Upwork or Global Squirrels, Which Platform is Best for You to Hire International Employees

We all know that the world doesn’t function if there is no trade/business, and we also know that people are the core of any business. Having the right people in place will help organizations to grow big and remain successful in the long run. Knowing this, companies spend a lot of time, money and energy in finding the right talent. And a lot of research and innovation goes into solving this very problem of acquiring the right talent. Thanks to recent advancements in technology, communication and digitalization, a global bridge was created for employers to reach their desired talent, no matter which country they reside in and what rules they practice on.

This article discusses two such global hiring solutions from an employer perspective and tries to answer some important questions on the ease, availability, authenticity, usefulness, effectiveness, convenience and affordability of hiring international talent. Let’s compare Global Squirrels, a global PEO/EOR platform and Upwork, a freelance hiring platform and discuss how Global Squirrels is different from Upwork and how it adds value to your organization.

The EASE of finding the candidates

Finding candidates is the toughest part of recruitment, to help employers find the candidate, Upwork follows a bidding method where employers post the required job details and invite applications from candidates. It is the employer’s responsibility to go through the applicants, contact them, negotiate and delegate the job. Whereas, Global Squirrels offers a dashboard for employers to raise their job requests. Once the request is placed, Global Squirrels will send the employer three vetted profiles at a time, schedule interviews and arrange negotiations until the request is fulfilled.

The conflict of assurance

Every job request comes with a defined goal and set time frame, therefore it becomes mandatory to find a candidate for the job as soon as possible. A mere job post on Upwork doesn’t guarantee you a candidate, Upwork doesn’t give employers any assurance about bidding. It depends on the availability of candidates, their expertise and the budget provided. What if you post a job advertisement and there is nobody to take up the job?

Global Squirrels gives employers a great deal of assurance as the platform is always backed by a robust ATS system and a team of experienced recruiters who take the responsibility of finding suitable candidates as per the job requirements.

The conflict of continuity

With Upwork, you cannot get the same skill twice as you need to place a fresh job request for every task. And you will get fresh bidding from a fresh set of applicants, you may not get the bidding from the one who did your last job and you liked his/her work. This means you need to train your new applicants again and again.

The other side, when employers hire employees/contractors through Global Squirrels, only dedicated resources will be onboarded to ensure continuity. Employers and employees work together on a long-term basis as needed.

Task-oriented vs Role-oriented

Business runs on roles/projects, and employers find more comfort in hiring people for the project/role but not for the tasks. Upwork is more task-oriented, where employers have to cut their requirements into small tasks, delegate the same to different people, collect the pieces once they are done and add them to the whole.

Whereas, Global Squirrels offers a role-oriented approach, through which employers can hire people for the roles needed for their business and have them work on various projects on a long-term basis.

Permanent roles vs Freelance roles: Factors that influence

Reasons Permanent Roles Freelance Roles
Guaranteed income Yes No
Job security Yes No
Connect with other employees Yes No
Mental health Yes Yes (Partial, Arguable)
Work-life balance Yes (Partial, Arguable) Yes
Company activities Yes No
Paid leaves, holidays and benefits Yes No

The EASE of dealing with the candidates

Communication and availability play a crucial role in developing a project, the more you understand the project the better you come up with the solutions. Employers and employees both should invest a significant amount of time in exchanging requirements, information, ideas, and other important stuff to ensure employees understand the project. And nothing is perfect until it is made perfect, every task/project demands a number of iterations/enhancements before reaching the endpoint. Let’s compare Upwork and Global Squirrels based on the employees’ accountability and availability toward employers.

The conflict of dedication and exclusivity

When employers hire people through Upwork, employees don’t spend much time in understanding the project, rather, they look to finish the task assigned as early as possible to make more money. And most of the employees will be working on multiple tasks, which affects their dedication/concentration levels. In general terms, organizations consider employees as their exclusive assets, what if those assets belong to multiple employers?

Whereas, when employers hire through Global Squirrels, employees exclusively work for one employer. And they dedicate themselves in understanding, executing, and delivering the projects assigned to them. Their best interest is to serve one and only one employer so that they can continue employment and grow with the employer. These resources will be true assets to your organization.

The conflict of iterations and ad-hoc requirements

Most of the work requirements are incomplete in nature, we always try to improve the project on the go. Even though we do not generally name it, we all go through an informal iterative process which makes the project better over time. But when you hire people through Upwork, employees don’t give employers a chance to give feedback, add more inputs and other ad-hoc requirements. If any employer wants to do so, he must create a new task or increase the budget for that respective task.

