Upwork Reviews

Updated Jun 18, 2020

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3.9
72%
Recommend to a Friend
68%
Approve of CEO
Upwork President and CEO Hayden Brown
Hayden Brown
9 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Lot of freelancer looking for jobs as you(in 7 reviews)

  • "Yes, their decision to merge Elance and odesk was disputable a bit, but I think the company will be better soon(in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Remote Work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    Current Employee - Senior Data Analyst in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Upwork part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Flexible work setup. Supports remote work

    Cons

    Weak company culture. They manage a lot of freelancers.

  2. COVID-19
    Helpful (1)

    "Truly a great place to work and to make a positive impact!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Operations in Santa Clara, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Upwork full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    This is a company that cares about its employees! They were among the first of the companies to send everyone home when COVID came to the US in an abundance of caution. I have also been very impressed with how employees who are strong performers (both FTE and Contract) are recognized for their contributions and promoted from within. I also see people transfer internally when there is a role that is more aligned with their interests. One of the best things about this company is the people that work here, smart, kind, and motivated colleagues make me enjoy work! I think this company has a tremendous amount of potential, especially in this new world of remote work.

    Cons

    This is not a con, but you will be expected to perform at a high level here! If you are looking for a company where can disappear into the crowd, this is not it. If you are looking for a company where you can make an impact and get visibility for the hard work you contribute, then this is that!

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  3. Helpful (2)

    "Awesome company, great time to be here"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Relatively Senior Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Upwork full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    This is a great company. I definitely "drink the koolaid" here. The culture is very supportive, the people are smart and hard working, and the leadership team is authentic, encouraging more comfortable, friendly working relationships. The main thing that is great about this company is that people really believe in the mission - which is to create opportunities so people have better lives and it is central to what we do. It's a rare company where you can do good by doing well.

    Cons

    I don't really think there are cons - I will acknowledge there have been a lot of changes lately, and while that can be hard, it isn't a con as I think all the changes are making the company stronger. No company is perfect, but I'm surprised at so many negative reviews; though you can never make everyone happy. The company tries hard to seek input from workers, so it is a bummer that folks are so unhappy and yet don't report it to the company - a lot of the complaints seem like they could be resolved if people raised them.

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  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great company, great people!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Manager in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Upwork full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    amazing culture, great people, and wonderful mission.

    Cons

    It's a tough job and you need to be willing to grind.

  5. Helpful (1)

    "Devop"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Devops Engineer in Westford, MA

    I worked at Upwork part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Company has so interesting projects

    Cons

    I don't feel anything wired.

  6. Helpful (2)

    "Transparent and Teamwork"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Development in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Upwork full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    It was the best, smoothest and most transparent hiring process I have ever been a part of. The training has been great. The support from the sales and leadership team has been great.

    Cons

    There are no cons yet.

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  7. Helpful (10)

    "Run, run run.... as far away as you can!"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Upwork full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Free catered good, good facilities, some good people, this company at least tries to pay lip service to be too nice

    Cons

    Oh boy! where should I begin? This WAS a promising company ONCE Unfortunately management ineptitude has squandered it. Let's start one at a time: 1) Technology - Upwork is not a tech company. It needs to stop fooling people that it is. It has a platform that's over 2 decades old, which has seen integrations with competitors along the way. It's only holding together since it is duct-taped. Building anything on the platform, or getting analytics is like pulling teeth. Engineers - be aware. 2) Product - The product is laughable. It feels like a website from web 1.0 era with a long google form that gets you started. Hello - it is 2020! there are smarter ways of customer onboarding. Assuming you somehow manage to get on, then you try to either submit a bid or create a job. Both are flawed approaches. To think that a customer knows everything they want or a worker has enough context to bid just does not work in the process of hiring knowledge workers. Due to this flawed approach, the next step in the process i.e matching, suffers. Search and matching is a mess and I have rarely seen relevant results. Shocking that this is the state for a company that's been trying to perfect "matching" right for nearly 20 years. You would think they would have figured out the ontology behind the scenes, which could have served as a backbone of better search? The rest of the experience after that (check-out, follow up, communication between the worker and the employer which they force through another web 1.0 era program: dash) is as amateurish as the early part of the experience. Sprinkle this with silly features such as time tracking and taking screenshots of the worker's laptop to keep track of work, the platform really feels from another era (hello. it's 2020!). They also have other focus areas like Enterprise (still struggling with a sustainable business model or a truly enterprise ready product after years at it) and Trust & Safety (also feels duct-taped. Hello, we live in an AI first era!). Things get shipped here without proper data analysis (which, by the way, is another challenge altogether). Upwork likes to think it's data driven, but reality is far from that since it is impossible to get proper analytics for anything. 3) Marketing - Their digital marketing machinery is getting better in recent years, but still far behind what I have seen in other companies in technology. Marketing team has quite a few new people as most of the old guard quit in frustration with the culture / politics (more on that below). The new guard is focused on some aspects of brand, product marketing, events to help enterprise teams etc. It is still to be seen how this would play out, though I have serious doubts about Upwork's Enterprise efforts. 4) Legal - Legal *controls* everything at Upwork and loves to throw around its weight. While well intentioned, this has resulted in part of the product / go-to-market challenges as well as challenges with agility and conservative nature of the company. Unfortunately, this has been tolerated too long and is rooted deep in the culture. 5) Ops - The ops team has a lot of people, but it's not clear whether they're utilizing the team smartly. For one, the ops team is not in sync with the product efforts. Secondly, it does not feel they are using analytics or AI to their advantage (hello, 2020!). Hence it feels this team is constantly in the reactive mode, than being proactive. 5) Misc (HR, Finance, etc) - HR is knee-jerk and reactive and only there to CYA for the mis-management (more on that below). 6) Culture - Bureaucracy, Nepotism, Sexism, Favoritism -all are rampant here. It goes all the way to the top. The senior most leadership team has long tolerated incompetent managers, and hence it trickles down. Most of the leadership is incredibly long tenured in the company and has not seen what agility and "real world" is like. They feel threatened when someone shows them the light. Pockets of "touchy-feeley-ness" and unwillingness to open eyes to hard truth are rampant. Incredibly poor management, which is willing to back-stab you at a moments notice. Though Upwork is a relatively small company, it reeks of politics like a 100K+ sized organization. Finally, if you have an iota of willingness to have an impact, check that at the gate before you join Upwork. In fact, some well meaning senior management have told me "why do you bother about trying to make a difference? what's the worst that would happen if things don't change? Upwork will be just fine. Don't try to change the river". 7) Final thoughts - if you any doubts about the above, don't take my word. Instead, go check out the senior departures in the past 1.5 years. Almost every department has seen lot of departures. Go ask these people what they felt about Upwork culture and the current leadership there. I think you will have your answer.

