Online Employment Trends to Expect in 2011

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 15 Dec, 2010

Elance, the leading platform for online employment, has released its 2010 Year in Review as well as a preview of the online work trends to expect in 2011.


The past year broke records for online work adoption as Elance posted more than 375,000 jobs during a period when traditional onsite employment was stagnant. Several key categories in online work proved to be virtually recession-proof, and technology and marketing skills were among the highest demand. Below are the areas that made the biggest impact in 2010:


- Mobile development: With a 98-percent increase for mobile development jobs posted on Elance in 2010, touchscreen tablets and smartphones were clearly the number one priority.  In 2011, it will be absolutely key for businesses, startups and entrepreneurs looking to construct new websites or revamp existing ones to design with mobile in mind. Expect to see simpler, cleaner, more straightforward Web designs and a shift in design philosophy that puts mobile first and desktop second.


- Content creation: Keyword-rich content for search engine optimization (SEO) was king in 2010, but that simply won't cut it next year and beyond. Search engines are finding new ways to differentiate quality original content by tracking social media buzz through sites like Facebook and Twitter, and businesses won't be hiring content creators for quantity anymore - 2011 will be all about quality.


- Viral marketing: Businesses signaled a shift in investments for freelance talent that has gone from traditional marketing techniques like direct mail, telemarketing and other forms to more cutting edge forms of promotion and customer acquisition, like SEO, search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM). Traditional marketing will become even more obsolete in 2011 as businesses will be drawn toward viral and social marketing methods.


- HTML5 vs. Flash: The reports about the death of Flash have been greatly exaggerated, according to businesses working on Elance. While demand for HTML5 programmers continues to grow at an exceptional pace, Flash maintains its position as one of the leading platforms for rich media content due to the rising popularity of casual gaming on the Web and the loosening of Apple's App Store restrictions.


And here are Elance's online employment predictions for 2011:


- More businesses hire in the cloud: Businesses both large and small will adopt more robust online tools such as shared digital workrooms, real-time collaboration, telepresence, and online employment platforms to hire the people they need to get the job done. Online work won't be just a buzzword in 2011 - it will be the way to do business, period.


- Digital profiles overtake resumes: Digital portfolios provide businesses and employers far more context and insight into a potential hire than any traditional resume ever could. In 2011, expect referencing of verified work history, digital portfolios, online test scores, online reviews, social graph and social media footprint to become the standard for hiring short or long-term employees.


- Business goes social: Social buying quickly went from a cool trend to an economic force, while demand for social media skills by businesses has grown significantly throughout the course of 2010. Shopping will not be the only industry to leverage the social graph in 2011, as recruiting and hiring will also undergo a socially inspired transformation.