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More SMBs Are Depending on Online Workers

Posted on 6.15.2012

Online employment platform Elance has released the results of its annual global survey on small business hiring, revealing a continued shift toward hiring contingent workers, with businesses turning to online talent as an indispensable employment strategy.

“These results are further proof that the online workforce is powering the economic recovery and support our prediction that 1 out of every 3 people hired in 2020 will be hired online,” says Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance. “Online employment is expanding as a core strategy for companies around the world as they realize the tremendous benefits of hiring talent on-demand.”

The Online Road to Recovery
Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the small business respondents plan to hire more online contractors this year than in 2011. The increase is driven by the surge in professionals available online, as 40 percent of companies surveyed claim they can find better talent online than what is available locally. By employing professionals online, businesses are able to stay agile and outperform the competition by hiring the skills they need just-in-time and on-demand.

The New Competitive Edge
According to the survey, 84 percent of businesses state that online hiring gives them an advantage over competitors, through significant improvements in flexibility, meaningful cost savings and increased productivity. Nearly 70 percent of businesses experience faster times-to-hire; overall cost savings are averaging 53 percent, and 55 percent of businesses are able to access talent not otherwise available.

Prophecy for an Online Work World
The next five years will be a tipping point for virtual work as small businesses predict the majority of their workforce (54 percent) will be online professionals. Web programming, graphic design and content development continue to remain the top three sought-after skills by businesses.

Europe Even More Bullish
European small businesses came out even stronger in support of online work, with 88 percent claiming it gives them an advantage over their competitors, and 45 percent stating they find better talent online than locally. Companies in Europe are also at the front of the curve with their prediction that 58 percent of their workforce will be online professionals within five years.

About the Survey
Elance conducted this online customer survey from May 21 to May 28, 2012, and more than 1,500 businesses participated.

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