oConomy
December 13, 2007 by Guest Blogger

When people think of outsourcing, they often think of India. Or Russia. Perhaps the Philippines, or Bolivia.

When oDesk was founded, the idea was to connect small- to medium-sized businesses around the world with providers worldwide who could provide IT services at competitive rates. All around our site are images of globes and mentions of the words “global,” “international,” “worldwide.” Certainly a great number of our providers are international.

So it came as a surprise when we looked at recent data and discovered that U.S.- and Canadian-based providers are the fastest growing group on oDesk (when these two countries are added together).

How did we measure this?

us-canada.gif

We looked at the number of providers working over a set time period grouped by country. When we last looked at this data, the U.S. held spot number two in terms of the number of timesheets submitted by providers. Add the U.S. and Canada together, and bam, you’ve passed India.

What’s interesting, though, is then to look at the number of hours providers worked each day. Our providers in Asia continue to log in over 50% of the total hours logged each day, while U.S.-based providers log a lower percentage. What this suggests is that while providers in the U.S. are quickly joining our network, they are likely supplementing their incomes with jobs from oDesk (and thus not working a full workday on our site), while providers in Asia, including India, are more likely to be working full-time for oDesk projects.

Still, as U.S.- and Canadian-based providers continue to accrue feedback and work history on oDesk, I wonder whether they will slowly begin to switch to becoming full-time freelancers and we’ll thus see a growth in the number of hours logged by North American providers. We’ve already got some full-time North American-based freelancers on our site — take Keith S., for instance — who’ve left typical jobs and have never looked back.

What do you think? Do you see U.S. as the next outsourcing hub?