Top 10 skills in demand from freelancers for 2009

Author: Neil Kay-Jones, Online Support & User Experience Manager

Some 23,565 jobs were posted in the last 30 days on Elance – the worlds best resource for freelancers. With 77,976 active experts all fighting it out, Elance shows us which skills are the most sort after and predicts trends for 2009. This is their first installment of what they call the “Elance Online Work Index”. Based on job posts and skills data Elance has drawn from 100,000 jobs posted over recent months. So lets see if your skills are in demand or which you may want to brush up on.

Top 10 skills in demand from freelancers

As the budgets tighten, companies are looking to hire professionals with specific skills rather than take on full-time employees. According to the data from Elance “businesses are actively pursuing candidates who have design, computer programming, technical, online marketing, research, writing and administrative skills.”

Hiring such professionals is a great way to supplement existing staff and as Elance states, companies are aggressively hiring people with “expertise in Graphic Design, PHP, MySQL, Article Writing, HTML, Adobe Illustrator, WordPress, Photoshop, Flash, Search Engine Optimization and Blogs.

The following trends are taken from the Elance blog:


Companies and consultants are looking for and getting help building world-class websites, hiring experts in PHP (#2), MySQL (#3), HTML (#6), CSS (#8), XHTML (#17 – up ten spots), Joomla (#19) and AJAX (#25).

As businesses look for help driving revenue and collecting payments, PayPal (#41) integration skills have appeared on the list for the first time.


Graphic Design (#1) tops the charts for the second month in a row with huge demand from companies and agencies for creative services including Logo Design (#4), Adobe Illustrator (#9), Photoshop (#11), and Flash (#12).

Marketers have discovered the customer acquisition power of great online content, and consequently, content creation skills are hot including Article Writing (#5), Web Content (#7), WordPress (#10), Blogs (#13), Online Writing (#22), and eBooks (#26).

Generating top line revenue is on everyone’s mind, and as such businesses are hiring people with the skills to drive revenue including Search Engine Optimization (#15), Lead Generation (#16), Marketing Strategy (#18), Sales (#27), and Market Research (#29).


Businesses continue to need help with administrative work as illustrated by demand for Admin Assistant (#14), Data Entry (#20), Microsoft Excel (#24), and Typing (#36).”

Elance demonstrates its commitment to helping freelancers by offering more than 250 skills tests offered for free and boasting “More than 12,000 skills tests were taken in February, with popular tests including PHP5, Adobe Photoshop CS3, CSS 2.0, Microsoft Excel, and HTML 4.01. These tests can be used to enhance your profile and demonstrate your skills to prospective clients.

For the full 100 skills in demand for 2009 visit Elance. For any freelancers or people thinking of doing a bit of extra work, we recommend Elance as a great source for finding work and keeping up to date with a real insight in to what clients are looking for.

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