Online opportunities for freelancers up 120%

Demand for software development, content writing and consultants soars

The number of businesses hiring freelancers online increased 120% in 2011.

That is according to the 2011 Online Employment Review, which was published today by global online work platform Elance.

The findings highlight the opportunities for freelancers, suggesting that the future of work will be global and online as more firms seek to expand their talent pool to the international internet community.

In total, 650,000 new jobs have been posted on Elance in 2011 – worth more than $500m (£318.4m) in cumulative earnings. This is in contrast to the restricted permanent job creation affecting the global economy.

Earnings rise

Furthermore, the earnings of online professionals have risen in more than 100 countries this year, with the increases affecting 30 of the 39 countries in Europe – including those experiencing economic woes such as Greece and Spain.

The most in-demand freelancers were those with software development skills, such as HTML5 (up 238%), mobile (up 137%), WordPress (up 100%), and Facebook (up 66%) and Twitter (up 47%).

Similarly, demand for freelance graphic designers and content writers experienced growth of 176% and 72% respectively; and practitioners of internet marketing saw requests for their services increase by 132%.

There was also a rise in demand for outsourced admin, with transcription soaring 114% and data entry rising 69%.

The most popular sectors for freelance consultants were product manufacturing (up 186%), architectural design (up 185%) and financial analysis (up 140%).

Changing patterns

Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance, said of the findings: “This year’s job numbers suggest a structural change in traditional employment, as more businesses are adopting online work as a core business strategy.

“No longer confined to the 9 to 5…knowledge workers are building independent careers by working online with multiple clients, from their home, from public spaces or from co-located offices.”

He added: “The ability to gain instant access to qualified talent with in-demand skills regardless of location is a global trend that is starting to change the way businesses and people work.”

For more information on freelancing, visit Startups’ Going Freelance section

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