PH firms recognize rising value of freelancers | Inquirer Business

PH firms recognize rising value of freelancers

Traffic conditions in Metro Manila have become so bad that many talented Filipinos are demanding from potential and current employers the opportunity and flexibility to work from home.

Organizations who want to attract or retain such talent, whether based here or abroad, are thus being forced to think beyond the traditional office-based, 9 to 5 schedule.


“To compete in the future, organizations will need to push talent management beyond the confines of the enterprise wall to include the new extended workforce: A global network of outside contractors, outsourcing partners, vendors, strategic partners and nontraditional workers,” said a study by Accenture.

Online work is no longer limited to programmers and other techie jobs. In fact, there is rapid growth in the customer service area of online work and Upwork is a major player.


According to Ron Cirujano, country manager of Upwork, customer service is the Philippines’ expertise, primarily because of the Filipinos’ command of the English language. Filipinos are also naturally helpful and patient.

The customer service category is one of the fastest growing categories on Upwork.

In 2014, companies spent 54 percent more than the year before.

Among its clients are Unilever, Coca-Cola, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla and Pinterest.

Companies are discovering the value of having a distributed customer support team—from reduced turnover to improved customer satisfaction and 24/7 multichannel support.

The recent increased interest in freelancing here has attracted businesses from all over to dip their toes in the talent pool of freelance professionals minus the hassle of traditional hiring methods.

Upwork is the by-product of a merger between Elance and oDesk. It offers a freelance talent platform that makes hiring freelancers easier and faster for companies.


With a new platform, hiring will take an average of three days instead of three weeks. It also enables clients to connect with other professionals looking for freelance work.

There are 1.3 million Filipinos who are into freelance work. Most of them are in the customer service field where they help resolve issues of companies from United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

Depending on the work, freelancers earn $3 to $25 per hour.

As an added feature, the Upwork pro customer service offers access to premium jobs not available to standard Upwork users.

It offers perks such as a collated list of high-paying jobs from top clients as well as showcasing of profile for top jobs and an inclusion in the talent pool from which enterprise clients seek talent.

“But some Filipinos don’t know how to sell themselves. They are very humble. We find it difficult to even name our price. So at Upwork, we teach them to present themselves. Through webinars, we teach them to update their profiles on a regular basis,” he said.

Upwork earns $1 billion in gross services annually and the Philippines is a big contributor.

As freelance work gains more respect and acceptance, the market for talents here who want to work online can only become bigger.

Cirujano said freelancing was very rewarding and a real option for those who want a better work-life balance.

“By providing them with opportunities here, they no longer have to leave the country and leave their loved ones behind. They can earn dollars here and at the same time, watch their children grow up,” he said.

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TAGS: Accenture, Business, economy, flexible time, Labor, News
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