Online Talent Growing, Workers Making More

With the web becoming more ubiquitous and companies getting used to outsourcing to online freelancers, the market for online work is increasing, one recent study says. According to online outsourcing firm Elance, the pool of online workers that the company tracks made more than $70 million for online work of various kinds in 2009, up 45 percent from the beginning of the year.

The company said that the volume of hiring done through its online service also grew by more than 40 percent over 2008, and the total earnings of independent contractors working through Elance since the service began in 1998 passed the $245 million-mark. The survey shows that residents of all 50 states are now earning income online, with California, New York and Texas ranking as the top three states and San Francisco, New York and Dallas among the top cities for online income.

Elance said that some emerging trends for skills in 2010 include:

  • Mobile: Demand for mobile development was one of the fastest-growing skill subcategories, with a 180 percent increase in earnings in 2009. Android is also rising fast in the ranking of skills in demand – up 400 percent in the past 6 months with more than 170 projects posted in the last month alone.
  • The iPad: Within 24 hours of the Apple iPad announcement, 20 iPad application development jobs were immediately posted on Elance. As of mid-February, there were 70 open iPad jobs on the site.
  • Marketing: Demand for both online and traditional marketing talent continued to grow rapidly in 2009. Top marketing skills — including Search Engine Optimization (#1), Internet Marketing (#2), Lead Generation (#3) and Social Media Marketing (#7) — showed 46 percent growth in earnings.

Elance VP Ellen Pack said in a statement that online outsourcing is growing because “companies continue to look for greater flexibility and efficiency, more skilled professionals are choosing to work independently, and managing online work has become easier than ever due to sophisticated web applications, mobile devices and cloud computing platforms.”

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