A report released recently by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) found that 10% of businesses are interested in hiring through online staffing platforms like Elance-oDesk, up from 3% in 2013.

The report mirror’s Elance-oDesk’s growth over the past 12 months, up 29% from May 2013 - May 2014. They estimate that total U.S. spending will reach $500 million for 2014 with total global spend reaching $930 million.

These online platforms are not just growing in size. They’re also becoming more sophisticated as specialized agencies and private marketplaces are developed to cater to high-level freelancers who might otherwise be wary of finding work online.

At Freelancers Union, we’re curious about the types of businesses that have decided to find freelancers online. What quality of clients are they? Do these businesses use these platforms as just another way to find freelancers they already use, or are we seeing a fundamental shift in the way these companies think about their workforce?

Have you used these platforms or any online staffing agency? What types of clients have you encountered, and are they new to hiring freelancers?

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