By Christian Smith
Freelancing is no longer just for young, tech-savvy millennials who want more personal freedom, said Stephane Kasriel, the CEO of newly-public freelancing platform Upwork.
"We are seeing definitely a shift of the more traditional professional verticals ー the consultants, the accounts, the recruiters, and the lawyers who are also moving online because they get access to more interesting opportunities than what they get in their local job market," Kasriel said Wednesday in an interview on Cheddar.
Upwork went public on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. Shares ($UPWK) soared in their market debut, closing up more than 40 percent from their IPO price of $15 per share.
Freelancers can use Upwork's portal to bid for contracts on projects posted by thousands of potential employers. Industries on the platform range from accounting to web design. The company charges users a fee based on the amount he or she has charged a client.
Upwork estimates that the remote work industry ー which is mostly freelance ー is currently worth $560 billion, and the search for that work is largely not happening through online platforms. But the industry will continue to grow quickly, thanks to changing demographics in the workforce, Kasriel said.
"Over 50 percent of the U.S. workforce will be doing some amount of freelancing by 2027," he added. A lot of that will happen as Baby Boomers, the generation least likely to freelance, retire.
Upwork is already seeing the fruits of the shifting labor market, and Kasriel said the company adds 10,000 new users daily.
The company generated $202.6 million in revenue in 2017, up from $164.4 million the year before. Over that period, Upwork said it facilitated 2 million projects between approximately 375,000 freelancers and 475,000 clients.
For full interview click here.