On August 28, the Digital October center, as a part of the Knowledge Stream project, and with support of "1C-Bitrix" company held a lecture by Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk — a place where people can offer and get online work.
Gary Swart shared his perspective on the future of work and how a massive disruption called "online work" — driven by globalization, technology and the economy — is changing outdated notions of work and the workplace. Today, due to advancements in technology (connectivity as well as communication and collaboration platforms), there is no reason to bring the worker to the work. That was a work model born of the Industrial Age.
Now, in the Information Age, online work is bringing the work to the worker. Online work empowers businesses — startups especially — to work with the best talent in the world on demand. It also allows contractors to work whenever, wherever and however they want, on the projects of their choosing and at the rate they set. The future of work has arrived.
Online Work: The Future of Work
Online work is changing the world on a global scale, allowing people to hire and work whenever and wherever they want. With technological advances — especially in communication and virtual collaboration — the workplace of today looks completely different from the traditional, industrial-age model. Now, people can work remotely on the same team (and on the same projects) without being in the same office, or even the same country. Employers can find the best person for a given job, and with online work can access the right talent at the right time to meet their needs, which eliminates the issue of not being able to find local talent. Tools such as Skype and other teleconferencing options, as well as cloud-based services, allow businesses to share information and collaborate without geographic limitations.
This shift is changing how businesses operate: companies are tapping into flexible talent, outside their local geography. Similar to the rise of Software-as-a-Service, we are seeing the emergence of Labor-as-a-Service. In addition, they are able to tap into this talent directly, instead of using recruiters to attract talent or employees to incentivize referrals of talent. Especially in the world of social media, direct access to people is becoming the standard, so this trend will only grow stronger. Still, even though online work has already seen rapid growth, we believe we are only scratching the surface.
We predict the online work market will reach $1 billion by the end of 2012, and that 1 in 3 people will be hired online by 2020. This new way of working is ideal for startups and small businesses. Online work allows startups and small businesses to stay lean and agile, hiring talent on demand depending on their specific needs at any given time. This also allows them to scale up and down extremely quickly as needed. With online hiring, startups and small businesses can compete on a level playing field with much bigger companies when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.
Russia's role in online work
Russia's presence on oDesk has been growing rapidly in recent years, with particularly strong growth in technical work. Gary Swart shared data and insights into Russia's presence on oDesk, for both the client and the contractor sides.