Upwork ($UPWK) 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.  

Last year, more than $3.3 billion of work was done through Upwork by skilled professionals who are gaining more control by finding work they are passionate about and innovating their careers. 


We are looking for a Managing Director to set the vision for and build Upwork’s Research Institute. In this role, you will be at the forefront of the discussion around the future of work, setting the agenda for trends and topics both businesses and talent care about, and delivering compelling, insightful content that resonates across media, industry stakeholders and influencers, and other marketing & sales channels. You will assemble the team necessary to shape and drive our thought leadership engine, and work cross-functionally to establish the necessary partnerships to bring our research to the next level. Reporting to the VP, Communications, this is a greenfield opportunity to harness your deep understanding of research and your eye for editorial to establish Upwork as the trusted source to tell the data-backed workplace and workforce stories that matter.

Your Responsibilities:

  • Build, scale and launch the Upwork Research Institute; set the vision, strategic research direction, priorities and goals for an innovative, best-in-class thought leadership program.
  • Serve as chief spokesperson for the Upwork Research Institute, across broadcast and print media, bylines and op-eds, and via Upwork’s owned channels. 
  • Lead the design of our research agenda and execution of flagship studies and partnership reports that can be merchandised across owned, earned, and sales enablement channels.
  • Grow and manage a research editorial team including content creators and analysts, plus establish and grow a stable of subject matter experts, e.g. economists, futurists, sociologists, and data scientists.
  • Establish internal and external partnerships in support of the research agenda, from executive sponsorship to outside subject matter experts and relevant organizations.
  • Collaborate with internal leaders to understand and incorporate research needs across sales, analytics, etc.
  • Have a pulse on macro- and micro- emerging trends and effectively translate those into timely, compelling research to establish and maintain the Institute’s leadership position.

What it takes to catch our eye:

  • Proven track record leading teams responsible for large scale research programs. Bonus if related to economics, labor, or related fields.
  • Background in economics, math, statistics or other highly quantitative field.
  • Keen analytical and editorial eye—you have a strong DNA for designing compelling research/studies, synthesizing data-driven stories, and an innate understanding of what makes a good story.
  • Experience with statistical analysis, data access & manipulation tools, and data visualization toolkits/software.
  • Experience preparing reports and/or providing thorough analysis, findings and predictions for report inclusion.
  • Experience serving as spokesperson for research findings and on behalf of a company or organization.
  • Seasoned communicator with excellent written and verbal communications skills, especially translating complex ideas and findings into layman terms with media and for large audiences.
  • Experience in fast-paced, high-growth environments; strong executive presence; proven track record of influencing and securing buy-in from stakeholders, particularly across Sales, Marketing, and Product.
  • Experience working with media, trade groups, think tanks, regulatory and legislative bodies a plus.
  • Passion for the future of work.

Come change how the world works.

At Upwork, you’ll shape talent solutions for how the world works today. We are a remote-first organization working together to create exciting remote work opportunities for a global community of professionals.  While we have physical offices in San Francisco and Chicago, currently we also support hiring of corporate full-time employees in 19 states in the United States. Please speak with a member of our recruitment team to determine whether you are located in a state in which we are hiring corporate full-time employees. 

Our vibrant culture is built on shared values and our mission to create economic opportunities so that people have better lives. We foster amazing teams, put our community first, and have a bias toward action. We encourage everyone to bring their whole selves to work and grow together through development opportunities, mentorship, and employee resource groups. And oh yeah, we've also got amazing benefits - including medical insurance for you and your family, unlimited PTO, 401(k) with matching, 12 weeks of paid parental leave, and a generous Employee Stock Purchase Plan. Check out our Life at Upwork page to learn more about our benefits and the employee experience.

Check out our Life at Upwork page to learn more about the employee experience.   

Upwork is proudly committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we never discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics.

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