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LinkedIn rolls out freelance marketplace globally following successful US trial

The feature allows users to find freelancers or project providers through 250 job categories

LinkedIn has rolled out a new feature designed to help freelancers access new job opportunities, akin to services like Fiver and Upwork.

Service Marketplace, which was previously only available as a beta to select LinkedIn users in the US, can now be accessed by freelancers all over the world, including the UK.

The feature allows users to find freelancers or project providers through a vast variety of 250 job categories, with opportunities ranging from accounting and consulting to information technology and software development.

Freelancers and project providers can find each other through the Search function, or by exploring the project categories, with all projects described in the Details. If interested, freelancers and project providers can then communicate through messages to find out more about the job, and after it’s finalised, they can rate each other through a five-star system.

Service Marketplace is based on LinkedIn’s pre-existing ProFinder tool, with the Microsoft subsidiary having started integrating “the best elements of Profinder into the LinkedIn platform” in 2020, according to LinkedIn senior communications manager Amanda Purvis.

“We’ve begun helping our service providers integrate their Profinder data to Service Pages and this will continue over the coming months. This will be an incredible opportunity for providers to increase their reach and gain more visibility to the LinkedIn community. Providers can expect to get regular updates from us as we evolve our service provider experience,” Purvis told the AIM Group last month.

Service Marketplace can be seen as LinkedIn’s response to freelance-focused platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork, which have capitalised on the growing number of workers joining the so-called gig economy.

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Although severely hit by the financial downturn during the pandemic, freelancers constitute approximately 4.3 million out of the 32.4 million people employed in the UK, down from just over 5 million in January 2020, according to Statista.

In the US, where Service Marketplace was first trialled and rolled out, the pandemic fuelled the popularity of the gig economy, with the growth of temporary contracts attributed to the mass shift to remote working. In April 2021, the US saw a 25% increase in the number of gigs completed per day, raising questions about the sustainability of the type of work post-pandemic.

The news follows LinkedIn’s quarterly earnings report, with the company announcing this week that its revenue for Q3 was up 42% year over year.

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