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tjmisny
Community Member

Where are the Quality Jobs?

I've been an Upwork Freelancer for 3.5 years and have checked the site every day in that span for new jobs to apply to.  I've applied to nearly 2,000 jobs at this point.  

 

In the past week, I've seen zero jobs worth applying to, and very few in the weeks prior.  The total quantity has gone down and the only ones I see are offering rates far below the cost of living anywhere in the US.  (And many are seeking US based talent).  

 

Is anybody else seeing a total absence of quality jobs and a rapid detoriation of average job pay/quality? 

 

And what can Upwork to do motivate / engage quality, high-paying companies to hire here again? 

 

My Expert Vetted talent contact says that Upwork gives presentations at various large companies to show what kind of talent is on Upwork.  My feeling is these meetings might need to be way more frequent, or structured in a different way.  There are hundreds of thousands of companies in the world - if there isn't a single quality company posting in my category in the span of weeks, that is proof that Upwork isn't doing its job to foster this community and to grow the platform.  

97 REPLIES 97
axentrix
Community Member

You have to bid to win - Upbid advised me today by email. The quality job will come with your 2001-st bid! 

we need a laugh reaction not just upvotes😄

48f850a0
Community Member

.

spectralua
Community Member

And so you decided to open another topic to the thousands already opened. No clients - no work, everything is logical. Upwork no longer needs clients; newcomers can be milked with fakes\bots, is enough for profit.

I believe that when the noise in here gets loud enough, Upwork Upper Management will have to take action.  Posts like mine and the dozens of others every month are the written record of Upwork destroying its own platform as quality clients disengage.   

I hope you're right. But we see that all this is useless. Yes, the forum is loyal and no one will delete our dissatisfaction. On the other hand, no one cares about.

atreglia
Community Member


 Thomas J M wrote:

I believe that when the noise in here gets loud enough, Upwork Upper Management will have to take action.  Posts like mine and the dozens of others every month are the written record of Upwork destroying its own platform as quality clients disengage.   


I’m not so sure about that, but I surely hope you are correct!  My thoughts are that we’ve been squawking for years and it hasn’t made a difference.  To me, the only thing that will get their attention is shareholder discontentment so I’m kind of placing my hope there, dismal as that seems.  My hope is that perhaps shareholders will realize, if they haven’t already, that they’ve been taken for a downward ride right along with us.  I mean, some of them had to have realized by now that the company they invested in has switched trajectory from a freelance business to a connects warehouse.  If I were that investor and learned they really only fill about 1 of 10 jobs, and that the rest of the revenue is from auctioning off blind opportunities for the other 9, I’d be pretty upset right about now.  Who knows, maybe there’ll even be a demand for full disclosure on the financials.  Doubtful, but one can hope, right?

tjmisny
Community Member

Among us in the community, can we figure out an estimate of how many jobs actually result in a hire these days?  (What percentage?) It would not surprise me if it were as low as 10%.  I know that I'm hired less than 1% of the time... but for the site as a whole, what percentage result in hires?  

atreglia
Community Member


 Thomas J M wrote:

Among us in the community, can we figure out an estimate of how many jobs actually result in a hire these days?  (What percentage?) It would not surprise me if it were as low as 10%.  I know that I'm hired less than 1% of the time... but for the site as a whole, what percentage result in hires?  


Good question because, unlike what was mentioned in the “Bad Math” thread, it cannot be reliably estimated based on published financials because they’re conveniently missing the requisite components of that calculation.  I imagine we can do it here, but then we in the forum are only a small sampling of freelancers.  Still, it’s a start.  I remember near the end of 2023 a bunch of us published our stats in the forum, including myself, but we did not count non-hires.  Those posts may be searchable.

 

I don't boost anything, and my stats for 2024 are:

6 proposals

3 viewed

1 hire

 

Of those six jobs, 3 hired, 3 did not.

 

Sorry my stats are so dismally small.  I’m sort of biding my time until hopefully this nightmare eases up, and only "bidding to win!" as my connects are about to expire.  Also, for the last year or so I’ve been seeing a substantial increase in the number of U.S. based clients looking to pay $5.  Hey, I consider my rate low enough considering my experience, and this is a side-thing in my retirement, but I won’t do $5 bucks.  I won’t even wake-up my sweet mac for that amount.

tjmisny
Community Member

I've applied to over 300 jobs in 2024 (3 hires)... when I have more time this week I'll do the math on how many of those resulted in hires.  I'm certain it will be less than UW's stated 50% figure.  

 

UPDATE: I looked at my own results from those 300+ jobs and I found that 19% resulted in a hire.  Significantly less than the 50% that UW reports.  

