In this article, we will look at the 18 in-demand skills for freelancers in 2023. We have also talked about the growing popularity of work-from-home and freelancing jobs. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, head straight to the 5 In-Demand Skills for Freelancers in 2023.
Freelancing and Work From Home
In December 2022, 60 million Americans worked as freelancers, making up 39% of the workforce, the highest percentage recorded since 2014. They contributed $1.35 trillion to the US economy, a $50 billion increase from the previous year. More people now see freelancing as a positive career choice. Edelman Data & Intelligence's study highlights how highly educated professionals, especially Gen Z and Millennials, are increasingly exploring freelancing opportunities. About 31 million freelancers, or 51%, offer knowledge-based services like computer programming, marketing, IT, and business consulting. Speaking of programming, do see the highest paying programming languages in USA.
On the other hand, a recent study conducted by Fiverr International Ltd (NYSE:FVRR) has revealed that 41% of US workers claim to be most productive outside of the traditional 9-5 work hours. The study, which surveyed a diverse group of 9,129 workers, with both employees and freelancers in the United States, highlights the changing preferences and needs of the modern workforce. The data suggests that modern organizations must adapt to different working styles and prioritize skills and productivity over the traditional concept of working hours. This shift is a response to the demand for flexibility and control over work arrangements, which is driving the growth of the freelance population.
The findings also indicate that many workers believe they could complete their current workload in fewer hours, as 76% of US workers stated they could finish their tasks in a 4-day workweek. Millennials are more inclined to believe they can achieve their work within a compressed schedule.
Recent Successes of the Freelancing Giant
Owing to these findings, Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK) has expanded its services by offering full-time hiring options to all its customers. This means businesses of all sizes can easily find, evaluate, hire, onboard, and pay skilled professionals for full-time positions, simplifying the complex global hiring process. This expansion is in response to the challenges and uncertainties in today's economic climate. Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK), known for building trusted, long-term relationships in the freelance industry, is now applying that expertise to full-time employment, extending its reach to over 180 countries and over 10,000 skills.
Some exciting features of Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK)’s new update include a "contract-to-hire" option. This allows both clients and talent to try working together before making a full commitment. They've also added tools to help small and mid-size businesses with payroll and compliance, and they've enhanced their services for large enterprises. This move is supported by data from Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK)’s 2022 Future Workforce Report, which found that 93% of hiring managers sometimes convert freelancers into full-time employees. They do this because they value the quality of freelancers' work and the ability to test out working relationships before making a permanent hire.
While there are many stories of freelance success on Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK), one that denotes the extent of growth from freelancing is that of Sam Bazzi. He is a freelance SEO consultant who originally freelanced as a side gig in 2008 but transitioned to full-time freelancing on the platform in 2016 due to health issues. Specializing in internet marketing, he provided pay-per-click landing pages, conversion rate optimization, online ads, and SEO. In doing so, his hourly rate increased from $20 to $200 over the years. To build his success on Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK), Bazzi focused on maintaining a strong reputation and project history, securing over 250 5-star reviews and earning nearly $500,000 in the past 12 months.
Upskilling and Reskilling with AI
On the other hand, the rise of generative AI has sparked a growing need for reskilling in response to the changing job market landscape. Coursera Inc (NYSE:COUR), a leading online learning platform with a vast user base of over 124 million learners, foresaw the potential of AI in education early on. Their initiatives, such as CourseMatch under the Coronavirus Response Initiative, have paved the way for exploiting AI in learning. It is also worth mentioning that owing to the popularity of online courses for upskilling and reskilling, the Edtech industry is expected to witness a CAGR of 13.6%. While the industry was valued at $123 billion in 2022, it will reach $348 billion by 2030, according to GrandView Research.
This growth is driven by the profound impact of AI on employment, with an estimated 44% of employee skills expected to undergo disruption in the next five years. While some jobs may be at risk, new roles are emerging, emphasizing skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, analytical thinking, and creativity — areas where AI falls short. To read more about these soft skills, see skills employers look for in candidates.
We see how Coursera Inc (NYSE:COUR) is at the forefront of capitalizing on generative AI through their AI-powered learning assistant "Coach" and AI-assisted content creation tools. They aim to provide personalized and interactive learning experiences tailored to meet the demands of this ever-evolving job market.
What Are the Most In-Demand Digital Skills to Learn in 2023?
In the 2020s, especially after the pandemic, we have witnessed a huge shift in the landscape of critical job skills, with a pronounced emphasis on digital competencies. Coursera Inc (NYSE:COUR)’s Job Skills of 2023 report reveals a remarkable trend—digital skills are the fastest-growing category, with the top ten skills being predominantly digital.
For freelancers, this trend translated into understanding the importance of staying current with these digital skills as businesses increasingly acknowledge the value of open talent and a flexible, globally distributed workforce. Moreover, the report highlights the increasing demand for user experience skills, which will also be the most demanded freelancing skills in the future, like customer success tools and data visualization, creating opportunities for freelancers to offer expertise in these areas. According to Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK), the highest-paying freelancing jobs are public relations management and business consultant.
