How to improve your Job Success Score on Upwork

With Upwork’s recent move from 5-star rating to Job Success Score as a representation of a freelancer’s work quality, and client’s satisfaction with it, many of us were left surprised with JSS’s changes every two weeks.

What happened to me is that after a month or so, none of my contracts were finished nor closed. I only worked on already existing jobs, which my clients were very happy and satisfied with. And then my Job Success Score dropped from 95% to 88%.

After that, my JSS continued falling every two weeks, being only 79% at one point.

Why and How This Happened?

First, Upwork won’t reveal the exact calculation for Job Success Score because doing so would make it easier to artificially boost scores. This post results from my personal experience, and from the information I gathered during the last couple of months.

READ MORE: 6 Tips on How to Find Good Quality Clients on Upwork

Job Success Score is updated every two weeks. It’s important to note that any movement in this score (either up or down) reflects both recent activity and activity over a longer period of time. Upwork looks at trends over a 24-month period, so you can see your score change, even without recently closed contracts, due to past jobs which are slipping out of the 24-month window.


What Can Result in Job Success Score Change?

Drops in score can be due to poor feedback, jobs that ended without payment or feedback, open jobs without spend or the occurrence of refunds or disputes etc.

Upwork said that they understand that clients can be unresponsive, and that there may be an occasional contract for which you do not receive feedback.

While an individual contract without feedback should not count for your Job Success Score (unless it constitutes the majority of your work history), a continued pattern of contracts without feedback will end up affecting your Job Success Score.

Jobs with no spend also impact the job success score metric. However, if you only have 1, 2 or even 3 job cancellations (or jobs with no spend), their impact isn’t all that significant. The job success score will be affected only if there is a pattern or a significant number of job cancellations.

For fixed price contracts, where projects are not submitted on the set due date, there is an effect on the job success score. However, Upwork still takes into consideration whether the missed due dates are due to client’s issues.


What Upwork’s JSS Algorithm Does to “Help” You?

Upwork is said to review accounts and contracts carefully, and to consider issues where negative outcomes occur due to the client. Furthermore, contracts without activity due to poor client interaction are not counted against your score.

A client that receives poor feedback from freelancers repeatedly will be flagged. Also, their inputs will be omitted from your score.

Upwork’s algorithm looks at many performance indicators:

  • public and private feedback,
  • successful completion of work,
  • client complaints,
  • responsiveness levels,
  • missed deadlines,
  • disputes,
  • long term client relationships and more.


How to Improve Your Job Success Score?

To improve your Job Success Score, Upwork recommends focusing on delivering great work to your current contracts. Other factors that are beneficial for your JSS are: good feedback, rehires, long-term relationships and clients paying you for more than 3 months at a time.

Having several contracts with no activity for more than 3 months might be one of the reasons why your JSS went down. Although, Upwork knows that this may not be an acceptable process for us freelancers; however, that doesn’t mean that a freelancer with a “no activity contract” will be penalized just like that.

READ MORE: 4 Steps I Followed to Successfully Start My Freelancing Career

In such situations, after an initial effect on the JSS, the decrease can actually be overturned: the contract needs to be ended and the freelancer needs to receive a positive feedback from the client.

You can prevent this and even increase your current JSS by contacting your client. You may want to talk to them about ending the contract if they no longer have any work for you. That way you can get feedback from them.

If you receive positive feedback from them, your JSS will increase. If you get all of those inactive contracts to give you a positive feedback, your JSS will be back where it was.


Upwork Needs to Improve JSS Algorithm

Although I generally do agree that details of the JSS algorithm shouldn’t be known to freelancers, the algorithm itself is flawed in my opinion. Upwork should invest some more time and thought into further advancing it, making it more fair for freelancers.

After all, we are not to blame when our clients don’t respond to our messages and e-mails, or when they don’t give us the content needed to finish a project within a set due date.

Hope all of this will help you in your freelancing career on Upwork. If you have any additional comments or advice, feel free to leave it in the comment section below or on!

About The Author

I like building new things, exploring the world, ideas and my mind.


  1. The EXACT same thing happened to me and is why I’m searching to find others with the same problem. I brought some of the clients I landed on Upwork outside of upwork for payment (paypal) because of their new fee structure, which is obsurd! Now, I have to raise my rate and risk getting less work in order to handle their new fees. Second, I currently have a few “jobs in Progress”, which were simply clients who never initiated a “Job is complete”. I used Elance extensively and it was working perfectly! I had great clients, and some of whom I still work with today. However, I never used oDesk because I never had great success there. Elance was intuitive and simple and had many features that made it easier to apply to a job. I could select items from my portfolio to add to the proposal, which you can’t do on upwork, etc.

    My Job success score, at one point, was over 95%. Now, it’s down to 81%. And I’M CONVINCED it’s the reason I’m not getting any new jobs. I’m a talented UX designer and I had no problem getting gigs when Elance was around or when I had a Job Success Score of over 95%. At this point, with an 81% Success Score, that there’s not point in wasting time trying to get jobs. Clients even have the option of only allowing freelancers who have above a 90% success score apply! Elance was a perfect balance to oDesk and it really catered to a different client base than oDesk did. Now, I just feel like I’m using oDesk. Not to mention how terrible the UX is on Upwork, having to refresh pages because of bugs, not being able to go back and edit a proposal already submitted, the list goes on and on. Since no one knows what Job Success Score is actually calculated on, when a client sees it, they immediately think it means only 81% of jobs this freelancer did were completed. OBSURD! I miss Elance very much and I’m not going to bother with Upwork anymore. If I don’t even understand what my Job Success Score means, what’s the point? I have a 5-star rating, but apparently carries no weight. Seriously frustrated.

  2. I am 100% agreed with Jarek O. when Upwork was Odesk and we had option of Elance we were enjoying as Freelancer but now this new UNFAIR Job Success score created lot of issues for us and they are decreasing it without any Solid reason, I was getting 5 stars from my clients but even that they reduced my Job score and now it is 89 and I am not getting any New jobs :(.

    I do not want to use any bad word for Upwork team who started this Foolish type of monitoring system but it really ruined our Freelance work.

  3. Great piece! I also agree that the JSS Algorithm is flawed in a way. As you rightly put it, some issues are Client related but such issues go a long way in affecting your JSS. In my opinion, Upwork might have to decommission the JSS in the long run.

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