As Upwork cashes in on gig economy, here are its top freelancer categories

1 month ago by Andrew Thompson in Facts, Trends

Call it the gig economy, offshoring, digital nomadism, or just the painful shedding of the employer-employee compact, freelance labor has become so central to the economy that we’ve begun to forgo the idea of a company itself.

Recently, this shift in how the world thinks of labor created  “flash organizations”, or short-term associations of freelancers that link up for the duration of a SoHo popup, release a product, and then disband — no HR departments necessary.

Firms that broker these flash arrangements occupy well trafficked toll booths, and it’s such a position that allowed Upwork ($NASDAQ:UPWK) to recently debut on the NASDAQ with a market capitalization of roughly $2 billion, all without resorting to a nauseating ad campaign.

By creating a platform that matches hirers with freelancers and streamlining all the paperwork, Upwork reduced some of the last bits of friction in the rapid hiring and firing of workers. In doing so, it has, for better or worse, become an employer’s paradise: on October 17, there were about 1.7 million active freelancers on the platform and just over 70,000 jobs.

That’s a ratio of about 24 freelancers per job, and while that ratio varies depending on job category, it never dips into territory that tips the balance out of favor for the employer.

 

Category

Freelancer to Job Ratio

Customer Service

138.015267

Translation

84.646347

Accounting Consulting

72.279819

Admin Support

66.677825

Writing

43.497351

It Networking

39.83915

Engineering Architecture

38.332446

Data Science Analytics

35.878023

Design Creative

32.298085

Web Mobile Software Dev

22.689961

Legal

15.759531

Sales Marketing

13.896296

Even though more than a hundred customer service freelancers are vying for each position, people in sales and marketing are hardly shoe-ins. And most of those freelancers won’t charge an arm and a leg: nearly 80 percent of all freelancers won’t charge more than $30 an hour.

 

Rate per Hour 

Number of freelancers

$0 - 10

574,408

$10 - 30

774,526

$30 - 60

245,882

$60+

134,300

So... go ahead and be a micro CEO for two weeks and hire a few of those freelancers on Upwork. It’ll cost the same amount as a vacation and you’ll finally look cool on LinkedIn.

Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson is a freelance journalist. You can find him on Twitter at @asthompson.

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