Online freelance industry gaining momentum
In a country where unemployment continues to hover above 9 percent, it’s no surprise that demand for these contract workers is up more than 61 percent from a year ago, according to data from Elance, the largest online marketplace for this type of work.
“This new way of working has a lot of momentum and is continuing to grow,” said Ved Sinha, VP of interactive marketing for Mountain View, California-based Elance. “Small businesses are increasingly turning to online work because it’s more flexible.
“You get access to talent and someone that may not be in your local area,” he added. “You also get speed – you can hire someone very quickly. Not the least, it’s very cost effective.”
Among the most highly prized skills are infographics, which help companies to raise their profile using social media, Sinha said. Also popular were programmers with an understanding of WordPress, the online platform that facilitates blogging; and developers with skills in the development of Android and iPhone apps.
“Apple is on fire,” Sinha said.
Increasingly, growing businesses are taking the conservative approach and opting to use contractors for more of their historic full-time staff functions, said Sinha, citing the organic hamburger chain Elevation Burger as one such example.
“They’re a big Elance customer,” he said of the Falls Church, Virginia-based chain. “(The owner) started out with legal advice and this point he’s got engineers producing his ideas, logo designers.”