Elance, a platform for online employment, released its 2010 Year in Review, 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.
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.
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