Recession-proof jobs, firing the boss, 1-minute commutes and why work will never be the same

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — December 8, 2010 — Elance, the leading platform for online employment, released its 2010 Year in Review today, which revealed record growth in online hiring, showcased the top skill trends in 2010 and previewed work trends to expect in 2011. The Elance 2010 Year in Review showed that a growing segment of the labor market looked beyond traditional onsite jobs and traded stressful commutes and office politics for home offices and online employment.
The past year broke records for online work adoption as Elance passed the significant milestone of more than 1 million online jobs posted on the site since 2006, with over 375,000 jobs posted in 2010 alone, a year when onsite employment was stagnant. This trend shows no sign of slowing down, with online workers now earning more than $100 million a year on Elance. “More businesses integrated online workers into their staffing models and more professionals opted to work online instead of onsite, marking a fundamental shift in labor practices in 2010,” said Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance.

2010 Reflections: Recession-Proof Jobs

In a year when the economy has been described as something between “stagnant” and “rock bottom,” several key categories in online work proved to be “recession-proof.” Hot skills in technology and marketing are fueling the demand for online workers as employers turn to the human cloud to make key investments in the best talent to keep their business competitive. Here is a look back at the skills that made a big impact in 2010:

  • Desktop Ditched for Mobile.

    Back in the day, the first step was to build a website, then build a mobile app afterwards. However, consumers and businesses in 2010 have made it clear: With a 98% increase for mobile development jobs posted on Elance in 2010, touchscreen tablets and smartphones like iPhone and Android are 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.

  • Only the Highest Quality Content Will Win.

    Keyword-rich content for search engine optimization was king in 2010, but that simply won’t cut it next year and beyond. Search engines like Google are beginning to find new ways to differentiate quality original content by tracking social media “buzz” through sites like Twitter and Facebook and its very own Google Buzz. Businesses won’t be hiring content creators for quantity anymore – it’s all about quality in 2011.

  • Traditional Marketing is Dead.

    The numbers do not lie. In 2010, businesses have signaled a shift in investments for freelance talent that has gone from traditional marketing techniques like direct mail, telemarketing and other forms of traditional marketing, to cutting edge forms of promotion and customer acquisition, like Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing. Next year, traditional marketing will become even more obsolete as businesses will be drawn towards viral and social marketing methods.

  • HTML5 vs. Flash: Flash is Alive and Kicking.

    One of the biggest tech stories of 2010 was the ongoing war waged between HTML5 and Flash. However, the rumors spun up by technology pundits around the world regarding Adobe Flash’s death have been greatly exaggerated, according to businesses working on Elance. While demand for HTML5 programmers continues to grow at an exponential 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.

Predictions for 2011

As we prepare to drop the disco ball and call 2010 a wrap, we take a sneak peak at 2011 with Elance’s predictions for the year to come:

  • Online Work Flourishes, More Businesses Hire in the Cloud.

    Every year, advancements in technology continue to take communication to unprecedented heights. Businesses both large and small will adopt more robust online tools, like 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 Push Resumes to the Brink of Extinction.

    Simply put, digital portfolios provide businesses and employers far more context and insight into a potential hire than any traditional resume ever could. Case in point: Throughout the course of the past year, records on Elance were continually broken as the number of individual online portfolio assets surpassed 1.2 million and the number of online worker profiles exceeded 300,000. 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.

    Google’s almost-but-wasn’t $6+ billion purchase of Groupon is a clear sign that big business is going 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, recruiting and hiring will also undergo a socially inspired transformation.

Bright Lights, Big Employment Opportunities

In real estate, location is everything, but for online workers, being local is less of an issue. Every day, online work saves hundreds of thousands of miles in commuting. Elance’s Cloud Commute contest spotlighted the best of these new commutes.

The 2010 Year in Review also revealed the geographic trends that marked the landscape this year:

  • The City That Never Sleeps is also the 2010 Freelance Capital of the U.S. New York topped the list of online earnings; with strong talent in the Creative, IT and Marketing sectors, online workers in Manhattan earned the most throughout 2010, while the most populous borough in New York City, Brooklyn, came in at #6 with a strong focus in Creative skills like content writing, graphic design and multimedia.
  • There’s plenty of talent in Hollywood, and there’s no SAG card required for online work. With high earnings in IT and Marketing, Los Angeles came in strongly at #2.
  • Portland, often regarded as a technology hotbed, rose to #3.
  • The home of the Golden Gate Bridge exhibited the golden touch for earning online. San Francisco made the top 10 (#7) with a dominating focus on Marketing skills, such as Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing and Affiliate Marketing.

For the full 2010 Year in Review, click here.

About Elance

Elance, the world’s leading platform for online employment, helps businesses hire and manage in the cloud.

For businesses looking to staff-up a team on an hourly or project basis, Elance offers instant access to qualified professionals who work online. Elance provides the tools to hire, view work as it progresses and pay for results. Elance is faster and more cost-effective than job boards, staffing firms and traditional outsourcing.

For skilled professionals who want to work online, Elance offers access to qualified clients, a virtual workplace and guaranteed pay for great work. Elancers have already delivered on projects worth more than $324 million.

The company is privately held and headquartered in Mountain View, California. For more information, visit Elance at http://www.elance.com.

# # #

Elance and the Elance logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Elance, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Media Contact:

Carolyn Adams
Borders+Gratehouse
Phone: (415) 963-4174 ext. 4
Email: carolyn@bordersgratehouse.com