Owners”” https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/small-business-team-building-secrets-kasriel/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/small-business-team-building-secrets-kasriel/#respond Mon, 02 May 2016 20:06:29 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37223

“When you have a small team, each new person has a proportionally large impact on your company and its trajectory," said Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel. Here are some of the secrets behind the success of some incredible small businesses.

The post Entrepreneur: 3 Team-Building Secrets of Successful Small Business Owners”” appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

In honor of National Small Business Week in the U.S., Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel recently spoke with a few successful entrepreneurs to hear how investing time and resources in building exceptional teams is positioning them for growth.

“When you have a small team, each new person has a proportionally large impact on your company and its trajectory.”
Stephane Kasriel, Upwork CEO

In “3 Team-Building Secrets of Successful Small Business Owners,” Kasriel shares insights from his discussions, which revealed three common themes:

  • Hire the right talent: Have a pipeline of talent in mind so when the resources are available you are ready to fill organizational gaps immediately.
  • Empower your team to make decisions: Foster an open environment of respect so people can do their best work.
  • Invest in people and processes: Because they enable smooth onboarding transitions, well-defined processes can help propel growth.

To review Kasriel’s advice and interview summaries in full, read the complete commentary on Entrepreneur.

The post Entrepreneur: 3 Team-Building Secrets of Successful Small Business Owners”” appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/small-business-team-building-secrets-kasriel/feed/ 0
Forbes: Trim Costs Before Entering the Funding Winter”” https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/04/trim-costs-funding-winter/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/04/trim-costs-funding-winter/#respond Thu, 21 Apr 2016 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37123

Advice to trim costs and increase revenues may seem standard for startups and established businesses alike, but Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel says too many companies have let this fundamental survival tactic slide.

The post Forbes: Trim Costs Before Entering the Funding Winter”” appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

Advice to trim costs and increase revenues may seem standard for startups and established businesses alike, but Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel says too many companies have let this fundamental survival tactic slide.

“The fact is, it’s bad out there,” Kasriel wrote recently on Forbes. “You can no longer count on raising another round. In fact, as a tech company, it’s safe to assume you’re not going to raise more money. You’re either going to become profitable, or you’re going to die.”

“Economically speaking, winter is coming.”
– Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork

In “Trim Costs Before Entering the Funding Winter,” Kasriel calls on businesses to prioritize nimbleness and flexibility with smart budget decisions and meaningful measurements.

To do this, Kasriel covers some essential guidelines:

  • Focus on the right metrics
  • Use flexible cloud-based solutions
  • Reduce your standing monthly overhead
  • Remember that cash is king
  • Move to zero-based budgeting
  • Hold off on long-term investments

To review Kasriel’s insights in full, read the complete commentary on Forbes.

The post Forbes: Trim Costs Before Entering the Funding Winter”” appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/04/trim-costs-funding-winter/feed/ 0
Fast Company: The Four Trends That Will Change the Way We Work by 2021″” https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/12/the-four-trends-that-will-change-the-way-we-work-by-2021/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/12/the-four-trends-that-will-change-the-way-we-work-by-2021/#respond Thu, 17 Dec 2015 18:30:15 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=36447

In an article for Fast Company, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel explains four emerging work trends and what they’ll mean for professionals and organizations.

The post Fast Company: The Four Trends That Will Change
the Way We Work by 2021″”
appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

From workplace demographics to the norms for when and where work happens, the past decade has brought significant change to the nature of work—and more is on the horizon.

In “The Four Trends that Will Change the Way We Work by 2021” on Fast Company, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel explains four of these emerging work trends and what they’ll mean for professionals and organizations.