This is the merit of the upwork workers. They believe that they can set the price and dictate it to customers. During the one of payment protection discuss the upwork employee was so impudent that he told me the reason: I was denied protection because I asked for $5 higher than the average for the section. And they didn’t charge me the difference of 5 dollars but they took everything! Maybe he should gain at least 10 percent of my experience before assessing and telling me how much I should be paid? It's outrageous. I can understand a client who resorts to racial and territorial discrimination in order to get work for free. But I think that upwork employees are minding not their own business.

I didn't know that payment protection could be denied!  You were denied payment protection beacuse an agent at Upwork said your hourly rate was too high?  How is that possible?  

All this users was denided with different reasons. Some used manual time, some have no sreeshots because time tracker stuck, some didnt filled memo. Within last year very popular reason is "fraudulent activity". I didnt faced with that but saw posts many times.

You see client "verified by Upwork". Great, lets start. You doing works and waiting for money. Client dont pay (scammer, have card expired, Paypal bug...). Protection activated, agent checking job. And... "refunding" whole awaiting balance bacause it was fraudulent acrivity (in my case my rate was highter than average). Undiscusseable, decission if final, go away! You worked for free. This is Upwork "protection". Here i wrote about "protection" where Upwork took my money for week of hard work.

A joke with fraudulent activity reason is generally beyond praise! Fraudsters hired you so activity is fraudulent, logically. This means that the protection only works with legal activity when the client pays. 😸

Seems like you were not tracking/logging your hours properly that was why Payment Protection kicked in when the Client's payment did not pushed through.

 

If you were logging your hours properly even if the Payment Protection kicks in, all your hours will be paid even if the Client's payment did not pushed through.  This is how Hourly Payment Protection works, make sure to read it so that you will be protected when doing Hourly Contracts.

Check my profile: 476 jobs done. I know how to track time properly. 🙂

That's crazy!  Upwork needs to stay away from making unilateral decisions like that.  Your rate is your rate, and that's what the client agreed to.   End of story.

Yep, i think so.

Upwork happy with my rate when taking fee, but say that it is large when need to cover own faults. 🤗

This is absolutley insane - I am so sorry that you were screwed out of your earnings!  

And you are expert vetted so talent also give more opportunities to those community that also have to calculate

There is no way to have accurate data when the numbers come from Upwork, and we have no access. If we have no starting numbers, all we can do is our personal numbers, or make guesses.

 

So, while we may all feel that hiring is a certain percentage, we can't prove it without the hard numbers.

 

Most of the active freelancers never post here. The freelancers who are here likely are not finding work, so it skews the numbers. We would need, at least, a random sampling.

 

I'm not dismissing the severity of not finding genuine jobs, but we do not have the necessary empirical data to determine exact numbers.

Their financial report said "Revenue from ads & monetization products grew 93% year-over-year" means by connects their revenue is increased 

Right, well I guess there are millions of people that believe "You have to bid to win!".  Ooof.

Upwork never listen, they just impose their own rules. Due to inflation and unemployment, everyone is trying to start freelancing. This has caused an increase in profits. after zombe tv ad upwork is died, upqrok don't have new client and this is easy way post scam jobs increase connect price, the job postings are filled with irrelevant and low-paying jobs, and it seems that only social media influencers and YouTubers posting jobs here. We need to consider switching to a  own business or a job as the time for upwork is over.

khushbu_gohil
Community Member

I think clients getting suggestions for budget that's why this occurring. Clients budget is $500 but system suggest $10 and client think oh if their work done in this budget so keep this.

 

might possible this 🤔what you think?

I agree - this is a huge problem.

 

When clients post in my category (Video Production), for "Expert Level", "US Only Talent", this graph is shown to clients.  I have been complaining about this for over 2 years now... but this graph lists rates that are ENTRY LEVEL RATES IN THE USA.  

THIS ONE.png

 

Meanwhile... this graph shows the rates of Expert Level US based Video Production freelancers in the US when you search for Upwork talent.  This is what expert Freelancers in the US are actually charging: 

 

Screenshot 2024-05-08 at 8.15.18 AM.png

What's significiant about this: Upwork is priming clients to expect cheap work.  Upwork tells Freelancers that the expected rate for Expert Level work is actually Entry Level rates.  So when Expert Freelancers list their rates, they seem overpriced.  This makes amateurs seem more reasonable beacuse it's more likely a client will hire a cheaper freelancer.

 

And we see the results of this... there are a tiny number of quality jobs on the platform.  

 

 

celgins
Community Member

This goes back to my assertion that low-skill, low-rate freelancers have dominated this platform over the last few years, and Upwork's algorithm has adjusted. The algorithm adapts to trends and I believe this is why you're seeing this range of hourly rates.

