Elance - Freelancer Community Characteristics
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While it’s impossible to make perfectly reliable assessments of large communities, when you are actively involved them, certain impressions become clear over time. In this final topic I’ll share my observations with you about the Elance freelancer community, and also help you understand the freelancer community by looking at some of its characteristics with the help of numbers provided by Elance itself.
Elsewhere in the guide, I showed you how the projects on Elance are split among the eight work categories available on the site. Elance also makes it possible to view how many provider profiles are active in each category; this is shown in Figure 3.
Note that these numbers appear to be based on the contractor’s primary work category (since many people work in multiple areas, and the overall numbers are too small to account for this duplication).
If you compare the chart above to Figure 1, it becomes readily apparent that there are large discrepancies between the percentages of projects on Elance and the percentages of contractors. Specifically, you’ll see that while Web & Programming encompasses 47% of listed projects, only 25% of providers are active in that area; in contrast, Writing & Translation makes up 15% of projects but accounts for 24% of providers. Basic supply and demand dictates the results of these figures: there is a lot more competition for writing and translation projects than for web and programming work.
Even worse than this is the Admin Support area, which represents just 7% of projects but a whopping 18% of contractors. I’ve seen first-hand just how many people compete for each of those projects! This reflects the increasing numbers of relatively unskilled workers coming into the online freelancing marketplace, fighting over a quantity of low-end jobs that is not growing nearly as quickly.
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