The Work Marketplace: Our Promise To Help You Achieve More
2020 was a breakout year for remote work and, as a result, the way we work has changed. We’re in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime, tectonic shift in how work gets done, and there’s no looking back. Upwork has a vision for something bigger—a place where independent professionals and companies can achieve more together.
It’s time for Upwork to introduce a new industry category. We call it the work marketplace.
We spoke with Upwork CEO Hayden Brown to hear how the vision for the work marketplace came to be:
“I’ve heard incredible stories from the Upwork community that reinforce to me how important our work is. They also drive home how much Upwork differs from traditional staffing firms and ‘gig’ solutions for freelancing, which perpetuate transactional relationships and commoditize freelancers,” she said.
“We have always envisioned and enabled a better way to work, with freelancers at the heart of every business, doing critical work that goes against the old freelancer stereotype and challenges the traditional notions of what makes a workforce and how work gets done.”
In short: Upwork sees work differently. And now, we have a bolder way to talk about what’s happening on Upwork and what it makes possible for independent professionals and businesses of all sizes.
What is the work marketplace?
The work marketplace is a place where independent professionals find great opportunities with desirable clients, and their clients can immediately scale and grow with access to the on-demand global workforce of highly skilled independent talent. This new term speaks to the full potential of what happens on Upwork—and what Upwork makes possible.
What does this mean for your business or career? Here’s what Hayden had to say:
“A work marketplace isn’t limited by small transactions or small thinking, and it’s not one sided about clients shopping for talent,” she said. “It’s a coveted home where companies and talent can tap into the limitless possibilities for how work gets done. It enables outcomes from small to big—and everything in between.”
The work marketplace brings independent professionals and companies together, fostering meaningful relationships that offer:
The potential to grow your business in ways that only emerge when you have a trusted and scalable team
The potential to gain control over your work and your life, to embrace your passions without compromise.
“Introducing the work marketplace to address changing customer needs is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Brown. “We know there are years of innovation ahead, starting with the products we are launching this year, to fully realize our work marketplace vision.”
It’s time for a new perspective
Companies have had to get creative over the past year, faced with resource limitations and teams that are already stretched thin. Many have learned first-hand the value of independent talent to reclaim time, access specialized expertise, get projects back on track, and prevent burnout. In a recent survey of Upwork clients, 79% of those who increased their work with independent professionals during COVID-19 said the increase was permanent.
At the same time, many professionals have experienced what it’s like to have more control over their work life for the first time—and they don’t plan to go back. Of the 9.5 million Americans who tried freelancing in 2020, 60% say there is no amount of money that would convince them to take a traditional job.
As we supported the Upwork community through these changes, we also:
Held conversations with clients, talent, and business leaders
Conducted extensive research into our customers and the broader industry
Re-evaluated not just Upwork’s vision but the impact our work marketplace can have—and our potential on the road ahead
The result is a fresh perspective on what Upwork is and how we help individuals and businesses attain freedom and control over their work. You’ll see some of this reflected in Upwork’s new brand and advertising campaign, but it’s rooted in the experiences we’ve designed to help you reach your goals more effectively.
How can Upwork help you reach your goals?
While work looks different for every business and every project, meaningful relationships are the bedrock of success on Upwork. Our work marketplace allows for a wide range of possibilities—no matter what you want to accomplish.
Post a job and hire a pro. Talent Marketplace™ is the long-standing solution the Upwork community is likely the most familiar with, where clients and independent talent go to connect with each other. We’ve designed it so that:
Companies can connect with the professionals they need and build a Virtual Talent Bench™ they can count on to help them get ahead.
Professionals can find work they love to do with projects they’re interested in and clients they’re excited to work with.
Browse and buy projects.Project Catalog™, launched earlier this year, features predefined projects that can get started in just a few clicks. We’ve designed it so that:
Companies can access the talent they need to quickly expand their capabilities, knowing up front what to expect and what it will take to complete the work.
Professionals can package up their most sought-after skills into purchasable projects, setting their own terms, price, scope, and timeline.
Scale your organization. Upwork also offers Enterprise Suite, a powerful platform for hiring, managing programs, and scaling talent that has been cleared for legal compliance. We’ve designed it so that:
Companies can think bigger, innovate faster, and empower everyone across the organization to work strategically with independent talent.
You can focus on work that matters knowing that onboarding, compliance, and payroll are already taken care of.
The default expectations around work have changed. The traditional boundaries that influenced how companies think about and source talent are breaking down. And when independent talent and companies join forces on Upwork, the impossible becomes possible.
Amy Sept (@amysept) is an independent writer, editor, and content marketing strategist who’s dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes navigate the future of work. As a Canadian military spouse and slow traveller, she has a lot of hands-on experience with remote work, productivity hacks, and learning how to "go with the flow."
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