4 Predictions for Online Work in 2014

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2014 is shaping up to be a significant year for online work. This is particularly true for businesses that hire talent in the cloud. If last year’s trends are any indicator, remote contract hiring promises to have a major impact this year in the global staffing industry. In 2013 alone, online work marketplace Elance saw more than 1.1 million new freelancers and 441,000 new businesses joining the community. This growth is driving a 50 percent year-over-year increase in freelancer earnings.

FYI, you’ll find these and other statistics in Elance’s recently-released 2013 Global Online Employment Report.

As the entire staffing industry looks beyond the numbers, it’s clear that businesses are now getting work done in a new way. In fact, a new future of work is emerging. Based on what we’ve seen happening on Elance in 2013, here are 4 predictions for online work in 2014:

1. Freelancers will command double-digit wage increases. Freelancers are enjoying higher earnings due in part to increasing demand for specialized talent. In December 2013, the average hourly rate on Elance for a U.S. based freelancer rose to $27. Increased demand for both Creative and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) skills drove hourly rates up 10 percent last year and are predicted to fuel similar increases in 2014.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Online Staffing Industry Segment Forecast Through 2020

2. Freelance technology professionals will become part of every company’s team. IT and Programming continue to be the highest-growth online staffing categories, representing nearly 40 percent of hiring last year. In 2014 more businesses will turn to online work marketplaces to find software programmers, application developers, system administrators and data scientists. In 2013, the demand for networking and security professionals increased over 400 percent, enterprise software developers 100 percent, and mobile app developers 50 percent compared with the same period last year.
3. Your next MVP may be a freelancer. More businesses are adopting a hybrid staffing model, comprised of both full-time employees and a trusted extended workforce of freelancers. In the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, the number of companies hiring across multiple skill categories increased over 30 percent, with German companies increasing 69 percent.
4. Online hiring will be local. Even when hiring online, 2013 data shows that many businesses prefer to hire local talent when possible. The demand for talent that is both local and online talent will continue to grow in 2014.These four predictions promise to create exciting opportunities within the staffing industry, as well as for businesses and freelancers. This point was expressed by Elance CEO Fabio Rosati: “With millions of talented freelancers working online, more businesses are meeting their staffing needs online,” he said. “Until recently, a team of Elancers was the secret weapon for entrepreneurs and startups, but in 2013 we saw a noticeable shift in the labor market with many large companies building extended workforces online to engage talent they don’t have in-house.”MORE: Finding candidates around the corner or around the world

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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