The data for the first half of 2013 and 2014 of Elance-oDesk (EoD), the US-based online workplaces elance.com and odesk.com, shows a 45 per cent YoY increase in registrations from Singaporean businesses. The city-nation has also been ranked as the 10th largest country on an absolute basis and fifth largest country when adjusted per capita hiring on Elance-oDesk (based on client spend in Q2 2014).

Hence, it is but natural for EoD to expand its business operations in Singapore. The company is now scouting for a Country Manager to help it raise awareness of online work, bring more clients to its platforms and support in exploring the opportunities of working with independent freelancers in “The Talent Cloud”.

Kjetil J Olsen, VP, International, Elance-oDesk

Kjetil J Olsen, VP, International, Elance-oDesk

“Singaporean businesses are gaining access to highly skilled talent and are able to easily scale up and down as business demand dictates. We’ve seen tremendous organic growth in Singapore and anticipate the region continuing on this trajectory. In the past year alone, we’ve seen 60 per cent growth in Singaporean businesses’ payments to freelancers (Q2 2014 vs Q2 2013),” said Kjetil J Olsen, VP, International, Elance-oDesk.

Elance-oDesk already has two startup mobilisers on the ground in Singapore who are focussed on attracting startups and SMEs. Meanwhile, the new Country Manager will be asked to:

  • Evangelise the benefits of online hiring and Elance-oDesk to potential clients through event and meetup participation and presentations
  • Recruit startups, agencies and SMEs to utilise freelancers on Elance.com and oDesk.com
  • Collaborate with a local PR agency and HQ communication team to raise awareness of Elance-oDesk through coverage in leading media
  • Develop and implement a strategy for attracting, acquiring and engaging prospects, customers and influencers via compelling, useful and distinctive content
  • Source and speak at third-party events and conferences on tactical and strategic opportunities of hiring online talent
  • Develop and work with a network of partners through which Elance-oDesk can attract clients
  • Coordinate, design and conduct on-site workshops, trainings and on-boarding sessions to introduce businesses to Elance-oDesk
  • Build relationships with emerging and established clients, and collect and provide input on how Elance-oDesk can continue to improve its online platforms and offerings
  • Identify and work with local influencers that can help evangelise Elance-oDesk to local businesses and entrepreneurs.

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EoD feels that the quality of talent found in Singapore is among the best in the world, and can absolutely cater to global standards. According to Olsen, Singaporean freelancers, particularly those who specialise in IT and design work, have earned a very good reputation on Elance.com and oDesk.com. “Based on our rating systems we can see they are praised for their work quality, being on schedule and understanding the needs of their clients. We see professionals choosing to work this way because they want access to interesting, relevant and well-paid jobs that enable them to have freedom and flexibility. Given their great reputation, one of our goals with being locally present is to increase the number of Singaporean professionals working this way,” he said.

As more and more people use the internet to hire people, “work”, according to EoD, “is being re-imagined”. The company expects that more than US$900 million worth of work will be done via its websites in 2014. “This is only just the beginning — Elance-oDesk sees the opportunity for tens of billions of dollars of work to be done online in the future. This translates into a tremendous opportunity for Singaporean businesses that are moving faster than ever and focussed on agility,” said Olsen.

He claimed that 25 per cent of the jobs posted on Elance-oDesk fill within 24 hours.