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Gold Stevie Award Winner 2021, Click to Enter The 2022 StevieĀ® Awards for Great Employers

Name of Organization/Company: Upwork, San Francisco, CA USA
Category: HR Technology Solution Provider of the Year

Entry Title: Upwork


Upwork is the world’s work marketplace. The company connects highly-skilled independent talent and businesses and helps them build trusted, long-term relationships. Their talent community earned over $2.3 billion on Upwork in 2020 across more than 10,000 skills.

2020 was a watershed year for Upwork. Upwork welcomed a new CEO, Hayden Brown, as well as a new Chief Product and Experience Officer, Sam Bright. Together with the entire Upwork team, Upwork introduced new products to support customers of all sizes including Project Catalog™ and Talent Scout™.

In the fourth quarter, the company achieved their highest year-over-year growth since going public. A year into the pandemic, organizations are embracing remote work to unleash the potential of a global workforce of independent talent that gives them the agility, skills and efficiency they need. Upwork’s results demonstrate that they are optimally positioned to capture the exciting opportunity ahead.

To kick off 2021, Upwork unveiled a new industry category, the work marketplace. As part of the work marketplace launch, Upwork unveiled a new brand identity and brand advertising campaign to help freelancers and companies understand what is possible in this new world of work.

As the events of 2020 threatened the financial security of many around the world, Upwork continued to increase their speed of innovation in delivering the tools and technology at the core of their mission to create economic opportunity so people have better lives. Through enhancements to their product experience and offerings, Upwork helped their customers gain greater control of their business and independent careers.

Notably, the company rolled out several new features within its product suite to stay at pace with client and talent needs:

Project Catalog: Helps remote freelancers to build a powerful new income stream, in minutes. Clients can browse a curated collection of pre-scoped projects and purchase one instantly.

Talent Scout: A recruiting solution that connects companies with pre-vetted expert talent selected by specialized recruiters from the Upwork platform.

Faster Payouts for Hourly Contracts: Allows Top Rated talent and agencies working on hourly contracts to access their earnings faster – an important benefit as many individuals felt the financial impacts of the recession sparked by the pandemic.

Direct Contracts: Creates new opportunities for non-Upwork clients to have access to features like escrow services, dispute assistance, simplified contract management, and expedited payments.

Added features and capabilities to our Bring Your Own Talent solution: Allows clients to onboard both Upwork and non-Upwork freelancers onto our platform for global unified billing, reporting, and overall contract management.

Diversity Badges: Introduced diversity badges to enable diverse talent to surface their certifications in the experience and help Enterprise clients build more inclusive teams.

While most see 2020 as the year when people figured out how to work remotely, Upwork sees a much bigger trend emerging. There is a new openness across the spectrum of businesses to rethink not just “where” work happens, but to rethink “who” does the work and “how” it gets done. Companies realize that much of their critical work needs a more flexible, dynamic, skilled, and efficient solution - it needs to be done by independent talent.

Upwork is at the center of this hybrid work revolution.

The company’s fourth quarter revenue grew 32% year-over-year to reach $106 million, and fourth quarter Gross Services Volume grew 33% year-over-year to reach $728 million. This is Upwork’s best year-over-year growth performance since going public and was driven by their aggressive execution during the pandemic to enable their customers with a better way to work.

Upwork knows from experience that the ability to build trusted, long-term relationships on their platform further differentiates the company from what happens in other parts of the freelance economy. It is the unique characteristics of freelancing on Upwork that enables companies to change their entire operating models to rely on the independent talent on the Upwork platform, and to completely reconsider not just with whom they work but also how they get core work done - gaining incredible agility, productivity, and efficiency in the process.