January 29, 2009 by Amit Bakshi

The week before last, we had some fun with numbers by calculating which countries offer the best “value for money” in providing freelance work.  This week, we thought we’d try to answer a different question – who works the hardest?  To figure that out, we again dug through our data on individuals’ work activity on oDesk.

One straightforward way to measure hard work is to look at how much people are working.  So, we began by looking at the average number of hours worked by service providers in each of our top 7 countries in 2008, total and per day.

Hours/active provider in 2008
Hours/day worked in 2008*
Russia 399 1 4.9 2
Ukraine 308 2 4.5 3
India 266 3 5.0 1
Pakistan 241 4 4.0 4
Philippines 218 5 3.4 5
Canada 142 6 3.1 6
United States 89 7 2.8 7

*Total hours worked by active service providers in each country divided by man-days worked

Russian providers top the list in terms of hours per year, and came in 2nd for hours per day.

There are several reasons why some providers may work more than others.  Providers with higher customer satisfaction scores may work more hours because they spend less time looking for work (Russians’ average feedback score of 4.30 falls in the middle of the spectrum of these 7 countries).  Similarly, providers working on longer-term projects tend to work more hours than those working on shorter gigs.  Finally, providers with lower hourly rates tend to work more hours (Russia’s average hourly rate of $16.86 is towards the more expensive side of the spectrum).

In addition to the number of hours worked, we also considered individuals’ efforts in qualification tests.  These tests allow providers to demonstrate proficiency in various skills to the businesses that hire them.  Presumably, those taking more tests, and scoring higher, are working harder.

# Tests taken per service provider
Average Test Percentile Rank
Russia 2.5 1 56.6 1
Philippines 2.4 2 41.0 5T
Ukraine 2.4 3
53.2 4
Pakistan 2.2 4 37.4 7
India 2.1 5 41.0 5T
Canada 2.0 6 54.5 2
United States 1.9 7 53.5 3

Russians providers rank first for both the number of tests taken and their scores on qualification tests.

Dmitry Sokurenko=The Russians came in ranked #1 for three out of the four metrics we considered, and thus it appears that perhaps Russians do work the hardest.    So, next time you’ve got a really tough assignment, consider hiring a Russian like top-rated Ruby-on-Rails developer Dmitry Sokurenko (click photo to see profile).  Of course, this analysis needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  Individual differences between providers far outweigh national differences, so you need to find the right provider for your needs.

If you had fun with this analysis (we did), and want to do more, visit the oConomy, which is a goldmine of interesting statistics on outsourcing. For example, take a look at our Outsourcing to Russia page for more complete stats on Russia.  Summary stats can also be found in our recently created 2008 Russia Outsourcing Statistics Report.

Amit Bakshi

Vice President of Marketing at LawPivot

Amit Bakshi is the Vice President of Marketing at LawPivot. He formerly served as Product Marketing Manager for oDesk.