Additionally, freelancers must also prioritize the development of interpersonal skills such as networking, risk-taking, persuasiveness, and business connections. These skills are important for establishing and sustaining successful freelance businesses in this ever-evolving job landscape. To read more about high-paying courses on Coursera Inc (NYSE:COUR) and other digital learning platforms, do check out our article on Deep Learning Courses for High Salary Jobs
To list the in-demand skills for freelancers in 2023, we utilized multiple reliable sources to research and shortlist the most popular freelance skills like Upwork and LinkedIn. The 18 most recurring skills were eventually selected and ranked. To rank these in order, we have utilized IM scores out of a total score of 30 based on their frequency in our data sources. The list is ranked in an ascending order.
18. Email, Phone & Chat Support
IM Score: 9
Despite the 5% decline in employment for customer service representatives (as projected by BLS) by 2032, the demand for freelance customer support skills remains evident. With approximately 373,400 annual job openings, many complex inquiries, like refunding accounts or confirming insurance coverage, will still need skilled customer service professionals. It is one of the best freelancing skills for beginners. To read more about these jobs, see highest paying jobs for customer service jobs.
17. Translation and Localization
IM Score: 11
The field of interpretation and translation is projected to grow by 4% from 2022 to 2032, with around 7,200 annual job openings. While many industries have been revolutionized by AI, freelancers in this profession will remain essential owing to the complexity of human language and the limitations of automation.
16. Financial Analysis and Modelling
IM Score: 12
Coursera Inc (NYSE:COUR) offers a highly comprehensive specialization in Business and Financial Modeling, which equips learners with essential skills in quantitative modeling, spreadsheet analysis, risk management, and decision-making for informed financial decisions. The University of Pennsylvania provides this specialization in collaboration with Coursera Inc (NYSE:COUR) with five excellent courses, enabling learners to create their quantitative models and understand real-world applications. The specialization is available in 8 different languages.
15. Social Media Management
IM Score: 14
The demand for social media skills is expected to continue growing significantly. LinkedIn data shows a 116.4% increase in demand for paid social media skills, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10% increase in advertising, promotions, and marketing manager roles between 2020 and 2030 in the US. Social media managers earn an average salary of $74,367 in the US. It is one of the best in-demand skills for freelancers in 2023.
14. UX/UI Design
IM Score: 15
The Nielsen Norman Group anticipates a global workforce of over 100 million UX professionals by 2050. The growth will be driven by companies prioritizing UX expertise to establish a strong digital presence. It is one of the in-demand skills for freelancers in 2023.
13. Digital Marketing
IM Score: 16
Traditional marketing channels have lost dominance as audiences have shifted to the Internet. A recent Nielsen survey of marketers revealed that 62% found social media marketing highly effective. In comparison, search and online/mobile display marketing each earned a 57% high effectiveness rating, and online/mobile video achieved a 58% rating.
12. Mobile App Development
IM Score: 18
The demand for mobile app developers is soaring, with the average US freelance Android developer earning nearly $120,000 annually. Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK) currently has over 4,787 Mobile App Developer jobs.
11. Video Editing and Production
IM Score: 19
According to BLS, film and video editors in the United States earned a mean annual wage of $80,990, with the median wage at $63,520. Demand for these professionals was estimated at 32,080 openings, with the highest employment levels in California and New York. Industries with the highest employment are Motion Picture and Video Industries and Advertising.
IM Score: 20
In 2022, the median pay for accountants with a typical entry-level education of a bachelor's degree was $78,000 per year or $37.50 per hour. There were 1,538,400 jobs with a projected 4% job growth, adding 67,400 positions through 2032. It is one of the top 10 in-demand skills for freelancers in 2023. To read more about accountants, see the highest-paying countries for accountants.
9. Graphic Designing
IM Score: 21
On Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK), graphic designers can command rates of up to $125 per hour. To read more about the latest developments in the domain of graphic design, see the highest-paying countries for graphic designers.
8. Data Analytics
IM Score: 22
In 2023, data analysts are in high demand, with BLS projecting a 23% job growth rate between 2021 and 2031, far exceeding the average job growth rate of 5%. To meet this demand, the most important skills for data analysts must be noted. These include proficiency in SQL for efficient database communication, expertise in statistical programming using languages like R or Python, and a grasp of machine learning concepts. It is one of the future freelance skills in demand.
7. Web Designing
IM Score: 24
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
IM Score: 25
The demand for SEO professionals is strong, with over 5 million businesses trusting platforms like Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK). Over 60,000 SEO jobs are posted weekly, highlighting the high demand for SEO services today and in the future. It is also interesting to note that SEO directors have one of the easiest jobs that pay $100K.
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Disclosure: None. 18 In-Demand Skills for Freelancers in 2023 is originally published on Insider Monkey.