Freelancer.com (ASX: FLN) (OTCQX: FLNCF), the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by number of users and jobs posted, today released its quarterly Fast 50 Index for Q3 2022 which reveals insights into the fastest growing freelance projects and most in-demand skills.
The index, which is based on data from 296,000 jobs posted on Freelancer.com between July 1 to September 30, 2022, reveals a major surge in tech-related jobs in Q3 when compared to Q2 2022 and Q3 2021.
Android App Development (up 80.5%, from 1,082 to 1,954) ranked as the fastest growing project type in Q3 2022 when ranking the percentage growths from all 2,000 skills available on Freelancer.com. This was followed by AJAX (up 66.4%, from 1,059 to 1,763) and API (up 59.5%, from 1,587 to 2,532) jobs which are both skilled related to website and software development.
The sudden surge in tech-related freelance jobs first observed in Freelancer’s Q2 2022 index, comes off the back of global tech layoffs and hiring freezes across the so-called ‘tech winter’, that started with a ‘crypto winter’, as informed by Freelancer.com in earlier Fast 50 reports. According to a tech layoff tally, more than 42,000 workers in the U.S. tech sector lost their jobs in 2022.
Tech-related jobs dominated the rankings when comparing Q3 2022 to Q3 2021 year-on-year. Software Development jobs were the fastest growing skill (up 54.7%, from 1,587 to 2,442), while jobs for Coding ranked as the second highest growing skill (up 45.5%, from 1,004 to 1,461) and Backend Development came in third (up 37.7%, from 1,111 to 1,530).
“The macroeconomic environment, tech winter and nosebleed inflation has led to an almost daily string of announcements of layoffs. The most similar event was the Global Financial Crisis where we saw three trends: businesses looking to cut costs and going online to hire freelancers, people looking for work online and a lot of startup businesses formed to bridge people through hard times. However this was mostly contained to the United States. We think that heading into 2023 we could see this all over again, but on a more global scale,” said Matt Barrie, Chief Executive at Freelancer.com.
These layoffs may also increase the amount of startups being founded, not only across the US but also in Europe, with skilled people being cut from bigger organizations, but with experience either building their own companies or working in highly successful startup environments, as described by Alan Poensgen, in his Fortune article of October 5, 2022.
Fast 50 Q3 2022 vs Q2 2022 Analysis
Employers look to freelancers to plug tech skill gaps
Overvaluations and dropping stock prices have caused mass hiring freezes and layoffs across the tech companies globally in 2022. According to online tracker Layoffs.fyi, there have been 83,173 layoffs from 661 startups this year, as of October 2022. This is almost half of the total of 179,164 tech layoffs since the beginning of COVID-19.
These layoffs, which accelerated in May 2022, have contributed to increases in tech-related jobs across the platform. While Android App Development dominated Q3 and was ranked as the fastest growing job on Freelancer.com, employers have been turning to the platform to support niche, highly specialized tech projects.
AJAX, which is used to develop websites, and API, which allow software programs to communicate with each other also took second and third place, respectively. Niche skills in AngularJS, a toolset for building apps, and Codeigniter, a toolset for web development, equally rose by 22% in Q3.
“Michael Milken said ‘the defining characteristic of the 21st century was the competition for intellectual capital’. There’s a chronic skill shortage in western nations, forcing businesses to go to the Internet to find talent. Freelancer.com has the largest online pool of talent in the world.” said Matt Barrie.
Projects seeking experts in Amazon Web Services (AWS) grew by 27.6%, from 3,004 to 3,834 jobs in Q3, while Software Development continued its growth from Q2 with a 18% increase from 2,069 to 2,442 jobs in Q3. Artificial Intelligence jobs also grew by 15.9%, from 1,055 to 1,223.
Marketing Trends - Marketers turn from SEM to SEO, YouTube & traditional
This quarter, the data revealed shifting trends in marketing and advertising. Projects for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) fell by almost a third (30.4%) in Q3 - from 2,300 jobs to 1,600 from the previous quarter. On the other hand, digital marketing, traditional marketing and YouTube jobs spiked in interest.
Most commonly, in Q3 employers are looking for support with SEO ranking. Blog Writing jobs, which are usually associated with businesses hiring freelancers to write SEO-friendly blog content, increased by 55% in Q3, from 1,058 to 1,642 projects.
Digital Marketing also saw a 23.1% increase in Q3, jumping from 1,738 to 2,141 jobs. These jobs range from hiring business consultants supporting social media strategies to SEO managers. Notably, Q3 also saw many employers turn to the platform to hire community managers, digital marketing campaign managers and social media managers.
