News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem. initiative radically increases online work opportunities is extending its connectivity to the remaining two-thirds of the world – increasing online work opportunities for people around the globe and providing Australians businesses better access to global talent.

According to statistics gathered by oDesk, if successfully extends its connectivity to the remaining two-thirds of the world, the online work market has the potential to reach $42.5 billion by 2022. This compared to approximately $14.9 billion without extended connectivity, meaning that workers around the world stand to gain $27.6 billion of online work.

Matt Cooper, Vice President of International and Enterprise at oDesk, says online work provides two revenue streams for the economy. Firstly, it allows startups and established business to grow and remain competitive – on a local and global front.  

“Australian businesses are already leading the trend in online working, being oDesk’s number one country for hiring in terms of dollars spent per capita,” says Cooper.

Secondly, the expansion of online work allows freelancers from all corners of the world to earn extra income. According to oDesk, 57 percent of money earned by Australian freelancers came from foreign clients in 2012.

Cooper also points out that Australia has a well-documented talent shortage, particularly in the technology sector.

“This shortage has created a war for talent – a war that all companies find extremely hard to win. Gaps exist when it’s difficult to find an appropriate worker with the skills a business needs, when it needs them,” he says.

“This pain is especially acute for entrepreneurs and small business owners, who may not be able to justify full-time hires and who may have to compete against larger companies.”

But talent gaps need not be so painful. Internet access for all not only means talent-constrained companies can hire the people they need, regardless of location, but that professionals around the world have greater opportunities to work and earn what they are worth in a global economy.

“If the entire world were online, the possibilities for businesses everywhere would be massive. For this reason, I hope succeeds – for the sake of all of us who are ready to think bigger and build businesses together, regardless of where our ideal colleagues happen to be located,” says Cooper.

He adds that “infrastructure doesn’t build itself … the history of the Internet is an amazing combined effort of individuals, academics and institutions.”

“ builds upon this effort and helps take it to the next level in an initiative that hopes to benefit the world, and could amplify entrepreneurialism in the process along with work opportunities.”

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