  • “Second-tier cities” will claim their place. Urban centers like New York City, San Francisco, Paris, and Tokyo have long stood as beacons of opportunity—but that’s no longer optimal or even necessary. Cities like Denver and Austin are quickly becoming new hubs: “It’s just cheaper to live and do business there,” Kasriel said. Plus, he added, “technology is making it far easier for people to live in places other than the largest hubs and still have access to jobs they otherwise wouldn’t.”
  • Nanodegrees and nanojobs will become more common. The half-life of a skill is so short that Kasriel says workers can no longer specialize for life in only one thing. This is changing both the way we learn and the way we work. “If the need for greater specialized expertise is growing, it’s at least partly because the demand for those skills is changing more rapidly than ever,” he said.
  • Job seekers will be choosier. For various reasons, many people are looking for more than a big salary or fancy perks; they want work that aligns with their values, lifestyles, and goals. “Ultimately, companies will need to get used to the idea that professional growth means more than simply growth in income,” Kasriel explained.
  • The expansion of entrepreneurship. Kasriel says there’s a “growing segment of people who are turning into entrepreneurs in a different sense—without having a big idea or creating a product. Rather than founding a startup, they’re simply working independently as freelancers or by teaming up with one another.”

To learn more, read Kasriel’s full article on Fast Company.

The post Fast Company: The Four Trends That Will Change
the Way We Work by 2021″”
appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/12/the-four-trends-that-will-change-the-way-we-work-by-2021/feed/ 0
MOOCs: The Future of Higher Education is Flexible, Free, and Mobile Friendly https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/11/moocs-higher-education-flexible-free-mobile-friendly/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/11/moocs-higher-education-flexible-free-mobile-friendly/#comments Tue, 03 Nov 2015 14:00:18 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=36096

However you choose to navigate life as a working adult, one thing is clear: This isn’t the job market of your parents’ generation—and that includes your education. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) bring higher learning to the masses regardless of location or income, adjusted to fit your needs. Dr. Kristin Palmer, Director of Online Learning Programs for the University of Virginia (UVa), explains how MOOCs are changing education, admissions, and the way we learn essential new skills.

The post MOOCs: The Future of Higher Education is Flexible, Free, and Mobile Friendly appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

Author: Dr. Kristin Palmer, Director of Online Learning Programs for the University of Virginia (UVa) | Editor: Amy Sept, Managing Editor, Upwork Blog

However you choose to navigate life as a working adult, one thing is clear: This isn’t the job market of your parents’ generation. Anyone in today’s workforce needs to have a growth mindset—an ongoing focus on trends and professional development to stay resilient, iterative, and responsive. In today’s market, you need to be learning new skills and preparing for new job opportunities.

As the cliche goes, change is constant. Technology has accelerated the rate of change. Education is changing and leveraging technology to provide new skills to the workforce.

Twenty years ago, university would train you for a field that would last your entire career. If you went back, it would be to pick up a new set of skills—or to embark on something entirely different.

We don’t have the luxury of being perpetual university students, or regularly dropping work to pursue further education—but we do have the option of online learning. Companies have augmented internal training teams with online systems such as SkillSoft and Lynda.com. Individuals have come to rely on “just-in-time training,” with Google searches and YouTube tutorials to learn specific tasks. Some people have subscribed to podcasts or YouTube channels like TED, Veritasium, or Crash Course to be inspired, learn about topics, or to stay current in their field.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a tool used by institutions such as UVa, Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Stanford, the Smithsonian and hundreds of others to deliver content to individuals around the world, such as yourself.

Upskilling for the Masses

MOOCs make high-quality educational content available to the masses, leveraging videos, quizzes, and discussion forums typically within a four to six week course session.

  • Location doesn’t matter, as long as you have an Internet connection.
  • Financial status doesn’t matter, since MOOCs are available for free.
  • Classes are self-directed, so they can fit around your schedule.
  • Content can be streamed, so you can view it at your desk or on the go.

If you want to binge watch or listen to an entire MOOC on how to grow your business, you can—from your desk, while taking the train to work, or during your morning jog.

The potential for reach is reflected in the audience: Learners of different ages, cultures, professions, and educational backgrounds representing every continent and over 200 countries. MOOC providers have launched to meet this broad audience. Among the most prominent providers are Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, iTunes U, NovoEd, Udacity, and Udemy.

