Online staffing firms and marketplaces like Elance, oDesk and Freelancer.com continue to report substantial growth in jobs posted, jobs placed and money paid to service providers. Examples include:
oDesk recently announced over $1 billion has been spent on its platform since its inception. They also report having 4 million registered freelancers.
Elance recently reported that over $750 million has been spent on its platform and they are over 3 million registered freelancers.
Freelancer.com recently released their list of the 50 fastest growing jobs on their site. They claim about $1.2 billion has been spent on their site and they have over 8 million registered freelancers.
According to Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), there are over 67 firms in the "talent-as-service" industry and they generated about $1 billion collectively in revenue in 2012. SIA is forecasting the industry will grow to $5 billion over the next few years.
One of the more interesting aspects of this business is the role startups play in the hiring of online talent. According to oDesk, 58% of of businesses hiring on oDesk classify themselves as startups.
It's also clear that startups do much of the hiring on the other online platforms.
But larger firms are starting to discover the value talent-as-service provides. This means continued growth for this industry as big firms increasingly turn to online marketplaces for just-in-time access to freelancers.