Upwork Ceases Operations in Russia and Belarus
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Freelancing platform Upwork Inc (UPWK.O) ceases operations, effective immediately, with Russia and Belarus, citing risk and uncertainties as Moscow’s invasion of Kyiv continues.
Initially freelancers and clients in Russia and Belarus will no longer be able to sign up for new accounts, initiate new contracts, and be visible in search, with final payments and billing completed by 1st May, 2022.
According to Upwork’s CEO, Hayden Brown:
We made this decision with the utmost consideration. From the beginning of the war, Upwork has been fervently working to support the safety, security, and well-being of our many team members in the region, as well as the business needs of our customers. We fully understand the significant impact this decision has on our Upwork community in Russia and Belarus, and we want these customers to know that if and when they are able to relocate to regions where we operate, we will be eager to support them in continuing their work on our platform. Additionally, should the geopolitical situation in Russia and Belarus change, we hope to be able to resume operations.
Approximately 10% of Upwork’s total revenue comes from Russia, and 6% from Ukraine.
Scott Devitt, analyst at Stifel said, “some portion of client spend that is generated by talent in the region will rotate to talent based elsewhere, though the extent of this offsetting dynamic is uncertain at this time.”
How does this impact global outsourcing?
It’s having an immediate effect with…
- An increase in jobs listed for web development and technical roles. Most likely caused by clients shifting their development work from existing Russian-based agencies and freelancers.
- Higher hourly rates for technical roles, and outsourced digital staff in general.
These thematic issues have been present for the past couple of years during the pandemic, with the Russian conflict creating further supply pressure on finding suitable talent.
No Invitations, No Interviews for Russian based Agencies and Freelancers
A quick search of Upwork’s community forums and you can find Russian freelancers who are impacted.
For more details on Upwork’s announcement please review their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).