Canada’s unemployment rate inched somewhat lower in June, but the country’s employment picture also showed a reduction in the overall size of the labour force.
Sometimes contradictory developments in the job marketplace are partly driven by a trend towards self-employment and freelancing at a global scale, with entrepreneurs and small business operators of all shapes and sizes falling outside the normal employment categories.
The number of self-employed is swelling, and it's seen as a result of economic factors, job insecurity and certain technological developments.
The new employment marketplace is online, with employers and contractors able to make contact, perform duties and receive compensation using global and digital platforms.
That’s the view at Freelancer.com, a huge online and international outsourcing and crowd sourcing marketplace.
The Australian based company is taking aim at North America, and its recent acquisition of Canada's homegrown Scriptlance freelance marketplace marks the launch of its services in Canada.
Through the new Freelancer.ca website, businesses and professionals can post jobs, hire and pay a freelance digital workforce in Canadian dollars. Additionally, Freelancer.ca will be available in the French language by the end of July.
Employers can hire freelancers in areas such as software, writing, data entry and design, right through to engineering and the sciences, sales & marketing and accounting & legal services.
The average job is under $200 (USD), so small businesses, which often need a wide variety of jobs to be done but cannot justify the expense of hiring full time, are a major user category.
Already with over 100,000 Canadian users, the Freelancer.ca platform will be bolstered significantly by the Scriptlance purchase, described Matt Barrie, Chief Executive of Freelancer.com.
“We are tremendously excited to acquire Scriptlance, which is one of the most widely recognized brands in the online outsourcing industry,” he said. “Today we launch Freelancer.ca in Canada, and we couldn’t think of a better way to announce this than by buying one of Canada’s top technology websites.”
Barrie described Scriptlance founder and Canadian entrepreneur René Trescases as “a trailblazer” in a conversation with Mediacaster Magazine from his home base in Australia.
Barrie said that Scriptlance’s more than 360,000 enterprise and professional users would be welcomed into the new combined service, which would operate in very similar ways and be very closely aligned in features and functions. Freelancer.com's "secret sauce", Barrie explained, uses unique data mining techniques and its developed algorithms for the best possible matching services among listed projects, workers and employers.
With the acquisition, he added, Freelancer.com will count more than four million users around the world.
Barrie sees the purchase as timely in promoting a necessary paradigm shift with the way small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do business – in Canada, or any other country.
“The potential for success through online outsourcing and crowd sourcing is tremendous. We’re connecting millions of entrepreneurs and global professionals. It’s never been easier or cheaper to start and maintain a business than today,” he noted.
The average Freelancer.com job is under US$200, so online services like these can be very cost effective for small businesses, which often need a wide variety of jobs to be done, but cannot justify the expense of hiring full time.
“We’re becoming more interconnected; today, an entrepreneur from Germany can hire a web developer from India and a copywriter from the Philippines, at less the cost and time it usually took. Everything is happening at the speed of a click,” Barrie added.
Freelancer.com lists projects, workers and employers in many areas and workplace sectors; the site initially started in Website Design, Graphic Design, Copywriting and SEO; but now adds diverse projects in Astrophysics, Aerospace Engineering, Biotechnology, Manufacturing and Industrial Design.
Barrie described the Canadian purchase as just one step in a “very aggressive” campaign by the company to expand its reach internationally.
He launched the company in January 2009, and it’s already made important inroads with other purchases, such as those of GetAFreelancer (Sweden), LimeExchange (United States), Freelancer.co.uk (United Kingdom), Freelancer.de Booking Center (Germany), Freelancer.com.au (Australia) and Freelancer Hong Kong (China), together with the Freemarket.com virtual content marketplace (United States) and the Webmaster Talk (United States) forums, and now the purchase of Scriptlance in Canada.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed; Trescases will move on to other projects and initiatives, Barrie said.