Upwork is at the heart of this acceleration of career and work innovation. In 2021, we launched Talent Scout™ and Virtual Talent Bench™, expanded Project Catalog globally, and added features and improvements to our Enterprise Suite, among other product enhancements. The evolution of our product offerings gives our customers additional ways to engage with each other and collaborate on our work marketplace.
Our business is built for the type of work and career innovation that is happening right now. In 2021, gross services volume (GSV)1 grew to an all-time high of $3.5 billion, representing a 41% year-over-year increase. We also reported record revenue of $503 million, up 35% year-over-year. Top talent continues to seek work on our platform. In the fourth quarter of 2021, we surpassed $15 billion in lifetime talent earnings.2 We also ended the fourth quarter with approximately 771,000 active clients.3 A growing number of these clients are spending six and seven figures with us annually.
We view our performance in 2021 as a starting point. Ahead of us is a total addressable market of more than $1.3 trillion. Upwork is well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity. We have 20 years of experience, a trusted and scalable platform, and proprietary transaction data for over 5 million jobs per year, giving us unique insight into the factors that create successful long-term working relationships between clients and talent. Perhaps most importantly, we have an agile and innovative team that has shown time and again its ability to move the business forward, no matter market conditions.
Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Building and supporting a diverse team of professionals is critical to Upwork’s mission of creating economic opportunities so that people have better lives. We know that, while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not. We are intensely focused on increasing access to fulfilling work that helps people reach their potential, both for our team members and those who use our platform.
Our work marketplace is purposely designed to help level the playing field. Rather than relying on conventional measures of professional achievement, such as background, educational opportunities, or industry connections, talent on Upwork can build their careers through meritocracy: portfolios of their work, client feedback, and platform earnings. We advance inclusive economic opportunity by continually improving the accessibility of our platform, employing inclusive design principles when developing new products and services, and creating solutions that serve the diverse perspectives and needs of our global audience.
As a unique example, Upwork’s Diversity-Certified Badges help our clients prioritize representation by hiring talent from historically underrepresented communities, including minority-, woman-, LGBTQIA+-, U.S. veteran-, and disability-owned businesses.
At the same time, we strive to cultivate an inclusive culture within our own organization. Upwork’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIBs), led by Erin L. Thomas, PhD, helps build operating models, educational tools, and accountability mechanisms that move us closer to a more equitable working environment.
A key element of our DIBs program is our eight Upwork Belonging Communities (UBCs), employee-led groups that help team members forge relationships and create a sense of connection and belonging. In 2021, we launched our newest UBC, UpMIND, for neurodiverse Upworkers and allies. Over half of our employee population participates in at least one UBC.
2021 also marked the launch of GlowUP, a dedicated enrichment program for and by our leaders of color, through which they examine leadership challenges and grow their influence at Upwork. In March 2022, we created a similar program to help cultivate early- to mid-career leaders of color.
Through Upwork’s Inclusive Sourcing Program, started in 2020, we are building a diverse portfolio of suppliers to not only meet Upwork’s procurement needs but also help drive equity, innovation, and economic opportunity among the wider business community. We aim to increase the number of underrepresented suppliers in our request for proposal exercises and grow our underrepresented supplier spend.
I am proud of these efforts and the recognition Upwork has received for them. This includes being named to the 2022 Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index and 2022 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.