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Freelance Web Professionals Earned Big in 2012

Posted on 2.05.2013

The Internet has changed the way we do a lot of things, and now it seems to even be altering the way we find employment (or new employees, depending on what you’re looking for). That is according to the new Global Online Employment Report just released this morning by the online work platform Elance.

It seems that the demand for online talent grew considerably, with both online hiring and freelancer earnings setting new records in 2012. In 2012, Elance saw an additional 345,000 new businesses (an increase of 54 percent) posting upwards of 80,000 job openings a month. Meanwhile, 779,000 freelancers (a 44 percent increase) signed up with the site to look for work. Throughout the year, these independent professionals earned over $200 million for the first time in the service’s history.

The most commonly hired professionals were mobile Web developers and Web programmers, followed closely by marketers and Web content professionals. This “tech talent gap” showed massive demand for experts with “top skills” in various Web and mobile development areas. For instance, HTML developers saw a 149 percent earnings increase, while PHP and CSS experts saw their income improve by 108 and 103 percent, respectively. Mobile-minded Android and iOS developers also saw increases of 146 and 132 percent.

But it wasn’t just developers raking in the big bucks. Freelance content writers and blog writers both reported increases (151 and 78 percent, respectively), while Web designers saw a 205 percent increase and graphic designers pulled in 165 percent more than they had in the past. Notably, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator experts saw major increases of 165 and 131 percent, respectively. In addition, digital marketers (with a 190 percent increase) and social media marketers (132 percent) also had a significantly more successful 2012.

All of the top 10 GDP countries increased online hiring by an average of 67 percent, including China (204 percent), Japan (109 percent), Italy (70 percent), Germany (50 percent), France (66 percent) and the United Kingdom (42 percent). Eastern Europe, specifically, saw some major earnings increases, largely from Web and programming jobs that leverage the region’s technical talent pool. Poland, Bulgaria and Ukraine are among the highest earning countries on the continent.

And for U.S. freelancers, there is some decidedly positive news from this Elance report, as many out-of-work professionals in regions of high unemployment are finding work and seeing their earnings increase. For example, Rhode Island, which has a 10.2 percent unemployment rate, saw earnings grow by 89 percent. Other states with employment rates in the eight and nine percent range that saw significant earnings increases include New Jersey, Mississippi, Michigan and California.

To check out the full Elance Global Online Employment Report in full, click here.

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