REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 9, 2012) - oDesk®, the world's largest1 and fastest-growing online workplace, today released its Fall 2012 Online Work Survey, conducted by independent research firm Genesis Research Associates. The global study of 2,839 businesses that have hired online2 captured experiences and predictions regarding hiring and the future of work. Findings reveal a belief that "the majority of contractors will be working online by 2020." For full survey details, including an infographic, please visit the survey website here.

The study's key findings also indicate that:

  • 58% of respondents plan to at least double their spending on online workers in 2013
  • 94% agree with the statement: "Within 10 years, the majority of businesses will have blended teams of online and on-premise workers"
  • 95% agree that in the future, getting hired will be "more dependent on having the right skills than on location"
  • Three-quarters say it would have been difficult to hire a local, on-premise worker to fill the need for which they hired their online worker

"Businesses that have tried hiring and managing workers online are voting with their wallets for the workplace of the future, in which blended teams of on-premise and online workers come together to get results," said oDesk CEO Gary Swart. "This study highlights how important it is for companies to find the best talent, regardless of geography -- and how access to online workers boosts the job market in the process. This is outstanding news for the millions of skilled contractors out there and the companies looking to hire them."

Online work boosts the job market, bringing "lift, not shift" to the economy
In addition to interest in online work, the survey revealed 'lift' and not 'shift,' meaning that online work boosts job opportunities rather than shifting employment away from on-site workers. In fact, 83% of businesses indicated that they would not have hired locally if online workers were unavailable. Instead, most would have been required to work longer hours, or projects would have been cancelled or delayed.

Work teams of the future are expected to blend remote online workers with on-site employees
64% of survey respondents revealed that they were "actively looking for a new way to hire" when they first hired an online worker, because existing employment models did not meet their business needs. As online work continues to become an integral strategy for the businesses surveyed, respondents indicated that in the future, teams of workers will consist of both on-premise workers and online contractors. In support of these findings, oDesk also noted from its internal database that the number of project management hours -- online workers managing other online workers -- has grown from less than 1,000 hours in Q3 2009 to approximately 50,000 hours in Q3 2012.

Additionally, 91% of survey respondents agreed that "in the future, employees will bring their favorite online workers with them as part of their own team" when they start new jobs.

Talent is "very important," but often difficult and expensive to find locally
9 in 10 respondents (90%) agreed that the ability to hire people with the right skills when they need them is "very important" to their business' success.

However, 70% agreed with the statement "traditional hiring methods are painful." Asked what contributes to this pain, respondents indicated "difficulty of finding local talent" was almost on par with "expense" (30% and 33%, respectively).

Presumably because online hiring removes geographic barriers, costly recruitment efforts, and time-consuming placement processes for on-site employees, the study found that respondents believe online work helps their businesses:

  • Be more competitive (88% agree)
  • Launch products faster (85% agree)
  • Grow revenues (80% agree)

Internal oDesk data also shows skyrocketing growth in demand for non-technical skills
In addition to commissioning the survey, oDesk examined related hiring data from its internal database. In doing so, oDesk found that technical skills continue to enjoy high demand (web programming drew the most hours worked in Q3 2012, at more than 1.3 million), but the fastest-growing skills3 over the last 12 months are non-technical. They include:

  • HR/Payroll (272% YoY growth)
  • Statistical Analysis (190% YoY growth)
  • Customer Service & Support (132% YoY growth)
  • Print Design (130% YoY growth)

Survey methodology
The survey was conducted online by Genesis Research Associates on behalf of oDesk in Fall 2012, among 2,839 businesses that had hired one or more online contractors recently. The sample was pulled from oDesk's global database of clients using the oDesk platform. The estimated sampling error is +/- 1.8. For more on the survey, full materials are available at, or by contacting

About oDesk
oDesk ( is the world's largest online workplace, enabling businesses and contractors to work together without geographic limits.

By using technology to remove the barriers of traditional hiring, oDesk's platform aligns businesses' talent needs with contractors' desire to work when and where they want, on projects of their choosing. More than 495,000 clients and 2.5 million contractors are registered on oDesk.

oDesk is a registered trademark of oDesk Corporation. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

1 A September 2012 report by Staffing Industry Analysts ranks oDesk the largest "online staffing" platform based on estimated 2011 gross services.

2 On oDesk.

3 Based on year-over-year growth in hours worked on oDesk, Q3 2012 versus Q3 2011, from oDesk's database.