At Frankly, an advice platform for women entrepreneurs, founder Johanna Buchweitz noticed a trend: many fast-growing companies using her app don’t have anyone on staff as full-time employees. Instead, she says, more and more startups rely entirely on contractors to fill specific roles. Freelancers “just do [the work] with a level of excellence.
At a time when tech companies are laying off workers by the thousands, companies are freezing hiring, and inflation means wages aren’t stretching as far, more and more people — and more companies like customers of Buchweitz – rely on contract labor to fill gaps, dampen income streams, or build full-time careers out of makeshift jobs. But it’s not just about filling technical skills shortages: a new report from freelance platform Upwork reveals that some of the most in-demand freelance skills include accounting, lead generation, data entry, customer service and graphic design.
The skills with the strongest year-over-year revenue growth on Upwork’s platform, which publishes freelance gigs or specific projects that connect businesses with freelancers or agencies, were sales and business development (54%), data entry (47%), accounting (45%) and 3D animation (44%). The data also showed that businesses were in dire need of customer service skills, such as chat support.
“These are all things where companies think, ‘well, actually, we don’t need to have that in-house anymore,'” says Jonathan Shroyer, head of customer experience innovation at Arise. Virtual Solutions, an outsourcing consulting firm. In the past, he says, “companies thought everything was a sacred cow.”
Upwork compared the earnings of freelancers from January 1, 2022 to October 31, 2022 to identify the top skills companies are looking for in freelancers. Each of these most sought after skills had a minimum of 500 projects in the Upwork database during that time.
In the tech industry, where talent shortages are among the largest but where job cuts are among the fastest, the skills most sought after by freelancers were full-stack development, followed by front-end software development. -end and backend. Mobile app development and web design rounded out the top five. E-commerce website development, UX and UI design, and content management system development are also highly sought-after skills for freelancers.
Startup tech companies are especially reliant on freelancers, Buchweitz says. “It’s much less risky than hiring full-time employees,” she says. “It’s more profitable.”
Other workers rethink their priorities and quit their jobs amid the Great Resignation. Some take a side hustle, while others make freelancing their full-time job.
“You may find yourself on a trajectory from king or queen of your side hustle to a small business operation,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of recruiting and staffing firm American Staffing Association. “The world of work is changing.”
According to a previous Upwork report from December, 39% of the US workforce – some 60 million Americans – have participated in part-time or full-time self-employment in the past year, in up three percentage points from 2021.
“It’s not just something people do to make ends meet,” says Margaret Lilani, Upwork’s vice president of talent solutions. “It really is a career.”
Experts believe side hustles will continue to grow, if not “reign supreme” in 2023, as LinkedIn editors point out in their list of big ideas for the year, especially among young Gen Z workers. In October, McKinsey & Company reported that 51% of Gen Z workers are self-employed and identify as contract, freelance, temporary or on-demand workers, compared to just 36% of all other ages.
And at a time when a potential recession looms, some 58% of 2,000 American workers surveyed by Wahlquist’s American Staffing Association and Harris Poll say they are considering getting a second job, or a “side hustle.” , next year to increase their primary income. That’s far more than the 39% who plan to look for a new job or the 30% who plan to change careers.
The diminished stigma around freelancing — combined with the pandemic-induced pivot toward remote work and education — has created more opportunities, Lilani says. Freelancers used to be considered temporary workers, but now “it’s not an in-between thing they do anymore. These are careers and they add value that these organizations cannot find internally. »