Thursday, December 16, 2010

2010 Year in Review Offers Online Employment Trends and Glimpses at Future of Work

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.

More information on CRM can be found at

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

IT Spending Improving Bit by Bit

For IT organizations, the year ahead will not only be a time for rebuilding but also for innovation. Spending will remain restrained, and IT executives will continue to be asked to deliver more with less. But they are also receiving the go-ahead to take risks with projects that promise long-term improvements in the ability of IT to support new business initiatives.

A new study by Computer Economics, Outlook for IT Spending and Staffing in 2011, forecasts that IT operational spending will increase by 2% at the median, based on a fourth-quarter survey of 136 IT organizations in the U.S. and Canada.

The anticipated growth is welcome news after two years of no change at the median, accompanied by substantial budget cuts by organizations at the 25th percentile. But the forecast is modest in comparison to the three years leading up to the recession.

Although 2% growth at the median is modest, the forecast for growth appears firm, based on actions taken by IT executives in the fourth quarter. IT organizations have been extending staff hours, adding temporary workers, and launching major projects that promise strong ROI or improved agility, our survey finds.

One net trend that is seen is IT organizations are having IT staff work more hours. In fact, only 1.5% of organizations cut hours, while 48.5% increased hours, for a net change of 47%.

Almost as aggressive is work on major projects, where the net trend is 46%. In fact, 56% of all organizations increased work on major projects over the past three months compared to only 10% that decreased expenditures in this area.

The good news continues: not only are IT organizations giving staff members more hours, they are hiring contractors and temporary workers and turning to outsourcing. The net trends for these two actions are 31% and 24%, respectively. These actions are a prelude to making a commitment to take on permanent, full-time workers.

However, the net trend for increasing the size of the IT staff is only 13%. The message seems to be that while companies are increasing IT operational spending, the commitment is still soft, and IT executives are willing to pay a bit of a premium to maintain a flexible workforce. 

More information on IT spending can be found at

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More CIOs Plan to Hire During First Quarter

Hiring in the information technology field will increase in the first quarter, according to the just-released the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. In the latest survey, 11 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) said they plan to add information technology (IT) staff in the first three months of the year, and just 3 percent foresee cutbacks. The net 8 percent increase in hiring activity is up 5 points from the fourth-quarter forecast.

The survey also found that 84 percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects in the first quarter, the same number reported in the fourth-quarter survey. In addition, more than half (54 percent) of executives said it is very or somewhat challenging to find skilled IT professionals today.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.

Key Findings

-- The net 8 percent increase in projected IT hiring activity for the first quarter is the highest in one year and up 5 points from the prior quarter's forecast.

-- Technology executives in the East North Central and West South Central regions will be hiring the most actively.

-- Eighty-four percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects in the first quarter; 35 percent are very confident.

-- More than half (54 percent) of CIOs expect to encounter recruiting challenges in the quarter ahead.

-- Network administration is the most highly sought area of expertise for job candidates, as it has been for the last four quarters of the survey.

More information on IT can be found at

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nearly One-Third of Workers Holiday Shop Online at Work; Half of Employers Monitor Internet and E-mail Use of Employees

According to a new survey by CareerBuilder, twenty-nine percent of workers say they have holiday shopped online at work, on par with previous years. Of those planning to shop online this year, 27 percent will spend one hour or more. More than one-in-ten (13 percent) said they will spend two hours or more. Workers should be mindful of their companies’ electronic communications policies, though, as nearly half (47 percent) of companies said that they monitor Internet and e-mail use of employees. This year’s survey included more than 2,400 employers and more than 3,100 workers.

More than one-in-10 workers (13 percent) said they spend one hour or more using the Internet each day for non-work related activities or research while at work. Workers are advised to limit their Internet searches to those related to work or to use their lunch hour or break time for these activities:

-- 21 percent of employers have fired someone for using the Internet for non-work related activities.

-- 5 percent of employers have fired someone for holiday shopping online at work.

-- Half of employers (50 percent) block employees from accessing certain web sites while at work.

Workers are also cautioned about email content as nearly six-in-10 (59 percent) said they typically send non-work related emails each day. Sixteen percent report they send six or more personal e-mails during a typical workday.

-- 27 percent of employers monitor emails.

-- 9 percent of employers have fired someone for non-work related emails.

More information on service and support can be found at

Monday, December 6, 2010

Executive Guidance 2011 Reveals Four Management Principles Crucial to Achieving Intelligent Growth

The Corporate Executive Board, a research and advisory services company, announced the publication of Executive Guidance 2011, the company's year-end analysis of industry trends and corporate best practices designed to inform and support business planning. This year's Executive Guidance focuses on "Intelligent Growth"--a long-term pattern of above-industry performance in both revenue growth and efficiency--and highlights four key management principles that are critical to achieving it. While most companies aspire to create this balance, currently less than 10 percent of global organizations are considered Intelligent Growth companies.

Corporate Executive Board has identified four key management principles necessary to achieve Intelligent Growth:

-- Customer Experience Innovation--Intelligent Growth companies de-emphasize the standard sales process and relentlessly seek to innovate their product and service lines.

-- Key Talent Engagement--Intelligent Growth leaders are actively re-invigorating their lost generation of talent and by doing so they are realizing higher productivity and greater ROI.

-- Risk Vigilance--Most Intelligent Growth companies avoided a major crisis. They likely encountered risks but because of their culture, they were able to surface them early or responded more effectively than their peers.

-- Permanent Cost and Capital Management--Intelligent Growth companies continuously manage operating cost structures throughout economic cycles, avoiding the pain that comes with "boom and bust" management approaches and taking what might be considered big risks along the way.

More information can be found at

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gartner Reveals Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2011 and Beyond

Gartner, Inc. has revealed its top predictions for IT organizations and users for 2011 and beyond. Analysts said that the predictions highlight the significant changes in the roles played by technology and IT organizations in business, the global economy and the lives of individual users.

Last year's theme of rebalancing supply, consumer demand and regulation is still present across most of the predictions, but the view has shifted further toward external effects. This year's top predictions highlight an increasingly visible linkage between technology decisions and outcomes, both economic and societal.

The top predictions include:

-- By 2015, a G20 nation's critical infrastructure will be disrupted and damaged by online sabotage.

-- By 2015, new revenue generated each year by IT will determine the annual compensation of most new Global 2000 CIOs.

-- By 2015, information-smart businesses will increase recognized IT spending per head by 60 percent.

-- By 2015, tools and automation will eliminate 25 percent of labor hours associated with IT services.

-- By 2015, 20 percent of non-IT Global 500 companies will be cloud service providers.

-- By 2014, 90 percent of organizations will support corporate applications on personal devices.

-- By 2013, 80 percent of businesses will support a workforce using tablets.

-- By 2015, 10 percent of your online "friends" will be nonhuman.

More information on IT trends can be found at