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Getting Fewer Jobs These Days?

Active Member
Dave A Member Since: Mar 25, 2016
1 of 10

I’ve been freelancing for over 5 years now.  I initially started with Elance and oDesk, which then became Upwork.   I also use other less popular freelance sites but my line of work is not as prolific on these other sites.

I’m writing because I have noticed from late 2016 and now into 2017 it is becoming more difficult to get jobs and that the number of freelancers on Upwork has EXPLODED!.  Do you find it more difficult to get jobs now than before?  

Over the years I have worked hard to get good reviews and provide great service which has earned me a lot of jobs, positive ratings, and a lot of clients returning for more work.  However now I sense a real change perhaps due to the increasing saturation of freelancers.  I’ve spoken with other freelancers in different fields that also work through Upwork and they express the same frustration lately.

Since my work ethic and proven track record remains solid the only thing that seems to have changed is the increasing number of freelancers.  The increasing saturation and higher number of bids drives prices down to ridiculous amounts—$2 to $5 for an entire job?  Really?  After you calculate Upwork’s 20 percent take those jobs are hardly worth the effort.  While it’s easy to dismiss the $2 to $5 jobs as an exception and not the norm, this “race to the bottom” bidding still brings the overall average bid down considerably.  

The math for Upwork makes one ponder as well.  How do you measure true growth?  One of many measures is the increasing pool of freelancers using Upwork but with a swelling number of freelancers trying to earn jobs with lower bids it would seem to undercut profit for Upwork as well. This business model seems to be inverse by decreasing potential earnings.

I would be interesting in hearing from others on this issue.

Ace Contributor
peter k Member Since: Jul 18, 2015
2 of 10

absolutely right.... I see the same problem ... nothing to bid on -

I miss Elance and their service art, with beeing FOR people with NORMAL % fees, daily emails about new projects matching profile, user-friendly web...


Active Member
Archibald B Member Since: Feb 20, 2016
3 of 10

Yes, i am entirely in agreement. Jobs appear to have dropped off this year

even as I have recovered my  success level to 86%.

 Over the past two months I don't think I have got a peep though I apply for lots of

highly relevant jobs, but against 40 or 50 others.

 I began with oDesk  4 or 5 years ago so I am not a newbee.

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
4 of 10

Archibald, there is a spacing error in your profile overview. One of your commas is misplaced. 


The number of freelancers on Upwork is greater than that of the company it acquired. So that could explain the decline in job awards. 

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
5 of 10

@Archibald B wrote:

(...) so I am not a newbee.

 Old bees are the ones who sting the hardest.

"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Ace Contributor
Daniel C Member Since: Jul 22, 2016
6 of 10

I agree. There are fewer jobs out there and most of them suck. Lots of scammers and clients who ask for "experts" only to try to pay them peanuts outside of Upwork, which is against TOS and it's something you should never do.


When I started here in Upwork, earning at least $1000 per month was pretty common. Maybe I'm spoiled hahaha.

Community Guru
Isabelle Anne A Member Since: May 19, 2014
7 of 10

Agreed, unfortunately. I'm finding it more difficult than ever to win jobs. For me, the real low point came after the 20% fee was introduced.


Also, the current quality of job posts seems shockingly low compared to the 2014-2015 period. 


But then again, there are those who say they're doing really well on the site, so the fault could easily lie with us Smiley Sad In any case, I've started looking at other platforms for work.

Active Member
Nathan C Member Since: Jul 8, 2015
8 of 10

I think it depends on the kind of clients you're looking for.


For reference, I'm a freelance writer who specializes in working with software companies, engineering firms, and startups. I tend to get responses from about 1 in 5 proposals I submit on UpWork, with 50% of those or so turning into actual clients. That's been steady for a long time.


I only look at listings marked "Expert" and with more than a $200 budget. At least for me, with the criteria I use, there are as many opportunities now as ever.



Ace Contributor
Kevin M Member Since: Sep 10, 2015
9 of 10

I see a ton of jobs... just none of them are good.  Someone posting a link and saying "I need something like this" with a budget of $25 type of "opportunities".  In the past 6 months I've gone from way too busy to the exact opposite of that.  People think they're on Fiverr or something.

Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
10 of 10

In my field (legal), there are definitely more jobs than witih Odesk and it's steadily increasing.  Most of them require an attorney, which I am  not.  But I've noticed that the hourly rates have increased in my area.


I suspect most people are having a much different experience.