SOURCE: Elance-oDesk


October 02, 2014 09:30 ET

Witness the Freelance Economy's Rise: Elance-oDesk Releases Q3 2014 Online Work Reports

World's Richest Data Source for Freelance Work Reveals Exploding Demand for Cloud-Based Customer Service, UI Design and Mobile Development

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 2, 2014) - Elance-oDesk, the world's largest online workplace, today released both the Global Online Work Report and a U.S. Online Work Report. Insights shared in these reports are drawn from Elance-oDesk's data warehouse -- the biggest repository of freelance work data available. They include rare insight into not only demand, but also into the full lifecycle of work happening on Elance-oDesk (from hiring to collaboration and payment).

"Freelancing is on the rise around the world. In the U.S. alone, 53 million professionals are now freelancing1," said Rich Pearson, SVP of Categories and Geographies at Elance-oDesk. "Businesses tapping into freelance talent via the Internet are approaching $3 billion of cumulative spend via and -- and we're still in the early days of online work." 

This unparalleled data points to the rise of a more agile work model where businesses and talent can connect with each other with unprecedented speed and efficiency: It now takes an average of three days to hire online, versus the 43 days2 necessary on average to hire traditionally. In this faster-paced work market, the half-life of skills is shrinking. The reports include trends on current hot skills.

Elance-oDesk Online Work Report Q3 2014 Trend Highlights:

  • Technology continues to be the largest category for hiring with $117 million in spend, almost half of all quarterly spend.
  • Mobile developers' earnings grew 49% year-over-year, making mobile the fastest-growing category for hiring.
  • In today's 24/7 world, customer service teams are moving to the cloud -- the category grew more than 30% in year-over-year earnings.

As local Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) talent shortages continue, businesses are hiring online to meet demand
According to ManpowerGroup, "The most common reason employers struggled to fill jobs is that candidates don't have the technical competencies required."3

Given this skill shortage, tech hiring continues to be the largest driver of online work spend. Fastest growing tech positions include (based on year-over-year freelancer earnings growth):

  • User Interface Designers (72% growth)
  • Front End Web Developers (52% growth)
  • iOS Mobile Developers (43% growth)
  • Back End Web Developers (30% growth)
  • 3D Modelers (28% growth) 

Growth in mobile development is outpacing all other categories as businesses increasingly rely on apps to remain competitive
Mobile projects were the fastest growth category of work (tech and beyond), with 49% year-over-year growth in earnings. Demand was highest for developers specializing in iPhone and iPad programming, JavaScript, Android and Objective C.

"At the local level, there is not nearly enough STEM talent to feed the demand," said Pearson. "We see this especially with emerging skills like Swift, the new programming language developed by Apple for iOS and OS X development. If companies want to keep up, they simply must think bigger -- and many are already doing so as seen by growth in freelancer earnings in the U.S., Russia and the Philippines of more than 25% year-over-year."

"There are 11 million developers in the world4. If you're only interested in the top 1% of these developers, that's still a pool of 100,000 -- more than the number of full-time employees at Google and Facebook combined," said Stephane Kasriel, SVP of Product and Engineering, Elance-oDesk.

The 24/7 Connected Era requires increasingly cloud-based customer service specialists
Customer service has always been important, but in the Connected Era customers now expect immediate responses. Previously, small businesses could not hire 24/7 customer service specialists, but with SAAS tools like Zendesk and highly qualified online talent ready to work, small businesses are able to keep up with the continuous demands that stream in via social channels especially. In Q3, businesses hired for Customer Service skills including: (based on year-over-year job post growth)

  • Zendesk (154% growth)
  • Virtual Assistants (145% growth)
  • Technical Support (85% growth)
  • Telephone Support (61% growth)

To see the full data available please visit the reports here:

Data Source Information

Unless otherwise specified, all data is sourced from the combined and databases and covers the time period from July 1 to September 30, 2014. For more on the reports, contact

About Elance-oDesk

Elance-oDesk is creating the world's largest online workplaces. Cumulatively, 3.7 million businesses and 9.3 million freelancers have tapped into and to access talent via the Internet.

As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, talent -- like software, shopping and communications before it -- is shifting to the cloud. This shift is making it faster and easier for businesses to hire for the skills they need, when they need them, while freeing professionals from set time and place work.

Freelancers are expected to earn more than $900 million in 2014 via Elance and oDesk. Elance-oDesk is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in San Francisco, California and Oslo, Norway.


1. Edelman Berland: "Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce"
2. SHRM Benchmarking Database
3. ManpowerGroup: "The Talent Shortage Continues"
4. InformationWeek: "How To Hire Developers Fast And Build Things"