Demand for skilled freelance talent is growing, which is a market forecasted to reach $5 billion by 2015. In fact, the Elance report shows companies are making online freelancers part of their core human capital management strategies.
89 percent of businesses state that supplementing their workforces with digital freelancers provides them an advantage, while 87 percent of businesses claim the quality of talent hired online is better or comparable to the talent that is locally available.
The study also reveals that 50 percent of businesses are building teams of freelancers to work on multiple projects, rather than hiring them for just one task. Plus, 45 percent of businesses admitted to using online freelancers to expand into new markets, while 70 percent have hired digital freelancers to close skills gaps as well as to enable market expansion and product innovation.
“Demand for technical and creative freelance talent continues to accelerate on Elance,” said Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance. “The ability to hire the best available person online and on-demand is becoming an essential strategy for agile businesses of all sizes.”
It is also important to note that Elance has especially seen increased hiring for freelancers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. For instance, the demand for data scientists and statisticians is up 200 percent, while networking and security experts saw more than a 300 percent increase in hiring. Plus, the demand for mobile app developers grew by 49 percent, software application developer hiring is up 62 percent, the number of 3D printing related jobs increased by more than 200 percent and the overall demand for U.S. based computer-aided design (CAD) is up by almost 70 percent.
Furthermore, hiring freelancers as a cost savings strategy has dropped by 45 percent over the past year, proving that it is no longer a primary driver for businesses. This means freelancers are obtaining increased revenues for their services.
The report shows that freelance earnings are up 69 percent and hourly wages are 10 times the national average. STEM talent saw the biggest increase in pay, particularly for talent in categories like data science, network programming and network design, which saw pay rates nearly double.
Along with the growth in the freelance market, Elance has grown globally too. For example, 170,000 new businesses of all sizes joined the platform in the first half of the year, and the total number of freelancers increased by more than half a million – reaching 2.8 million in total. Moreover, Elance has expanded its European operations by adding Country Managers and offices in the United Kingdom, Germany and in the Nordics (Sweden, Denmark and Norway).