I would like to appreciate oDesk for implementing the escrow service to our work. From my personal persepective, it has built a strong confidence in me while am undertaking my work. I had this suggestion for oDesk administration; they should also make hours done on fixed projects counted and added to our profile.
Thanks for reading and I would welcome your opinion.
But what he suggests (including hours worked in fixed rate contracts) is never going to happen.
Fixed rate jobs are already counted in the job count. They already appear in feedback section.
There is no way to add hours worked on fixed rate jobs to the total number of hours worked unless oDesk tracked hours worked on these projects with Team application or asked contractors to record hours on the honor system.
Neither of these things will happen.
Many contractors choose to work fixed relate projects precisely because they do want their hours tracked and screenshots taken of their work.
I agree with Preston that logging hours on a fixed price job is unfeasible.
But the current practice by oDesk of displaying total hours worked distorts the relative experience and "establishedness" of freelancers. Till date, I have spent a lot more hours (as in labour exerted) on my fixed price contracts, and earned a lot more, than on all my hour-based contracts. Yet they count for nothing in the capsule display when a client scrolls through the list of applicants since only 'hours worked' is displayed. oDesk's sister concern Elance does a better job here since they display total number of jobs worked instead. Their Levels and Recommended metrics are also more indicative, but that discussion is for a different thread.
The trouble with the hours as experience metric is that usually the hours are logged in very-low paying jobs. Just now, I was browsing through a profile of a contractor who was invited to a video production job I was looking at. I hovered over his name and his capsule display showed 1000+ hours. Impressive. So, I visited his profile and browsed through his work history. Turns out that 700 of those hours were logged in low-paying data entry jobs, which had nothing to do with video work. Yet when clients browse through capsule list of freelancers to invite, his entry will stand out, relatively, as being "very experienced". Elance again does a better job here by only displaying data from jobs worked in the same category. So an applicant in a video job listing will only have his/her stats from Design&Multimedia job experience displayed. That's still imperfect as ratings from, say, print media work shouldn't be considered in an application for video work, but it's much better than oDesk practice.
Even when the hours are related, high volume work still tends to involve basic tasks and thus counting those hours at parity greatly exaggerates the difference in experience or endorsement of skills. The freelancer I talk about above has a double-figure profile rate, and yet most of the hours in video-related work were logged in jobs at mid to high single-digit rates.
There's no perfect solution here but the current practice is too imperfect. I'm sure Elance had to invent their custom indicators only because they realized the distorting effect of a crude hours count. Now that the two companies are one, maybe oDesk could adopt Elance's system, if only partially.