Launched in partnership with Genpact, Payoneer, and Sutherland – with the aim of expanding to more companies – “Opportunity Unlimited” brings freelance work opportunities and other support services to tens of thousands of displaced refugees
Upwork, the world’s work marketplace, and the Tent Partnership for Refugees (Tent), a global network of over 250 major businesses committed to supporting refugees, today launched “Opportunity Unlimited: Connecting displaced professionals to remote work” – a new initiative to connect tens of thousands of professionals displaced from Ukraine to skilled remote work opportunities.
As Europe sees its largest refugee crisis since World War II – with over 5 million people having fled Ukraine and 8 million internally displaced – and as Ukraine faces an estimated loss of 5 million jobs, the initiative connects companies around the world to highly skilled displaced talent from Ukraine using Upwork, ensuring these professionals can gain economic independence while displaced.
“As we mark a grim milestone – over four months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – it’s more important than ever that displaced people within and outside Ukraine are given the chance to earn income for themselves and their families,” said Gideon Maltz, executive director at the Tent Partnership for Refugees. “As permanent employment may not yet be available for most refugees from Ukraine, freelance work is a lifeline for connecting them to income and leveraging their skills, especially in the IT and digital sectors. By actively recruiting talent that has been displaced by the war in Ukraine, companies in the U.S., Europe, and around the world will not only be helping vulnerable people, but also benefiting from displaced professionals’ talent.”
“We’ve been in awe of the Ukrainian people’s resilience over the course of this crisis, having figured out how to take their work with them and continue earning a livelihood under the most impossible circumstances,” said Hayden Brown, president and CEO of Upwork. “As part of our mission to create economic opportunities so that people have better lives, we are thrilled to mobilize with our partners around the world to encourage companies to find and hire these incredible, skilled professionals from Ukraine, wherever they may be.”
The initiative has launched with professional services company Genpact and digital transformation firm Sutherland as hiring partners, who will work closely with Tent and Upwork to match professionals from Ukraine with a range of backgrounds and skills – including web, mobile and software development, customer support, and marketing – with projects and long-term engagements on Upwork. Based on initial learnings, Tent and Upwork will develop best practices for how companies can integrate displaced independent professionals into their existing operations at scale and will grow the initiative to include more companies as well as other refugee populations like displaced people from Syria and Venezuela.
“Guided by our purpose, the relentless pursuit of a world that works better for people, we are committed to extending support to displaced Ukrainian professionals,” said Tiger Tyagarajan, chief executive officer of Genpact. “The strength of our global workforce is rooted in diversity of all kinds. We welcome the opportunity to bring the perspectives, skills, and resilience of displaced workers from around the world to help drive meaningful transformation for and with our clients around the world.”
To ensure the success of the initiative, Tent and Upwork will also partner with a network of tech providers like Payoneer as well as the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) and NGOs including HIAS, Techfugees, Humans in the Loop, Na’amal, and Upwardly Global, among others to identify displaced talent who can use the Upwork platform, and to provide wraparound services such as access to training, payments, banking, and other basic necessities.
In addition, Upwork will provide a suite of support services to displaced professionals, including:
- Matching between displaced talent and work opportunities available on Upwork’s platform.
- Access to talent coaches who will help displaced professionals register on Upwork, identify skills that are in high demand, and advise them on how to market themselves to companies seeking independent talent.
- Skills certification and badging to increase the chances for displaced talent to be hired.
Companies interested in joining the initiative can find out more by visiting: https://www.upwork.com/opportunity-unlimited
About the Tent Partnership for Refugees
With more and more refugees displaced for longer periods of time, businesses have a critical role to play in helping refugees integrate economically in their new host communities. The Tent Partnership for Refugees mobilizes the global business community to improve the lives and livelihoods of 36 million refugees who have been forcibly displaced from their home countries. Founded by Chobani’s founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya in 2016, we are a network of over 250 major companies committed to including refugees. Tent believes that companies can most sustainably support refugees by leveraging their core business operations – by engaging refugees as potential employees, entrepreneurs and consumers. Find out more at tent.org.
Upwork is the world’s work marketplace. We serve everyone from one-person startups to over 30% of the Fortune 100 with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential. Our talent community earned over $3.3 billion on Upwork in 2021 across more than 10,000 skills in categories including website & app development, creative & design, customer support, finance & accounting, consulting, and operations. Learn more at upwork.com and join us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.