The economy may still be trying to pick itself up, but one beneficiary of tighter budgets is outsourcing marketplace oDesk. Web developers and software engineers looking for project work can find jobs on oDesk, and employers can post jobs. Workers download PC-monitoring software which lets employers keep track of exactly how long they are on the job, even if it is in their pajamas at 3 AM.
As a result, oDesk publishes aggregate data on the “oConomy” and how many collective hours a week are being billed through its service. In July, the hours worked on oDesk surpassed 100,000 a week for the first time, and $65 million worth of work was posted on the site. In contrast, oDesk workers are earning about $6 million a week (because the value of job postings is for the entire job and not all get filled). oDesk takes a 10 percent cut, implying an annual revenue run rate of $7 million or $8 million.
That is still a drop in the bucket of the overall tech economy, but it is an indication that outsourcing is growing in the down economy. Competitor Elance, which covers a broader set of industries, shows similar trends.