In 2012, the University of Virginia (UVa) began a pilot program with Coursera, a MOOC platform on a mission to provide universal access to the world’s best education. So far, Coursera has partnered with more than 130 top universities and organizations around the world, offering hundreds of courses on topics like Roman architecture, machine learning, and content strategy. Coursera provides content to over 15.5 million unique learners with a catalog that includes 550 active courses and over 70 Specializations.

Research conducted in September by a partnership between the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Washington, then published in the Harvard Business Review, found remarkable results. Among these results, learners self-reported that 87 percent of career builders received benefits, with 33 percent reporting tangible benefits such as a raise or new job after taking a MOOC. Eighty-eight percent of education seekers self-reported benefits, with 18 percent reporting tangible benefits such as improved admissions, receiving college credit, and preparing to go back to university.

“This was the first data report of its kind focused on identifying the real outcomes for learners in MOOCs,” said Kurt Apen, Coursera’s Chief Marketing Officer. “While we’re still in the early phases, we’re emboldened by these results that indicate the high potential of open online education to truly transform lives.”

(click for full-sized version)

MOOCs “Flip the Classroom”

The traditional classroom is also changing. MOOCs have been used as a tool to “flip the classroom.” Flipping the classroom is moving the traditional lecture so it’s done outside of class, then using class time to actively engage with fellow students on the content and clarify questions from the lectures. This technique allows the focus to switch from the “sage on the stage” lecture-driven classroom to a more student-centric model of students engaging with the content and the instructor as a “guide on the side.”

MOOCs have been used at UVa to deliver online lectures to on-campus students. Then, in the classroom, residential students engage in discussions with the professors to get a deeper understanding of the concepts—whether in business, humanities, or education. UVa actively engages with students, providing opportunities for pragmatic research and fostering strong relationships between students and faculty.

MOOCs are intended to be used beyond the university classroom. At UVa, for example, we’ve seen high school teachers use our MOOC lectures from the Kennedy Half Century to teach their units on American History. Of the three million learners who have enrolled in UVa MOOCs, most are people looking to learn new skills to build, change, or improve their career. We have had hundreds of learners personally tell us stories of starting new businesses, getting new jobs, and solving critical business problems after taking our MOOCs.

In addition to single courses, UVa is now working with Coursera to deliver specializations to learners. For example, the UVa Darden Graduate School of Business specialization is the Business Strategy Specialization, which includes five courses and a capstone project. Darden was recently ranked the #2 MBA program in the world by The Economist, and anyone can take the courses in this specialization for free—and as many as 50 top specialists in the course will have their application fees to Darden waived.

Online education attracts a broad spectrum of people because of the flexibility to participate independent of location. Typically online education has a diverse age range and demographic distribution with students at all stages of their career and life. MOOCs provide high quality educational materials so that anyone with a smart device and Internet connection can access the materials and explore the content together.

Free Tuition with Valuable Data for Schools and Corporations

As Sandler Research noted in a recent report on the MOOC marketplace, better access to education might be driving the market, but the data and analytics from learners will provide high value to educators and industry.

“Examination outcomes and assignment grading are made easy with MOOCs because of the online nature, which is otherwise a slow and tedious procedure with traditional data gathering techniques,” the report explained. “The records are easily managed with big data tools, giving educators the advantage of real-time data management.”

One benefit to institutions is that students can try before they buy. Motivated students can access the MOOCs from an institution to see if they would be a good fit for a program. For example, MIT just announced a new “MicroMasters” credential for its top-ranked Supply Chain Management (SCM) master’s program. For this new credential, students who take the MOOCs can use their successful completion towards university credit with reduced overall tuition cost.

“Learners worldwide with access to edX can take any of the first semester’s worth of courses online,” they explained, referencing edX, the free MOOC platform MIT uses. “Those who do well in each course, and then score well on a subsequent comprehensive proctored examination, can earn an MITx MicroMasters, and their performance will significantly enhance their chances of being accepted to the full master’s program, which they can then complete in a single semester on campus.”

