Freelance platforms: overview and main players
Global digitalization underpins the rise of freelance platforms as marketplaces where firms and individuals can hire temporary or even permanent workforce.
For businesses, working with freelancers provides workplace flexibility, cost savings, and lower barriers for accessing a global pool of professionals.
Such freelance platforms allow people to be their own bosses, enjoy geographical and time work flexibility, as well as earn some extra money.
The number of freelancers grows rapidly, and, as a consequence, the number of platforms also increases. Nevertheless, concerns about freelancers’ social security complicates further expansion of the freelance employment model.
Although there are plenty of different freelance platforms, their penetration is still quite modest and capitalization of industry leaders is small. Not to mention that most of the companies remain private. Little empirical research has been conducted in this area.
Among public industry leaders there are Upwork (USA), Freelancer (Australia), and Freelance (France). Among private companies Fiverr and Toptal stand out. The main distinctions among platforms are the target audience, fees system and, in rare cases, geographical segmentation.
Known industry leaders are still unprofitable according to publicly available information as of end 2018 but this is likely to change with further growth.