Blog Post

Remote jobs a refuge for workers in crisis-hit economies

The news out of Europe has been despressing month after month with seemingly endless talk of bailouts, recession and shocking rates of unemployment. And things don’t show any sign of resolving imminently, with Spain the latest focal point for anxious markets.

All of the gloom and doom is a stress for bankers and politicians, but for workers on the ground the challenges are severe and immediate, and their ability to influence their situation (short of immigrating) limited. But the quarterly Global Online Employment Report from online job board Elance released today suggests there is at least one refuge from the economic storm that workers are increasingly utilizing– remote work.

The analysis of hiring across the globe on the site showed a sizable growth in earnings for contractors in crisis-stricken European countries. Greek workers on the platform earned 122 percent more compared to the previous year, while Spanish contractors earned 142 percent more.

“One of the benefits of online work is the ability for contractors (and businesses) to ‘escape’ their local economies. A number of countries in Europe have weak economies and the workers in these countries are seeking work online. It’s a great solution – temporary or permanent,” said Kjetil Olsen, vice president, Europe at Elance said in a statement accompanying the report.

Konstantina Zoehrer, head of business and strategic partnership development at Athens coworking space Loft2Work, confirmed in an email that, unsurprisingly, space members are hungry for alternatives to largely non-existent local jobs. “What we see is a increasing demand of targeted networking and skill development as there is a trend towards entrepreneurial activities,” she wrote, explaining that her space has tried to help along those looking to sell their services outside the stricken traditional job market. “We adapted our pricing policy to the current socioeconomic circumstances,” she said. “As a social enterprise we work towards the integration of inactive workforce in the labor market.”

In an overview of the embryonic Greek coworking scene that appeared earlier this year in coworking magazine DeskMag also confirms the general thrust of the Elance findings. Terrible economic realities on the ground, “have added fuel to the growing trend of independent and contingency workers who make up the majority of the membership at coworking spaces,” wrote Anna Cashman.

Do you think the economic crisis in Europe will spur the uptake of remote working? Will the effects outlast the crisis?

Image courtesy of Flickr user how will I ever.

5 Responses to “Remote jobs a refuge for workers in crisis-hit economies”

  1. Very interesting subject, congratulations!
    The coworking spaces as well as being an alternative to the crisis, it is much cheaper and convenient, because you do not have to worry about anything except the rent of your space.
    Here in Brazil have greatly increased the demand for these spaces, and I was surprised at their efficiency!
    I’m opening my company and I intend to install in a coworking space, because I can not and does not intend to make a large investment up front.
    I visited some places this week, and I liked the most were the which is very nice but very expensive, and, which has a very different proposal, and is not as expensive I liked a lot, but inda not decided anything.
    Next week I will visit other places and put my opinion here.
    See you soon!

  2. R.c. Treistman

    Great article. Tough times call for creative measures and technology certainly is a tool to lean upon in times such as these. Many view the ability to work remotely not only as an opportunity to escape geographical boundaries but also an opportunity to redefine people’s expectations of their lives.
    As far as Europe is concerned and the recession they are experiencing, remote work is not going to pull them out of their current woes but it will be one of the many items that could help.
    Another expected outcome from an increase in telework is denser communities.

  3. Kelvin Fuhrman

    The cost of higher education is ridiculous, my son wanted to go to college but we could not afford so we choose the High Speed Universities for his education while working now he working for fortune 500

  4. A nice article – and important for those without alternatives. But for those with the choice, is remote or online freelancing preferable to freelancing in person? There seems to be a big focus on these online marketplaces like Elance, Odesk, but less on newer ones like 3Desk, WorkMarket