With Global Squirrels, employees are all yours to give feedback, add interim inputs and assign ad-hoc requirements. Employers can request as many iterations as they wish, until they think the project is complete. Thus, with Global Squirrels, quality of the project remains uncompromised.

The conflict of urgency and denial

We already discussed that most of the requirements come with a time frame, few of them may fall under the urgent/immediate category. When employers have to deal with the requirement that comes with a sense of urgency, they look to rely on their key assets. They do not like to hear the word ‘No’ from the employees when they need something urgent. There is no guarantee in Upwork that you get someone who can accept and deliver such tasks within a particular time frame. It’s hard to digest when you say it is urgent and the other party says it cannot happen.

But through Global Squirrels, there is no denial of your requirement. As your employees work for you alone, when needed, they do not mind spending more time and/or changing the priority of tasks they are working on. Thus, when you need something urgent, you will always have someone in your team to get that done.

The EASE of handling the payments

Upwork follows a mile-stone oriented payment approach where employers have to release payments to the employees upon verifying and confirming each mile-stone they complete. For which, employers must set milestones for every task they seek through the Upwork, which itself is a tedious and time-consuming effort. And after that, employers have to track each and every task and their respective milestones to verify, confirm and approve the payment requests. Isn’t it a factor that causes a mild to probably a severe headache?

On the other side, with Global Squirrels, it is a fixed pay every month paid to employees as per their country pay schedules.

Table view of differences between Upwork and Global Squirrels

Upwork Global Squirrels
Sourcing Customers put in requests and will receive tons of applications from candidates to review and vet. Customers put their job request with details and they receive top 3 vetted/pre-interviewed profiles that match exactly with their job.
Onboarding Customers have to go through all the biddings, choose the better ones and initiate hiring. Bidding process might affect the quality. The top 3 vetted profiles are sourced based on budget and also ensure job requirements are met.
Nature of Job Task-oriented and short term. Role-oriented and intended for the long term.
Pricing 20% of payment to the freelancer goes to Upwork. This means the more the freelancer charges the better for Upwork. Flat monthly license fee model of $199 (for employee) and $9 (for contractor) no matter how much the employee is paid. This means the best intent is to get the right profile at the right budget.
Productivity Freelancers might be working with multiple customers at the same time. Not sure the customer will be getting 100% productivity for the project duration. Employee or Contractor will be working exclusively for you (contractually obligated). The intention is for long term association.
Continuity Very difficult to hire the same person twice. This means you have to train or provide KT for new people for every project. Employee/Contractor will be working full-time till the assignment is complete on a long term basis.
Timezone Candidates get to choose Employers get to choose
Compliance Employers’ responsibility Compliance will be handled by Global Squirrels
Urgent works and priorities Candidates will not cooperate when you need something urgent Employees will cooperate and spend more time hours when you need something urgent
ROI Customers will incur additional costs for any change in requirements. Employee works 100% for you and requirements and priorities can be changed if needed without any additional cost.

At last, affordability and compliance

When dealing with international employees, it is quintessential to compare the affordability, compliance and other crucial services related to global hiring and payroll management. Upwork charges a fixed 20% markup as commission on each and every payment that is made through their platform. The more you pay to the employees the more you pay to the platform.

On the other side, Global Squirrels charges a monthly flat rate of $199 for employees and $9 for contractors to process the payroll. And to ensure accountability, continuity and availability, Global Squirrels charges a one-time recruitment fee of $1499 for employees and $499 for contractors, that too only upon completing a service period of 90 days for employees and 30 days for contractors.

Platform fee comparison: Upwork vs Global Squirrels (Based on no. of man hours)

Hours of Manpower Upwork Global Squirrels
Freelancer Cost (Avg $100 Per Hour) Platform Fee (20% Commission) Employee Cost Platform Fee
10 Hours $1000 $200 $6000 per month on an average

$30 Per Hour

$199 Per Month
1 Week (Assuming 5 working days)

40 Hours 

$4000 $800
1 Month (Assuming 20 working days)

160 Hours

$16000 $3200

When you compare terms on compliance, it is employers’ responsibility to take care of compliance if they look to hire dedicated employees through Upwork. Or else, Upwork connects employers to a third party EOR/staffing platform to process the payroll. Whereas, Global Squirrels, being a pioneer in PEO/EOR services, offers a comprehensive assurance on compliance matters. From taxes, mandatory payments to the adherence of state/local statutory laws, Global Squirrels will handle everything on behalf of employers/organizations.


After a careful dissection of both the platforms, features and their operations, it can be concluded that Upwork may suit well for small time one-off tasks which are independent and less significant. But for long term project needs, to fill the roles needed for your business, there is no better option than Global Squirrels.

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