 

The algorithm's adaptation is done with the goal of improving outcomes. With so many freelancers offering low rates, clients are spending less or avoiding freelancers with the highest hourly rates. That's not a positive outcome for higher rate freelancers, but it provides an immediate positive outcome for clients who lowered their rates due to the high volume of low-rate freelancers here.

 

I believe the trend towards lower rates is evident in Upwork's most recent quarterly report where the number of active clients has increased, but the Gross Services Volume (GSV) per active client is down 4%. Some clients are spending less because low-rate freelancers are giving them the opportunity to do so.

An hour ago client said:

1.jpg

Is it true that 30-years expirience professionals from NY asking $50 for 3 hrs of work? 😹

New LowballWork would be fun but we pay for it. 🤔

I've worked in NYC for 19 years.... nobody with experience is doing 3 hours of work for $50.  That's slightly above minium wage.  

Here you go. And we are surprised that Upwork offers 25-50.

That is why I find it so offensive - the "average rate" Upwork tells every Client are completely unrealistic when it comes to the cost of living in real life.  So every Client expects to get much cheaper work than is actually achievable unless the Freelancers are living in poverty.  

tjmisny
Community Member

I think it's the other way around.  Upwork's messaging and algorithms prime clients to expect the cheapest Freelancers (see the $25-50% hour graph I posted above), and then it becomes inevitable that more cheaper Freelancers will be hired.  It's a preordained outcome.  The system rewards the cheapest, so the cheapest thrive.  Upwork is not adjusting or adapting to this outcome - they have orchestrated this outcome intentionally.  

 

Upwork could make some small tweaks to their messaging and system architecture that would make more experienced (and yes, more expensive) Freelancers more visible and more appealing, and then these Freelancers would be hired more.  (And... Upwork would make more money in transaction percentage fees).

 

Instead, Upwork exploits the most experienced and credible Freelancers on the platform by applying pressure to make them overspend on Connects, claiming this will cut through the noise (noise which Upwork has created to boost the amatuers and hide the experts)... which does not actually work, because the system has never been designed in the favor of experienced Freelancers.  

atreglia
Community Member


 Clark S wrote:

I believe the trend towards lower rates is evident in Upwork's most recent quarterly report where the number of active clients has increased, but the Gross Services Volume (GSV) per active client is down 4%. Some clients are spending less because low-rate freelancers are giving them the opportunity to do so.


Yes but hmmmm, the thing is, the average GSV per client, as well as the count of clients used to calculate that average, are both based on annualized numbers and does not accurately reflect what really happened during the last quarter.  That said, despite the fact that the number of clients went up, their spend went down.  OTOH, what stands out to me is the hair-raising 20% increased marketplace revenue.  Granted some of that revenue is from clients.  But I’m somewhat hard-pressed to think revenue went up from a bunch of low-rate jobs; I mean, that’s a lot of jobs to account for a 20% increase.  I’m more inclined to think most of it is from connects/no hires.  Of course, since we don’t have enough info to know for sure, all we can do is guess, like everything else on this platform!

celgins
Community Member

Yes but hmmmm, the thing is, the average GSV per client, as well as the count of clients used to calculate that average, are both based on annualized numbers and does not accurately reflect what really happened during the last quarter.

I get what you're saying, but I wasn't focusing on the quarter. I stated: "This goes back to my assertion that low-skill, low-rate freelancers have dominated this platform over the last few years..." and Thomas JM mentioned: "I have been complaining about this for over 2 years now..." when referring to the low hourly rate range for Video Production that Upwork shows to clients.

 

Upwork's report specifies the GSV per active client decreased 4% as of March 31, 2024, as compared to March 31, 2023, so that's an annual assessment, like you mentioned.

 

And, I agree--revenue didn't increase because of low-rate jobs. Upwork tells us in the same report that marketplace revenue increased (20%) as compared to the same period in 2023, due to changes to existing offerings and other services and features. Specifically, they retired the tiered service fee structure (ranging from 5% to 20%) in favor of the flat fee (10%); increased the number of Connects needed to bid on jobs; deployed ads products; and introduced a contract initiation fee for clients.

 

My assertion--in response to Thomas JM--is that Upwork's algorithm has adjusted to low-rate freelancers, which drives the logic behind Upwork's marketplace messaging regarding lower rates.

tjmisny
Community Member

But there have always been low-rate Freelancers on Upwork?  And Upwork has (for as long as I've been here), been tilted in favor of the low-rate Freelancers because (at least prior to the Casino Era), Upwork has preferred the easier, cheaper hire rather than the more difficult sell of a more expensive contract.  (They'd rather you buy something rather than risk you buying nothing if they try to match you with a $200/hr pro).   

