The In-Demand Freelance Skills Where Earnings Are Growing The Fastest

A recent report from the freelance platform Upwork found that some of the most in-demand freelance skills are accounting, lead generation, data entry, customer service, and graphic design. Skills with the highest year-over-year growth in earnings on Upwork’s platform, which posts freelance gigs or specific projects connecting businesses with independent workers or agencies, were sales and business development (54%), data entry (47%), accounting (45%) and 3D animation (44%). The data also showed customer service skills such as chat support are highly needed by companies. 

“Those are all things where companies are thinking, ‘well, actually we don’t have to have this in-house anymore,’” says Jonathan Shroyer, chief customer experience innovation officer at Arise Virtual Solutions, an outsourcing consulting firm. In the past, he says, “companies thought everything was a sacred cow.”

Upwork compared freelancer earnings from January 1, 2022, to October 31, 2022, to identify the top skills businesses seek from freelance workers. Each of these most-wanted skills had a minimum of 500 projects in the Upwork database during that time period. 

In the tech sector, where talent gaps are among the widest—yet where jobs are being cut among the fastest—the most in-demand skills for freelancers were full stack development, followed by front-end and back-end software development. Mobile app development and web design rounded out the top five. E-commerce website development, UX and UI design, and content management system development are also highly sought-after skills for freelancers.

As the world of work changes, freelancers are taking over. Traditional careers are becoming more common, and side hustles are becoming a mainstay. "It's not just something people do to make ends meet,” says Margaret Lilani, Upwork's vice president of talent solutions. "This is really a career."

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