Traditional advertising also saw an increase in Q3. Flyer Design projects increased by more than a quarter (27.5%) from 1,658 to 2,114 jobs. A similar increase was also seen for projects relating to Covers and Packaging, which increased by 27.3% from 1,253 to 1,596 jobs. Many employers turn to the platform to crowdsource ideas for packaging labels and shipping boxes designs. When comparing Q3 2022 to 2021, advertisement design is up 15.7%, from 1.516 to 1,755 jobs.
“With the onset of new digital marketing channels, businesses are learning that their strategies must diversify and move away from primary channels, such as SEM. Paid advertising alone is no longer the most viable alternative. What we are witnessing is demand for freelancers with skills in social media, short video platforms, earned & owned content, SEO and a whole spectrum of marketing strategies that before were in the realm of large corporates only,” said Hector Perez-Nieto, Marketing Director at Freelancer.com.
Jobs seeking YouTube skills were the fifth fastest growing skill in Q3 2022 - growing by 32.3% from 1,138 to 1,505 jobs. Many of the jobs seeking YouTube skills are related to vertical videos and Shorts content. While there was a 10% increase in TikTok related skills and projects seeking TikTok content creators, employers seek YouTube and video editing skills three times more.
Companies turn to freelancers for lead generation & customer support
The layoffs aren’t just affecting tech roles, but also sales and customer services roles across businesses. Over the last quarter, there was a significant increase in demand for customer service, customer support and sales-related skills on the Freelancer platform.
While virtual assistance jobs have always been a popular freelancing project type, Q3 2022 saw an increase in employers hiring virtual assistants. Jobs for Customer Support grew by 30.5% in Q3, from 1,531 to 1,998 jobs. This was also closely followed by Customer Service projects which rose by 27.4% from 1,370 to 1,746.
Lead generation and cold calling was also a popular project type in Q3. Jobs to generate Leads jumped by a quarter (25.3%), from 1,387 to 1,738. Sales specific jobs also increased by 18.7% from 2,544 to 3,020 total projects.
One boutique recruiting agency in the US successfully hired a freelancer to manage cold calling and follow ups for only US$38 per hour, with a maximum of 40 hours available for the freelancer per week. The platform is also used by mortgage brokers to source sales virtual assistants to call realtors for loan officers.
Ethereum and NFT projects continue steep decline
In Q2 2022, Freelancer reported a fall from grace for jobs relating to Bitcoin, Crypto and NFTs, which were once ranked as the fastest growing freelance jobs on the platform for 2021. It’s now Ethereum’s turns as Ethereum-related jobs plunged in Q3 2022.
The fastest falling job types on the Freelancer platform in Q3 were Solidity, a programming language used to implement smart contracts for mostly Ethereum based platforms, and Smart Contracts were - declining by -56%, from 1,422 to 613 jobs, and -49%, from 1,442 to 726 jobs, respectively.
NFTs jobs were slashed by half (49.5%) in Q3, dropping from 1,424 to only 718 in total. This trend was closely followed by jobs for Ethereum specifically, which fell by 39.9% from 1,173 jobs to only 705. Blockchain jobs also fell by 26.7%, from 3,216 in Q2 but continue to retain interest with 2,357 jobs reported in Q3.
Business cards are back in business
With corporate and networking events back in action, so are business cards. In Q3 2022, Business Card design spiked by almost one third (30%) from 1,861 to 2,427 jobs. This is the first time since the start of 2020 that projects for Business Cards have grown significantly.
Freelancer Fast 50
The Freelancer Fast 50 index is the world’s largest forward indicator of trends in online jobs related to industries, technologies, products, and companies. The data is based on 296,000 jobs posted to the Freelancer platform between 1st July to 30th September 2022.
Fast 50 Quarterly Index – Q3 2022
Q2 2022 vs. Q3 2022
Job Count Q2 '22
Job Count Q3 '22
Android App Development
Amazon Web Services
Covers & Packaging
Job Count Q3 '21
Job Count Q3 '22
Matlab and Mathematica
Non-fungible Tokens (NFT)
R Programming Language
Machine Learning (ML)
Search Engine Marketing
Fast 50 - Q3 Year-on-Year Comparison
Q3 2022 vs. Q3 2021
Job Count Q3 '21
Job Count Q3 '22
Twelve-time Webby award-winning Freelancer.com is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by total number of users and projects posted. More than 60 million registered users have posted over 20 million projects and contests to date in over 2,000 areas as diverse as website development, logo design, marketing, copywriting, astrophysics, aerospace engineering and manufacturing. Freelancer owns Escrow.com, the leading provider of secure online payments and online transaction management for consumers and businesses on the Internet with over US$6 billion in transactions secured. Freelancer also owns Freightlancer & Loadshift, enterprise freight marketplaces with over 550 million kilometres of freight posted since inception. Freelancer Limited is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange under the ticker ASX:FLN and is quoted on OTCQX Best Market under the ticker FLNCF.
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