Georgia Tech has a similar program for a Master’s in Engineering program, offered in partnership with Udacity. University of Illinois has a program for business called iMBA in partnership with Coursera. These programs have the potential to significantly reduce overall tuition and allow students to have more flexible access to the program content through the MOOC platforms.

Corporations have also picked up on the potential cost savings and valuable data, partnering with Coursera, NovoEd, Udemy, and Udacity to provide custom or curated internal training. They can then use skills-related data to help identify students who might make great candidates for different jobs.

Universities are using the MOOCs to develop flexible programs to address more adult learner needs of completing certificate or degree programs without having to relocate or be in class at specific times. This opens these programs up to a broader international audience. Within the residential classroom, universities can use the data analytics from MOOCs to improve the quality of the programs being delivered to students. Professors can quickly see which questions and concepts are presenting issues for students. Having this data immediately accessible allows instructors to then clarify content or add new content to help illustrate concepts.

A Revolution Is Coming—Gradually

For all their benefits, the MOOC model isn’t without its growing pains. Platform providers such as Coursera are still defining different models for revenue generation to ensure they remain in business. Universities are evaluating how MOOCs fit into residential programs and how they can be used to develop more flexible, broader-reaching programs. Within MOOCs, researchers and instructional designers are working to improve the peer-to-peer learning communities and incorporate more formative feedback, creating assignments and teaching skills that have value to the learners after the MOOC is completed.

MOOC proponents predict more formal recognition for MOOC completion and more flexible certificate and degree programs utilizing MOOCs. We see this already with the abundance of Coursera Certificates posted on LinkedIn profiles—Coursera Course Certificates are now the second most common certificate posted on LinkedIn. Companies are starting to recognize that skills acquired through MOOCs have value; learners know they have value and are proud of their accomplishments.

The advantages for anyone trying to keep up with the pace of change in business today are significant: MOOCs put real-world skills from elite educational institutions within easy reach for career development. Go ahead and move into the future, and explore a MOOC or two! Some of my favorite MOOCs are Learning How To Learn, Design Thinking for Business Innovation, Foundations of Business Strategy, and Personal Branding.

This story was submitted by Dr. Kristin Palmer and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.

The post MOOCs: The Future of Higher Education is Flexible, Free, and Mobile Friendly appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/11/moocs-higher-education-flexible-free-mobile-friendly/feed/ 3
Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report Highlights Work’s Evolution https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/05/mary-meeker-internet-trends-report-work-evolution/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/05/mary-meeker-internet-trends-report-work-evolution/#respond Thu, 28 May 2015 20:26:20 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=35043

The 20th installment of Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report named the “evolution of work” as a key trend. In a commentary about the report, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel discusses how the Internet is helping evolve the way we work.

The post Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report Highlights Work’s Evolution appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

The 20th installment of Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report, an annual look at big-picture transformations that are being driven by the Internet, was released yesterday and named the “evolution of work” as a key trend.

Mary Meeker Internet Trends 2015 — slide 126

From Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends 2015”

The Internet is empowering major changes in the way people work. Upwork’s CEO Stephane Kasriel shared commentary on the report’s insights on LinkedIn, saying “Our [work] habits are born of the Industrial Age, when people had to be in one place to work factory lines. But there is almost no need for that today.”

“We can all log on to ‘go to work’ rather than drive to an office. Furthermore, manufacturing jobs are going away and innovation-driven jobs are on the rise. This innovation-driven work is much more easily performed online.”

Read Kasriel’s full commentary on how the Internet is helping evolve the way we work.

 

feature image by Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The post Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report Highlights Work’s Evolution appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/05/mary-meeker-internet-trends-report-work-evolution/feed/ 0
2015 Work Predictions: Virtual Is the New Reality https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/01/2015-online-work-predictions/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/01/2015-online-work-predictions/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 22:10:28 +0000 https://www.odesk.com/blog/?p=34095

The freelance economy boomed in 2014. What's in store for 2015? We looked at Elance-oDesk's vibrant, global community for seven predictions that show how businesses will hire or work differently this year.

