In the last year alone, the number of short term projects for firms based in East Asia, Eastern Europe, India, Pakistan and the Middle East has more than doubled, said PeoplePerHour.
Japan is the biggest end-client, as over the period there has been an eight-fold surge in the stock of UK freelancers registered with the website who have an invoiced a business there.
The last year also saw a four-fold increase in the number of UK freelancers invoicing businesses in India, and about a three-fold increase in the numbers invoicing firms in China.
Pointing to India, PeoplePerHour said the nation’s small businesses and start-ups were “booming,” explaining why such nascent firms were inwardly investing in their own growth.
This move by Indian entrepreneurs to expand their own businesses appears to be eclipsing their traditional focus – “offering support to help western businesses grow,” the site said.
But it explained: “For these businesses to grow, there is a greater need to find people with specialist skills; skills such as business planning, design and copywriting, that are in short supply amongst the local workforce.
“Now with greater financial support/investment behind them, businesses have the resources to look beyond the local labour market, and find global talent that matches their development needs.”
The sub-text is that firms in the East are turning to freelancers and micro businesses in the West because, while such European firms cannot compete on costs, they are skills-rich.
“This burgeoning freelance marketplace, which enables UK professionals with specialist skills to export their talents, could radically change the way businesses operate in the future,” said PeoplePerHour’s founder Xenios Thrasyvoulou.
He added: “Thanks to the evolution of the online marketplace, this pool of highly skilled freelance professionals are now in a position to sell their skills to businesses across the globe.”