Introducing Upwork Updates: AI Innovations and Other Solutions Transforming the Future of Work

Dave Bottoms
Dave Bottoms
April 30, 2024
April 30, 2024
Introducing Upwork Updates: AI Innovations and Other Solutions Transforming the Future of Work

Today we’re unveiling Upwork Updates, our inaugural, semi-annual product showcase highlighting a collection of innovative products, features and partnerships across the world’s work marketplace. In the age of AI, there is a better way to get work done, and we’re bringing businesses, freelance professionals, and technology together in delightful and effective new ways to shape the future of work for everyone. Our Spring 2024 Update presents a wide array of AI-powered innovations as well as other product capabilities and platform improvements that deliver on our customers’ needs and enable them to work smarter. For businesses, we’re creating a more streamlined and intuitive experience so hiring managers can find the solutions and people they need faster and more effectively. For freelancers, we’re providing access to new features built to help professionals increase their productivity, deliver critical business outcomes, and ultimately earn more on the platform. With our Spring 2024 Update, we’re empowering all of our customers to “Achieve Hire Intelligence.”

Meet Uma™, Upwork’s Mindful AI

Today we’re excited to introduce Uma, Upwork’s Mindful AI. “Mindful AI” on Upwork means AI experiences designed and developed in alignment with our AI principles: human-centered, accountable, responsible, transparent, and trustworthy. You can read more about our approach to mindful AI here. Built on top of industry-leading large language models (LLMs) and customized with Upwork platform data, we’re developing Uma to underpin our entire platform and, increasingly, serve as a conversational Upwork companion to our customers.

Today, Uma powers a number of key experiences in the hiring and matching process that are critical to clients and freelancers discovering each other, getting started, and completing more high-quality work, including:

  • Best Match insights (now available in beta) — hire on Upwork faster and more confidently with insights that quickly identify the right person for the job;
  • Job Post Generator — attract the right freelancers and save time with fully customizable, AI-generated job post drafts;
  • Proposal Tips surface the most applicable skills for the job and write winning proposals;
  • Upwork Chat Pro leveraging GPT-4, complete repetitive tasks faster and have a springboard for new ideas as well as a second set of eyes for reviewing work.

It’s still early days, but we’ve already seen signals of what Uma can do for our customers.

We are also developing Uma into an Upwork companion with an easy-to-use conversational interface that interacts with clients and freelancers throughout their Upwork journey. Starting today, we are rolling out  Uma on the Upwork homepage so that customers can begin interacting with the technology. Uma will continue to learn, gain context, and get smarter and more precise over time. Eventually, Uma will serve as a constant, intelligent companion for our customers, helping businesses and freelancers every step of the way across the entire Upwork experience.

Today we are focused on supercharging discovery, search, and match with AI, but our vision is far bigger. With Uma, we will expand into AI-powered collaboration and project management, fundamentally reimagining the full Upwork experience, driving better business outcomes for customers, and truly shaping a future of work that works better for everyone.

Better resources for freelancers

We know freelancers on our platform are always looking for new ways to elevate their skills, increase their efficiency, and improve the quality of their work. Last year, we began assembling a robust collection of AI-powered apps and offers for freelancers alongside new AI-focused educational content. Today, we’re expanding access to new tools and resources designed to further help freelance professionals on Upwork stand out, get hired, produce their best work, and ultimately, increase their earnings.

  • Freelancer Plus Upwork’s subscription offering now comes with exclusive access to Upwork Chat Pro, powered by Uma;
  • Boosted Profiles — the most recent addition to Upwork’s suite of ad products helps freelancers get noticed;
  • Portfolio (now available in beta) — an upgraded experience for displaying work samples on profile pages helps freelancers showcase their talent more effectively;
  • Upwork Coaching Services — get guidance from expert Upwork coaches to gain a competitive edge, now available to all freelancers through Upwork Academy;
  • New industry-leading third-party apps and offers — GoDaddy, Dropbox, Notion and iStock by Getty Images equip freelancers with the latest cutting-edge tools and services they need to deliver their highest-quality work.

The range of tools and resources for professionals on our marketplace—offered by both Upwork and our partners— continues to grow, empowering a talent community on Upwork that collectively earned over US$3.8 billion in 2023 alone.

Access to skilled global talent across a range of categories

We’ve also unveiled two new ways for businesses to access the skilled expertise they need to fulfill their most pressing needs and boldest initiatives.

Industry-first instant consultations allow businesses—from small and medium-sized businesses to large enterprises—to meet with skilled professionals within minutes and receive immediate, expert advice on a work project or business need. Upwork is home to freelance professionals covering more than 10,000 skills, so businesses can get guidance on virtually anything in the world of skilled work, like building generative AI models, full stack development and native mobile development, data science, prompt engineering or even social media marketing.

Through the newly established Upwork Partner Experts program, our array of partners can provide their customers direct access to a curated set of trusted, expert freelancers deeply experienced in working with that partner’s technologies. GoDaddy, BigCommerce, and Constant Contact join existing partners like OpenAI and ClickUp that are now able to connect their customers with exactly the right freelancer on Upwork, at exactly the moment they need to get complex, specific work done.

Scalable talent solutions for enterprises

Against the backdrop of an increasingly complex landscape of specialized workforce management tools and platforms that hiring managers have to navigate, we’re making it easier for our largest clients to use Upwork within their existing workforce management ecosystems as they scale and optimize their contingent workforces.

Following the announcement of our inaugural vendor management system (VMS) partnerships in December 2023, we are rapidly expanding the ways in which businesses can tap into and leverage the global pool of skilled freelance professionals found on Upwork, adding Workday VNDLY and KellyOCG as Enterprise Suite partners, with KellyOCG becoming our first managed service provider (MSP) partner.

Additionally, we are improving the customer experience within Enterprise Suite with new enhancements. Contract audit reporting provides prebuilt, customizable reports with the information Enterprise clients need on hiring history and spend, and classification compliance improvements include real-time status updates on classification determinations that help clients quickly, easily and accurately classify worker relationships.

Innovating to achieve hire intelligence

With our Spring 2024 Update, we’re showcasing an extensive list of products and solutions that will transform how work gets done, while arming freelancers and businesses with the resources they need to do their best work today.  

As AI continues to rapidly evolve, we see an opportunity for our customers to embrace innovative new technologies and harness them to work smarter. We see tremendous possibilities ahead as we continue delivering on our promise to help people get work done better, faster, and more efficiently on Upwork than anywhere else.

This is only the beginning. In the year ahead, we’ll build on today’s updates by unleashing the power of Uma, Upwork’s Mindful AI, as well as continuing to innovate and optimize other dimensions of the world’s work marketplace on behalf of our customers. We can’t wait to share what else we have in store.

To see Upwork’s latest innovations and solutions, visit: https://www.upwork.com/updates/spring-2024.

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Dave Bottoms

Dave Bottoms leads Upwork's Marketplace organization, a global team responsible for the core Talent Marketplace, search & discovery, ads & monetization, core mobile experiences, new product innovation, economics and analytics. Dave brings more than 20 years of experience in Silicon Valley to Upwork. He joined the company in 2022 from Meta, where he led the Ads Manager Platform and Experiences team responsible for the flagship enterprise product used by millions of small businesses and global advertisers to drive valuable outcomes across Facebook and Instagram. Prior to Meta, Dave led the self-service customer growth team at Dropbox, and prior to that led multiple teams at Yahoo,including the Homepage, Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports, and International. Dave holds a BA in English literature from Denison University.

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