The post 2015 Work Predictions: Virtual Is the New Reality appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>

What business trends are set to drive online work in 2015? Elance-oDesk’s vibrant, global community is at the forefront of making virtual work the new reality — and that community is thriving.

The freelance economy boomed in 2014, with businesses spending nearly $1 billion hiring through our online workplace. That space is also growing: a seminal study we conducted with the Freelancers Union found that 53 million Americans had freelanced in the past year.

Online work global earnings

Elance-oDesk’s 2014 Global Online Work Report shows the upward trajectory of online work. How will that change how you hire or work differently over the next year? Here are seven predictions that show how working online is opening new possibilities.

1. Swift will overtake Objective-C as the primary app development language.

Many say that the jury is still out as to whether Swift, Apple’s new programming language, will win the hearts of developers and outshine more traditional choices. Infoworld says Swift isn’t so swift after all, SLATE calls the new language a “grab bag,” and InformationWeek isn’t convinced that Objective-C’s days are numbered.

Our data shows otherwise. Swift is one of the fastest-growing skills in history on our platforms—with consistent growth of more than 100 percent each month and 160 percent growth in December 2014 alone. We predict that the use of Swift will surpass that of Objective-C in 2015—just one year after it was launched.

2. Everyone will live large with their own virtual assistant.

There are currently 1.5 million virtual assistants registered across Elance.com and oDesk.com (Elance-oDesk) — a number equal to the population of Phoenix, AZ. Virtual assistants earned $50 million in 2014, and as one of the fastest-growing positions hired on Elance-oDesk, that number is expected to increase by 50 percent in 2015.

3. Virtual agencies will surpass the number of traditional agencies.

The soaring cost of maintaining a physical office is causing agencies to move online. Improvements in project management, communication tools, and a flexible work environment will enable virtual agencies to flourish.

Virtual agencies span a range of disciplines, but design led the way (with 15,000 agencies on Elance-oDesk’s sites and more than $75 million in earnings), followed by software development (11,000 agencies, $159 million in earnings), marketing (3,000 agencies, $13.1 million in earnings), and translation (2,500 agencies, $11.2 million in earnings).

4. Freelance management will become a core skill.

As the talent gap for technical skills increases, standout professionals will be those who are adept at managing freelancers and distributed team members. Developers on Elance-oDesk earned more than $486 million last year (the largest category of online work). These engineers are some of the best in the world, and companies that learn to tap into this resource will increase the speed and quality with which their new products are launched.

5. Neighborhood accounting will go by way of the bookstore.

Accountants can now look beyond their backyard for clients without going anywhere and, on the flip side, businesses have a much easier time finding these same accountants by hiring online. Accounting on Elance-oDesk is growing at 40 percent, a number we expect to increase as cloud-based accounting platforms like Xero take off.

6. Chinese-to-English translation will outpace English-to-Chinese for the first time in history.

As their domestic economy stagnates, Chinese businesses are looking to U.S. and Western European markets for growth. Translators who serve this market are in high demand, growing more than 50 percent in the second half of 2014 alone, and making it to the top 10 list of language translation requests.

7. World-class customer service will be the norm, not just for the Fortune 1000.

With increased adoption of cloud-based customer service tools and a larger-than-ever pool of premium freelance customer service professionals, 24/7 customer support will be achievable for all businesses, not just the Fortune 1000.

In 2014, customer service agent was the fastest-growing position on Elance-oDesk (92 percent growth), and Zendesk was one of the fastest-growing skills hired for (with 145 percent year-over-year in 2014).

 

The post 2015 Work Predictions: Virtual Is the New Reality appeared first on Upwork Blog.

]]>
https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/01/2015-online-work-predictions/feed/ 3