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The best online platforms for finding freelance and contract staff

Which are the best online platforms to source these staff?

The expanding gig or on-demand economy means that businesses are using an increasing amount of contract and freelance labour. Figures indicate that more temporary workers will be engaged by employers than full-time staff this year, but which are the best online platforms to source these staff?

Hiring freelancers does not require as many processes as signing permanent employees; however, there are still steps to be taken: establishing fees, checking skill levels, completing contract and tax requirements, monitoring the work and ensuring it is completed to the necessary standard, paying the staff, and all the communications that are part of doing the job.

Do this for one or two people and it is not that onerous – multiply this by 100, or even 1,000, and it is obvious why online marketplaces have emerged to help human resources managers and owners of businesses to find and manage temporary staff.

This site was launched in 2009. Although it is based in Australia, it has more than 19 million users from 247 countries and nearly 1,000 job categories, including engineering, accounting and software development.

Businesses must pay three per cent of the project fee or $3 – whichever is greater. There are tools to share files and communicate and apps to post projects. Subscription rates vary, with add-on extras such as a non-disclosure agreement template.


This started life as CrowdSource in 2010 and was rebranded OneSpace last November. This site manages freelancers and ‘agile talent’ for its clients as required and aims to provide a self-service facility that will allow businesses to manage, hire and pay contract staff directly.

According to the site, more than half a million freelancers have used it, with its customers including Microsoft, eBay and Facebook. Clients pay a fee based on the services they use.


Since 2010, Fiverr has been an international hub for digital and creative work. Businesses can search over 100 classifications of skill, such as programming, marketing and graphic design. Customers have included Skype and Lego, although the site says the majority of its clientele comprises small businesses.

Originally a place where services could be procured for $5, freelancers now charge fees according to the complexity of the work. Buyers pay upfront and the site collects five per cent on transactions of more than $10.


Elance and oDesk merged, rebranding to become Upwork in May 2015. It is a marketplace that matches businesses with freelancers online. Freelancers can bid on projects and there are premium services for corporate clients whereby they have access to vetted contractors in Upwork Pro.

With Upwork Enterprise, freelancers are recruited and trained and there is a cloud-based platform for managing them. Tools such as invoicing, file sharing and time tracking are available, along with assistance in compliance and employee classification.

LinkedIn ProFinder

A separate enterprise from LinkedIn, ProFinder recently went live to help businesses to find and hire freelancers. It links corporate clients with skills in disciplines such as insurance, software development and marketing, with contributors vetted by the ProFinder concierge team. The site claims its people are the best in their field and describes itself as an online platform and social network for professionals.

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