All Things oDesk
January 4, 2011 by Erica Benton

“The growth in the number and variety of online job opportunities has been driven by businesses’ needs for flexibility, on-call expertise and access to a wide range of skills,” said Gary Swart, oDesk CEO. “Online jobs are giving workers a viable way to find employment, enhance their skills and grow their own businesses -- and in-demand skills can be the cornerstone of a successful contracting career.”

Online work is creating an economy of opportunity — where work is not linked to location, but to skills, experience and abilities. For employees and contractors, this allows them to manage their own work-life balance, get paid based on merit, and access an entire world of work opportunities. But what skills are in demand when the talent pool is worldwide? Today, we announced findings from the December Online Employment Report, a monthly analysis on the state of the online workforce.

Online work shows steady growth

Overall demand for online work held steady in December, maintaining 103% growth year-over-year, and surpassing slow hiring growth in local positions. December's earnings for online workers topped a record $13M. During the past year, online workers have earned more than $115M, an amount which is expected to double in 2011.

Top skills in demand

Based on a sample of nearly 60,000 postings for online jobs, there has been ongoing interest from employers in hiring for mobile development, internet and social media marketing, and a new emphasis on translation. Specifically, the top skills requested in December included increases in the number of employers looking for iPhone application development and language expertise. Translation jobs were up 319% in 2010, highlighting businesses’ increasing interest in international transactions. Primary languages requested were Spanish, German and Korean.

Planning for the new year was also a top priority, with 123% increase in hiring for business planning and market strategy professionals over the same month last year.

What about your area of expertise?  You can see the entire list of Top 50 Skills below. Use it to help determine how in-demand your expertise is, and see what related skills might net you some of the top online jobs of 2011.

Top Skills (by jobs posted Dec 2010)

Rank Skill MoM YoY
3 English +3
4 CSS -1 +2
5 WordPress +5 -1
6 Photoshop -1 -1
7 SEO +1
8 MySQL -4
9 Javascript -2 +2
10 Writing -1 -1
11 MS Excel +3 -2
12 Data Entry -2 -1
13 Graphic Design -1
14 Research +5 +1
15 Flash -4 -2
16 Link Building +9 +1
17 Joomla +1 -3
18 Article Writing +22 +20
19 Blogging +8 +2
20 Web Design +21 +22
21 Ajax -9 -1
22 Jquery +9 +6
23 Social Media +15 +9
24 Java -2
25 MS Word +8 +4
26 .Net -11 +14
27 Facebook +3 -11
28 iPhone +8 -5
29 Drupal +3 -2
30 Magento +9
31 SEM -5 -7
32 Adobe Illustrator +60 +37
33 C# -12 +159
34 SQL -14 -3
35 XHTML -13 -9
36 Creative Writing +38 +26
37 XML -9 -2
38 Illustrator -9 -13
39 Typing +24 +4
40 Twitter -5 -6
41 C++ -18 -4
42 Linux -8 -6
43 Transcription +64 +32
44 Marketing +1 -5
45 Logo Design +15 +33
46 IIS -30 -28
47 MS SQL -30 -28
48 Copywriting +4 +3
49 MS Office +90 +98
50 Internet Marketing +35 +75

Erica Benton

Social Media Guru

Erica Benton joined oDesk in 2009, bringing with her nearly a decade of small business and freelance experience, and a love of all things social. Her passion for startups, technology and marketing was born during her tenure with Kulesa Faul Public Relations, while she learned the art of entrepreneurship firsthand through Equine Alternatives, a business she founded while earning her Bachelor of Science degree from… read more

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  • Bogdan P.

    I expected to see Writing skills higher in the top. I consider it one of the most important skills, it's practically vital for any project. I guess this is because many employers feel that they can tackle copy writing jobs themselves or have them done in-house.

  • Joric Ni

    Is there some job that I can get even I'm using a blackberry or a smartphone? Thanks

  • ruzcarmen

    Thanks for this post! It's very helpful for people like me who's in the virtual service provider - know what else to learn, how much my efforts are counted, etc. Keep posting! I always learn a lot from you, though it's just now that I finally posted!

  • Suneel Gupta

    I can understand the meaning of MOM and YOY but It is not clear to me what does the numbers (for example in C# row-12, +159) imply. Please clarify. Else this article is enlightninig.

  • http://thecuttingedgepros.com335y Kathryn Pless

    Since I lost my job 2 years ago I've had to think out of the box and become a freelance writer and SEO pro. It seems to me that the global economy is perfectly suited to freelance work. Great article by the way!

  • Remote Worker

    Great post, thanks for publishing these stats. It's a wonderfull trend to see job growth coincide with opportunites for Remote / Virtual / Freelance workers.