 

I think it's an important distinction - Upwork is not adapting to the prevelance of low-rate freelancers, they have created demand for low-rate freelancers and have tailored the platform to cater to these low-rate individuals.  They want you to buy something, rather than nothing.  

celgins
Community Member

Yes, there have always been low-rate freelancers on Upwork, but I think the numbers have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. Upwork removed barriers to entry and skill tests, which allowed many inexperienced freelancers to join the platform. All of this was done--in my opinion--to boost profits by monetizing the sheer volume of freelancers using the platform.

 

Before this, I think Upwork actually cared about matching subject matter experts with quality jobs. Unfortunately, they never figured out how to make a profit when following this model, so they found a new model--utilize the high volume of freelancers here, and capitalize on the type of freelancer dominating the marketplace (low-skilled, inexperienced freelancers who will spend Connects).

 

And Upwork has (for as long as I've been here), been tilted in favor of the low-rate Freelancers because (at least prior to the Casino Era), Upwork has preferred the easier, cheaper hire rather than the more difficult sell of a more expensive contract.

I can understand this viewpoint if you've been watching Upwork since 2021-2022 until now. But before the influx of millions of freelancers during the pandemic, Upwork stated its preference for long-term freelancer/client contracts, and has continued to say the same thing every year.  Upwork's sales efforts are primarily targeted at large enterprise clients and other clients who have larger, longer-term needs and will spend large amounts of money. They target the clients that seek large, long-term contracts because that's where the money is; not the easier, cheaper hire contracts.

 

Upwork is not adapting to the prevelance of low-rate freelancers, they have created demand for low-rate freelancers and have tailored the platform to cater to these low-rate individuals.

I think we're both saying the same things (sort of), but approaching it from different angles. I believe--like you do--that Upwork has tailored certain sections of the marketplace to invite, cater to, and monetize low-rate freelancers. They never made a profit until the first or second quarter of 2023, so they had to do something.

 

But my observation about "adaptation" is based on machine learning algorithms and how they work. Because Upwork has allowed a high volume of inexperienced and low-rate freelancers to proliferate, the algorithm is now favoring lower rates. This is why many Expert-Vetted, Top-Rated Plus, and Top-Rated freelancers are seeing fewer invites, declining proposal views, and noticing their profiles ranking lower than inexperienced, low-rate freelancers. I believe the rankings, rates, visibility, etc., are determined by how much the algorithm has adapted to the inexperience and lower rates that dominate the platform.

 

In my opinion, there are more low-skill freelancers than high skill experts freelancers, and Upwork's algorithm is simply doing what algorithms do--it learns and adapts.

tjmisny
Community Member

Clark, you mentioned that Upwork opened the flood gates for Freelacners and removed barriers to entry/skill tests.  That's a great example of my point that Upwork purposefully engineered the current "race to the bottom" rather than it being an algorithmic adaptation.  The algorithm has adapted to intentional, bottom-line driven choices to make Upwork a place to find low-quality, cheap talent.  

celgins
Community Member

Exactly, which is why I said I think we're saying the same things, just from different angles.

 

Upwork purposefully removed barriers and opened the flood gates to allow more low-skill, low-rate freelancers to join. And yes--the algorithm has adapted to Upwork's intentional, bottom-line driven choices. But I think--which is probably where we differ--that it caused way too many unintended or unexpected consequences. Upwork can thank their high-powered machine learning algorithm for that.

 

I think Upwork knew they could monetize the large volume of low-skill freelancers, but had no idea it would negatively impact highly experienced freelancers and quality clients the way it has. I think that's a failure of leadership and shows a lack of vision.

tjmisny
Community Member

I wonder to what extent they are even aware of the problem, from both the Client side (Clients are finding the platform harder to navigate and less trustworthy) and Freelancer side (Invitations and Hires have become much less frequent, while platform has become much more expensive).  Do you think they are aware?  Or do you think they are aware and simply could not care less as too many rubes keep overspending on Connects?

celgins
Community Member

Oh--they are aware. From the account execs and general managers, up to the C-suite folks. Upwork spends a lot of time contemplating the risks related to business operations, the marketplace, and growth. They know the risks of having dissatsified freelancers and clients, and anything that could negatively impact growth (e.g., scams, increased fees, pricing models, circumvention, clients that don't pay, the quality of freelancer/client, and even the third-party tools used that may not function correctly). They analyze all of this.

 

So, while they may care about the quality of the marketplace from a high level, I think the first-time profits (thanks to increased Connects-spend and other things) are welcomed, and the unintended consequences that negatively impact the marketplace are tolerated.

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