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At the end of last year, David Cameron demonstrated his commitment to boost the British creative economy, announcing plans to invest £50m of funding towards the construction of the Open Institute at the heart of Silicon Roundabout In London.

This busy tech hub is used by many startups where freelancers are often integral to their strategy.  

Online magazine Technorati claims the era of the freelancer will kick off in 2013 and last month we released quarterly online employment report that suggests the same.

Our report explores the world of working online and highlights how freelancers around the globe are thriving. This report revealed a lot about how the internet is bringing marketers and businesses closer together.

The increase in demand for skills in sales and marketing was particularly vibrant in Q3 and increased by 40% year-over-year.

Demand for specialist skills such as social media marketing (+157%), marketing strategy (+136%) and lead generation (+136%) were all up significantly in 2012, rivalling IT and programming, which are traditionally the top categories for online employment. 

The digital flag flies high in the UK

The motivation for marketers to take their skills online is as versatile as can be: Additional work while continuing with your fixed job, improving your CV, enhancing work-life balance

Whatever the reasoning might be, the decisive point is that your earnings aren’t tied to where you are located. What matters most is what you can do, and how well you do it.

Last month saw the UK’s annual National Freelancers Day, an event to celebrate and praise the independent professionals that contribute to driving the UK economy. As one of the highest earning countries on Elance, the UK has continued to prove it can deliver quality work for businesses across the world.

In fact over the last three months, freelancers in the United Kingdom saw a 62% growth in earnings. 

Not only that but 59% of the UK freelancers registered on Elance have been hired online by businesses for the first time over the last three months as the number of job posts increased by 45%. Our infographic highlights how these figures are looking over a longer time scale, from January to September this year over 26,000 freelancers found jobs online.

But what about the rest of the world?

What really surprised me was the ability the Internet has to connect professionals across the globe, regardless of the economy of the country they live in. Our report found independent professionals in hard-hit areas are escaping their local economies by working online,

Freelancers from countries with the highest-unemployment rates in Europe showed significant online earning increases on Elance over the last year.

This included Spain, that has an unemployment rate of 25.8% and Greece with 25.1% of the population unemployed. Both countries shown unprecedented earnings growth of 48%, 167% respectively in the third quarter of 2012 compared to a year ago.

Freelance future?

For me the web is all about connectivity and this applies across so many aspects of our life. The way we work has been shifting for the last decade. This was supported back September when the BBC reported on a study by Mitel that found 81% of UK workers wanted to escape the shackles of 9-5.

Working for yourself gives you the flexibility to work wherever and whenever you want. Starting your own businesses and bootstrapping it with freelancers can also be a way to free up your time to focus on what you do best.

In another year’s time, I expect to see the number of European companies and freelance contractors getting online to increase. In three years’ time, I expect that hundreds of thousands of businesses and freelance professionals to work together in the cloud as the benefits of working online become widely known and adopted.

Either way our online employment report suggests that for freelancers the future’s bright… and quite possibly online. 

Kjetil Olsen

Published 17 January, 2013 by Kjetil Olsen

6 more posts from this author

Comments (1)


Scott Morrison

We could not agree with you more Kjetil. The Bauhub is working to try and support these very people that you are talking about.

I am interested to speak to you about your research for this article.

almost 4 years ago

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