New research released by the UK’s leading freelance marketplace, PeoplePerHour, has provided a fascinating insight into the changing demands of business during the last two year analysing over 450,000 projects. Content editing skills remain king, making up seven of the top 20 most highly prized services. But the form that those skills are taking have made a significant change, with video creation now the most sought-after skill in the freelance marketplace. While the erstwhile leader of the pack, content writing, copywriting, proofreading, and editorial work has fallen back to 12th position. Editing skills are the second most demanded service and, interestingly, audio skills completes the top three.
While much of the top twenty is relatively predictable, featuring skills that are widely acknowledged essentials for online enterprises – graphic design (6th place), HTML (8th), lead generation (11th). There are also some newer and slightly less expected entries. Woocommerce development – the open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress – is now the 16th most demanded freelance service, perhaps re emphasising the ever-increasing dominance of the WordPress platform. Architect design, not something traditionally associated with the online marketplace, now takes up 15th position. While recruitment, which could arguably be described as an already saturated market, has become the 14th most demanded freelance skill.
But the most highly demanded skills aren’t the only area of interest in this new data. Both the changing priorities of business and the broadening of the freelance sector can be traced through the skills that have seen the greatest increase – or decrease – in demand. Fashion-related services, for instance, have experienced an 86% increase, while Pinterest Marketing is up by more than 83%. The latter probably reflects the recent change in the platform’s advertising policies, making it a hitherto largely unexplored area ripe with opportunity.
At the other end of the scale, the demand for Magento design services has fallen by a stupendous 1,333%. And it’s not the only ecommerce-related area to suffer a loss of business, with demand for both Prestashop (-77%) and Zencart (-73%) falling away, if not quite so spectacularly. It’s probably not a massive leap of imagination to see a correlation between this and rise of both Woocommerce and Shopify-related services. Shopify is another area that has made it into the top ten skills areas with the most increased demand 2018-19. It experienced a raise of more than 38%.
Interestingly, some social media services have also suffered in the last year. Social media writing has fallen by 400%. Facebook page design is down 200%. And Twitter bootstrap services fell 60%. The interesting thing here is that social media is by no means falling out of favour as we saw an increase in demand for Pinterest (83%) and Instagram Marketing (39%).
Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour, comments:
‘The freelance marketplace can work as an excellent barometer of the changing requirements and priorities of business. The demands for niche experts change as new opportunities are explored and as what were once niche skills become ‘everyday’ and absorbed into routine office duties.
‘The changing focus of the freelance sector is also a good way to track upcoming and dying technology. If you’re planning on investing heavily in Blackberry development for your business this year, for example, the knowledge that demand for skills in this area is down by 100% could make you think again.
‘The freelance marketplace is an ever-evolving thing. Most freelancers are entrepreneurs at their core. They thrive by staying ahead of the game. By tracking the changing demands for individual skills, it’s possible to gain a glimpse of what your business will probably find itself investing in in the years ahead.’