The Year of the Freelancer: Online Staffing in 2013

After taking a good long look at trends in the staffing industry, the state of our world economy, employment legislation in the pipeline and the latest hiring statistics from online work platform Elance, it’s time to pull out the crystal ball. Here are five highly educated predictions for the year 2013. Each of these forecasts is expected to have major implications both for people in the staffing industry and workers in the job market.

1. “Services” hiring will double online in 2013.
Although technology jobs continue to surge, the single-largest percent increase will be in the service industries – as the traditional “creative agency” model moves to online workers. We first got wind of this as the demand for creative talent skyrocketed 58 percent from last year. Ditto for other service jobs, such as legal (up 176 percent) and accounting (up 88 percent).

2. 1 in 4 university students will work online in 2013.
Freelancing is the new normal for students as they discover how online jobs are more lucrative and rewarding than flipping burgers. While building experience, many continue freelancing after graduation as they earn a stable living while traveling and enjoying life. The Elance Freelance Talent Report shows that millennial freelancers on the site jumped from 26 percent to 47 percent in the past year.

3. The number of full-time employees who quit and turn to freelance will triple in 2013.
Lack of healthcare is a concern for freelancers. If Obama Care happens, more U.S. workers will grab their affordable healthcare and run-not-walk to full-time freelance work. Obama Care will also be a boon for companies, as they reduce the burden of rising healthcare costs for employees.

4. Unemployment figures will be overstated by 5 percent in 2013.
The economy isn’t as bad as it appears. Those unemployed (and underemployed) are increasingly going online to earn money – and many of those jobs won’t be reported in 2013 employment figures. This new online work will be fueled by the business world’s growing trend to hire “on demand” (this “on demand” trend is echoed in the consumer world too, exemplified by ZipCar and Airbnb).

5. Companies of all sizes will hire twice as many online workers in 2013.
With cost savings, faster time-to-hire, access to top talent not locally available, and a better product delivered, 85 percent of small business report in the Elance Global Business Survey that hiring online offers a competitive advantage. In 2013 enterprise companies will increasingly realize these benefits, and in turn they’ll hire more and more virtual teams as an extension of their onsite staff.

As you can see, during the year ahead there’s going to be a significant amount of transition occurring in the staffing industry. But for those who embrace the change, the future looks bright indeed. So get ready to turn your calendar to 2013 and enjoy a wonderful year. And yes, when you flip the office calendar on your first day back in January, you’ll notice that 2013 is officially the “Year of the Freelancer.”

Darrell Jones
Darrell Jones is editor-in-chief of Elance, where businesses find, hire and collaborate with online freelance workers. He can be reached at DJones (at) Elance (dot) com.

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1 comments
therobinjames
therobinjames

Just when I thought 2012 was the year of the freelancer, you presented really great points here Darren. I have actually noticed the rise of freelancing for the past years. From small time contract jobs like Elance to now full time remote working setup at https://www.staff.com . It is a booming industry. And, would probably become the work setup of the future! Great to see all these figures support that thought.

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  1. [...] After taking a good long look at trends in the staffing industry, the state of our world economy, employment legislation in the pipeline and the latest hiring statistics from online work platform Elance, it’s time to pull out the crystal ball.  [...]

  2. [...] hiring is set to double via online methods in 2013, according to Staffing Stream. Employers enjoy cost savings benefits from hiring outside providers, as many providers cover their [...]

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