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Freelancers will Take Home Half of Companies’ Dollars in 10 Years

by David K. William | The Web Writer Spotlight: Dec 5, 2017

Demand for freelancers is growing. So much so that in the next ten years 50 percent of companies’ billed dollars will divert to freelancers.

According to a "Future Workforce Report" from freelancing website Upwork and research firm Inavero, in five years, agencies will lose 33 percent of their billing to freelancers and freelance agencies.

“Businesses are scrambling to adapt and keep up with the rapid pace of change in our world. In just a few years, a third of the skills needed in the workforce will be brand new. Traditional models of hiring no longer provide the agility businesses must have to access in-demand skills when and where they’re needed,” Upwork CEO, Stephane Kasriel, said in a press statement.

To address this challenge, more companies are investing in freelance talent.


More Companies Investing in Freelance Talent


As more companies turn to freelancers, skilled freelance talents (including freelance content marketers) can expect good times ahead. But, they must proactively re-skill every two years to remain viable in the employment marketplace. The half-life of marketers is less than three years, Upwork said.

Upwork’s workforce report that was released earlier this year also shows companies are not hunting for any freelance talent. Instead, they are hunting for highly-specialized skills. And 3 times as many marketing managers reported hiring has become harder in the past year than easier, further fueling demand.

This year marks the end of the "marketing generalist" in Upwork's estimation. Companies are seeing more value in integrating skilled freelancers and other specialized contingent workers into their strategic planning to address modern marketing and business challenges. Within five years, Upwork says marketing teams will consist of leaders and specialists only, including 50 percent freelance talent.


Evolving Tech Trends Driving Freelance Demand


Technology is driving this push toward freelancer hires, particularly for remote workers. Fewer than 10 percent of marketing managers said location is important to a new team member's success and 78 percent report having someone on their team who works a significant portion of their time remotely. 



Of those marketing managers surveyed, 74 percent said companies that don't evolve hiring practices will be at a competitive disadvantage. And 55 percent of marketing managers revealed freelancers will be part of their long-term hiring strategy.   

If you are a digital freelancer or aspiring to become one, take note of this trend and develop your digital marketing expertise and freelance skills to thrive in the employment marketplace of the future.


Leverage Digital Marketing and Freelance Expertise


Today’s technology space is growing and the pressure to build out digital marketing expertise at companies shows no sign of slowing. Freelancers are seen as a solution for helping fill a critical, widening skills gap in the market. Beyond potentially helping companies meet their goals more nimbly, freelancers can also be a cheaper alternative for businesses looking to tighten their belt. 

This workforce report surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. hiring managers to show how businesses are adapting to keep up with the rapid pace of change. It shows a growing acceptance of freelancing as a viable option in a rapidly changing technological world.

“Corporate adoption of freelancers is poised to increase,” said Barry Asin, President of Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), a global research firm focused on staffing and workforce solutions. “This study aligns with SIA’s own research suggesting organization’s’ intentions to further embrace a variety of non-traditional work arrangements.”

Check out Upwork’s graphic representation of their study findings below. (Click image to enlarge.)


Upwork Future Workforce Report - Infographic


See Also: 5 Tips for Building Your Own Remote Digital Marketing Team.


David K. William is a writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Everything he writes is inspired by life experiences and study. David is also founding editor of Follow him on Twitter @DavidKWilliam.



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