Laptop computer displaying logo of Upwork.
Image: Adobe Stock

Upwork, a global employment marketplace, is launching a hub dedicated to connecting companies seeking workers with technical skills specific to artificial intelligence with independent professionals who have such expertise. The AI Services hub is also designed to host a suite of generative AI tools along with new features powered by OpenAI, and tools from AI content generator Jasper.

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Upwork offers free trial of Jasper generative AI

According to Dave Bottoms, general manager and vice president of products for Upwork Marketplace, the company is launching a 30-day free trial of Jasper generative AI services for copywriting, marketing and image creation available to all talent on Upwork, so they can increase their productivity, communicate more effectively with clients and elevate the quality of their work.

“These updates are technically found outside the AI Services hub, in other areas of the product flow,” he said.

Increased demand for AI jobs and skills

Jobs in generative AI reportedly jumped 20% in the U.S. in May 2023. According to online training and education site Coursera, the top jobs in AI include positions for data scientists and for engineers specializing in AI, machine learning, data, robotics and software.

Upwork sees rapid adoption of generative AI among pros and businesses

The company noted an over 450% growth in weekly job posts related to generative AI compared to this time last year.

“AI was the fastest-growing category on our platform in the first half of 2023, as measured by total number of individuals hired,” said Bottoms. He said that generative AI job posts on Upwork (Figure A) are up more than 1,000% and related searches are up more than 1,500% when comparing the second quarter of 2023 to the fourth quarter of 2022 .

This is a chart showing that engineers and data scientists are among high demand AI positions. Image: Upwork
Engineers, data scientists, among high demand AI positions. Image: Upwork

Upwork’s recent research indicates that demand for AI skills is accelerating, with 64% of C-suite executives saying they will hire more professionals of all types due to generative AI, according to Bottoms.

“Businesses are seeking out independent professionals on Upwork with expertise in AI tools like ChatGPT, DALL-E, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, Jasper and more.” He said such job posts are up 230% in the second quarter of 2023 versus the fourth quarter of 2022.

SEE: Should you use generative AI for hiring? Read this TechRepublic article to find out.

The key to new Upwork AI hub is interactivity

The new AI Services hub is the company’s first foray into helping Upwork clients find and hire the best AI talent.

“It is an interactive experience that helps businesses quickly connect with independent professionals with AI expertise and find tips for integrating AI into their business,” he said. “For example, once there, clients can book a 1:1 consultation to get advice from an AI expert, hire a professional with experience in common AI use cases, check out the new AI Services resource center and more.”

Among tools that the AI Services hub includes are:

OpenAI powers some features in Upwork’s new hub

The company said OpenAI will power some new features in beta for job seekers and employers, including:

  • A large language model job post generator designed to help recruiters post customizable job post drafts.
  • A proposal tips tool for independent professionals on Upwork to improve their proposals for specific job posts by providing personalized tips on how to best showcase skills that meet the demands of hiring clients.
  • Upwork Chat for businesses working on the platform; this is designed to help on tasks such as hiring and talent search (Figure B).
This image shows the AI natural language interface of Upwork Chat. Image: Upwork
Upwork Chat lets users use an AI natural language interface. Image: Upwork.

Growing demand for prompt engineers, creators, AI chatbot pros and more

“A few roles that we’ve seen gain steam are prompt engineers, AI content creators, machine learning and deep learning engineers, data scientists, AI chatbot developers, and professionals with model tuning and AI model integration expertise,” Bottoms said. “As we look at work being sought across a breadth of marketplace categories we support, we see talent using AI tools to augment their workflows in nearly every category.”

He added that Upwork is aiming to be the pre-eminent destination for clients seeking AI-related talent and work. “Over the past year alone, more than 10,000 contracts have involved AI work, and more than 250 AI skills are represented by talent on Upwork.”

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