The Internet is the main driving force of long-tail markets, as suppliers of these more unique items are now able to tap into buyers via online marketplaces (such as eBay and Amazon). But what if the long tail phenomenon spread to a more advanced market, one that would bring a broader economic impact? In other words, what if it spread to the world of work? As oDesk approached $1 billion cumulative spent hiring via our site, I wondered if the long tail was taking hold in our online workplace. With the Internet opening up access to businesses and professionals worldwide, I hypothesized that plotting oDesk skills data would show a long tail.
Those following the U.S. jobs reports closely are experiencing whiplash after the March numbers were released last Friday. Following February's positive report, March results showed the lowest rate of labor force participation (63.3%) since 1979 — turning optimism into depression. According to the March report, almost half a million people simply dropped out of the workforce. What’s happening? We decided to look at our job listings and identify skills that could represent opportunity for frustrated job seekers.
A nationwide blackout in India recently left some 600 million people without electricity. Given that a large number of oDesk contractors are from India—it is the second-most active country by hours worked—oDesk Staff Economist John Horton set out to see if the effects of the blackout could be seen in our data. Here is his analysis.
Online work provides a huge opportunity for people to grow their careers. After 36 months on oDesk, contractors earn an average of 190% more than they earned during their first month on the platform. The growth curve is dramatic: oDesk contractors increase their earnings by an average of 60% during the first year alone. In addition to tenure on oDesk, we looked at two significant factors that accelerate earnings growth for contractors on the platform: education and prior (non-oDesk) work experience.