All Things oDesk
February 15, 2011 by Erica Benton

We released today the SMB Trend Report: a survey of data from our more than 1 million contractors and employers. What did we discover? Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are using remote contract workers in record numbers as part of core growth and staffing strategies, long-term contract hiring is on the rise, and contractors are building careers around their contract work relationships.


Growth of the SMB in a Borderless Economy
Today's SMBs are no longer limited to just their local area to build their workforce. Once reserved for the Fortune 500, the global talent pool is easily accessible to companies of all sizes, thanks to recent advancements in technology. oDesk alone represents nearly 1 million remote contractors, based in 150 countries spread throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Today, any business can use online tools to identify and retain top talent, regardless of the workers' location.

Growth of Long-Term Contracting and Contractor Teams
Since 2008, SMBs have increasingly turned to long-term contractors and contractor teams. According to the report:

  • The number of employers hiring contractors on an on-going basis has increased 800 percent
  • Contractor assignments lasting longer than six months have risen by 540 percent
  • The number of SMBs tapping contractor teams of 10 or more has increased by 214 percent

Contractors provide a compelling alternative to the costs associated with full-time, traditional hiring -- an option that any business owner with an eye on the bottom line can appreciate.

Growth of Skilled and Highly Paid Contractors
The SMB move from traditional hiring to the use of an on-demand workforce creates a need for highly skilled professional contractors. In many cases, contractors have developed a career by marketing their services to the same SMBs on an ongoing basis.

Contractors are also hiring other contractors, building specialized teams and managing the workflow of multiple contracts. In this way, career contracting is not only enabling individuals to thrive and SMBs to grow, but it's blurring the lines and enabling career contractors to build their own SMBs from the ground up.

Curious about the workforce trends for SMBs and contractors? Check out the SMB Trend Report here. What's your take on the SMB-contractor relationship? Let us know in the comments below!

Erica Benton

Social Media Guru

Erica Benton joined oDesk in 2009, bringing with her nearly a decade of small business and freelance experience, and a love of all things social. Her passion for startups, technology and marketing was born during her tenure with Kulesa Faul Public Relations, while she learned the art of entrepreneurship firsthand through Equine Alternatives, a business she founded while earning her Bachelor of Science degree from… read more