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    Upwork Response

    May 27, 2020SVP, HR

    Hi there, I'm very sorry to hear this. I would welcome the chance to discuss your feedback and hear where you feel we can improve. Please do slack me or email me so we can connect. -zoë

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Clean House and Start Again with New Leadership"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Product Management Leader in Santa Clara, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Upwork full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    If you find joy in bureaucracy, an Engineering Department so bad they don't have a viable website or profitable product offering; an organization that lies about helping provide economic opportunities; an incompetent, immature and inexperienced leadership team that is essentially driving the company into the ground, then this place is for you!

    Cons

    Agree with the previous reviewer. I cannot believe the amount of complete dysfunction at every level (individual, team, strategic). My former "manager" knew less about my role and job function and how to actually run a successful program than any other boss I've ever worked with. I had to sit on calls where my "manager" would speak to "other leadership" at different companies to ensure I was providing accurate information. Oh, and my "manager" was 10 years younger than me. Every single day felt like Junior High School. I was constantly "managing up" and never received any accolades for going above and beyond. I was constantly exhausted with having to train and teach people how to do their jobs. There's a "prove to me" culture here because most FTE's have never worked anywhere else. This is literally their first job and they have no idea what they're doing without any oversight from any sort of real leadership. They won't admit that to you, however. They just quietly "fake it until they make it" with you holding their hand the entire way. They cause conflict instead of trying to solve problems and fix processes. Because again, that would require them to know what they're doing and actually doing any amount of work. Long, painful hours either trying to get the team to do any work whatsoever or reporting out to your "manager" that every project is basically blocked because no one wants to actually work or do their job. Sexism, favoritism, nepotism, etc. You name the 'ism', it's going on there. Will they do anything about it? Well, that would require actual decision making, leadership and work. So, no. They'll just go out and hire a "Diversity HR Lead" and call it a day. This is precisely why every strong, competent employee quits. The HR department was singing, Frozen's "Let It Go" because there's a mass exodus of great talent leaving the company. What decent Bay Area company operates like that? Run away as fast as you can to another Bay Area company that offers free food and sub-par salaries. There are so many better ones out there! Go there not here!

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    Upwork Response

    May 12, 2020SVP, HR

    Hi there, I'm disappointed to read this and would love to discuss with you. I am open to all your feedback and am happy to connect whenever works for you. Please do reach out so that I can work on your concerns. -zoë

  9. Helpful (9)

    "Get some adults in here before the current leadership team runs the company into the ground"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Upwork full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Flexible working hours. Some sharp colleagues.

    Cons

    Complete dysfunction at every level (individual, team, strategic); decisions made by committee. Core aspects of the business are not being invested in. Long hours, but if you complain then you aren't a team player and don't believe in the mission. Upwork had a lead in this space but is thoroughly squandering it.

    Upwork Response

    May 7, 2020SVP, HR

    Hi there, I'm really sorry to hear this. I would love to understand your feedback and welcome a chance to discuss. Please slack or email me directly so we can connect at your convenience -zoë

  10. Helpful (2)

    "Great product, good teammates, okay management"

    3.0
    Former Employee - Senior Sales Development Representative in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Upwork full-time

    Pros

    Work in great industry doing work that matters

    Cons

    Does not bode well for an introvert. Must contribute socially to advance career

Found 184 reviews