Elance Work Index - September

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Elance released their September work index today, a report highlighting hiring trends in the freelance marketplace. Trends from this month's index include:

- The presence of Search engine optimization (+18 in the 17th position), content writing (+5 to the 9th position) and article writing (+2 to the fourth position) indicates companies realize they don't necessarily need to pay for traffic.
- The index indicates that companies are reinventing themselves as branding made a significant jump (+25 to the 54 position) and Public Relations was newly added to the list (in the 87th position).
- PHP regained its number one position as the most sought after skill online. Other programming/development skills in the top ten include Adobe Flash, CSS, and Excel.

Some interesting points came to the fore during my discussion with Brad Porteus, Chief Marketing Officer of Elance this week, related to the trends Elance sees and the viability of their platform. A few statistics helped clear up any confusion or doubt (at least for me) about the efficacy of the Elance platform:

- 60% of projects are filled (considered to be when a "job" is actually assigned to a freelancer)
- Over 90% are ultimately paid (Elance is an escrow service giving it a lot of credibility with buyers)
- Only 1% of jobs enter "dispute" (those that run into trouble are those which attempt to go around the system)

Porteus also addressed some specific areas that consistently top the Elance list including open source (specifically those dealing with the LAMP stack - Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), Design (namely presentation layer work such as graphic design) and as apparent in this month's work index (and mentioned previously), content writing and SEO.

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