Online Labour Market Job Trends: Freelancer Fast 50 for 2011 and Predictions for 2012

Freelancer.co.uk, the world's largest outsourcing marketplace, today announced their findings on the fastest growing online jobs with the release of the Freelancer Fast 50 for 2011, together with the company’s predictions for 2012.

"We are uniquely positioned to comment on jobs conducted online, with over 3.2 million users and 1.5 million online jobs posted on Freelancer.co.uk to date," said Matt Barrie, Chief Executive of Freelancer.co.uk. The Freelancer.co.uk Fast 50 charts the top 50 rising job categories in the online labor market quarter by quarter. The 2011 Freelancer Fast 50 is the amalgamation of those results for the year.

"Each year we examine hundreds of thousands of jobs posted on Freelancer.co.uk. This year our team of data analysts uncovered insights, backed by empirical evidence, regarding trends that are frequently commented on by the press. The techniques we use enable us to gauge community and developer interest more accurately than the traditional methods,” Barrie concluded.

TOP TRENDS OF THE FREELANCER FAST 50 FOR 2011

2011 saw the rise of a new generation of Web 2.0 entrepreneur The web has been the main battleground of technology entrepreneurs for many years, but with the emergence of an online workforce as a key resource, even the layperson can now launch a website or iPhone application. From our data, it is clear that 2012 will see the emergence of a whole new generation of Web 2.0 entrepreneurs. In 2011 we saw a tremendous rise across the key web technology areas; HTML was up 193% (to a whopping 72,571 new jobs), HTML5 was up 118% (to 4,121 jobs), Website Design up 94% (to a massive 83,931 new jobs), Shopping Carts up 68% (to 8,437 jobs), and PHP- the lingua franca of websites- rose 69% (to 104,597 new jobs) in 2011, and topped the Fast 50 in terms of absolute gains. With the boundaries and capabilities of the web constantly being pushed by industry heavyweights such as Google and Facebook, there is a growing need by web developers to integrate more Web 2.0 elements to keep pace and stay relevant. Jobs for technologies such as Javascript increased by 66%, (to 22,835 jobs), jQuery grew 175% (to 5,493 jobs), AJAX rose 41% (to 15,168 jobs), and CSS was up 65% (to 15,199 jobs).

With increased international competition putting pressure on SMEs to deliver higher quality goods and services at lower prices, online behemoths like Amazon are asphyxiating an ever widening range of industries (been to a bookstore recently?). Retailers have realized they must take their business online or face oblivion resulting in the strong 34% growth in eCommerce jobs (to 11,612); 67% increase in Shopping Carts jobs (to 8,437 jobs), and a 57% increase in Magento (to 5,789 jobs). We anticipate that these categories will accelerate in growth through 2012 as more SMEs and entrepreneurs join the Tech Boom 2.0. Google decimates poor quality content, and copywriting industry With the announcement of changes to its search algorithm at the start of 2011, deceptively nicknamed “Panda”, Google declared war on content farms, and began an arms race that promises to continue into 2012. While estimating that only 1% of all searches would change at each update, the pain caused was felt across the Internet from major sites through to the smallest niche blog.

The impact on writing jobs was immediate as the industry reeled in the fallout from the changes in Q1 2011; Copywriting was down 19% (to 5,478 jobs), Ghostwriting was down 13% (to 2,940 jobs) and Article Submission was down 29% (to 884 jobs).

Despite Google continuing to roll out updates throughout 2011, it’s clear that a solid SEO strategy has never been more important to online businesses looking to attract Internet consumers to their site, and as a result the writing industry regathered and chalked up solid growth for the year; SEO up 63% (to 36,174 jobs), Copywriting up 7% (to 22,047 jobs), Ghostwriting up 32% (to 12,585 jobs), and Article Submission up 61% (to 4,530 jobs). We anticipate that the market will remain buoyant as Google and the SEO / Content Writing industries continue to play cat and mouse through 2012. Smartphones: It’s all about when Android will beat the iPhone ecosystem... Mobile Phone jobs were the fastest growing online job category with a 216% increase (to 12,262 jobs) in 2011. Android jobs ended 2011 by growing 163% (to 7,431 jobs), double the iPhone’s 81% growth rate (to 12,527 jobs). From current growth rates, we estimate the number of new applications developed on Android will overtake the iPhone in Q4 2012.

We believe a key driver of this for Android is due to the platform being more open to developers than the “walled garden” that is Apple’s iOS.

Android phones became the biggest driver of smartphone shipments (51.9 million sold) in Q2 of 2011, recording a 379% year on year increase. The Apple iPhone shipped 20.3 million iPhones over the same period. Vendors such as Samsung, HTC, LG and Motorola acted as catalysts for the growth of Android-based products, which equates to 48% market share for the Android and 19% for the iPhone. While the iPhone 4S launch in October boosted iPhone jobs, we believe that a bigger boost will come if the iPhone 5 ships, delivering developers with new primitives to work with. In 2011, we saw a 217% increase in Cocoa (to 2,293 jobs), and a 151% increase in Objective-C (to 3707 jobs), technologies with which Apple’s desktop and mobile applications are built. Apple’s blocking of Flash on iOS platforms sounded the death knell for Adobe’s Flash in 2011, which shrank 11% (to 12,247 jobs). We believe that online jobs related to Flash will be in terminal decline by mid-2012. … while Nokia and Microsoft mobile platforms are dead. Microsoft was down 29% (to 888 jobs), Symbian down 34% (to 349 jobs) and Nokia down 44% (to 488 jobs). All 3 recorded significant negative growth for the year and dropped to negligent

numbers. BlackBerry jobs were too low to appear on our Q4 report, and only grew 14% (1,955 jobs) overall growth for 2011. We predict that application development for these platforms is now terminal. Nokia has suffered the most globally since 2010. Through 2011, It was overtaken by Android, the iPhone and Samsung in terms of market share which is reflected in our online job statistics.

The company announced it was tying up with Microsoft to try to compete with Apple and Android phones at January’s 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), unveiling the Microsoft-powered Lumia 900 smartphone.

“We believe the industry has shifted from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems," said Nokia boss Stephen Elop. With Samsung, HTC and others also introducing Windows devices, he added, "We all need to get that fly wheel spinning; our principle competition is the other ecosystems". The only wheels that we have seen spinning for Nokia in 2011 in our data were the wheels coming off the Nokia bus. We predict that 2012 will be the end of Nokia and BlackBerry as major vendors in the smartphone marketplace, and unless Microsoft can pull a rabbit out of its hat, it will soon join them. Tremendous growth in iPad jobs; BlackBerry Playbook stillborn. iPad jobs increased 125% (to 5,589 jobs) in 2011, and are growing at 22% compound per quarter. This rate already surpasses the growth rate of iPhone jobs (18% per quarter). We believe that the rate of new applications for the iPad will accelerate significantly, as applications catch up to the matching the tremendous growth rate at which iPads are currently shipping, developers cotton on to the new platform paradigm and the iPad 3 ships. BlackBerry’s Playbook tablet, which launched in Q2 2011 is stillborn with insignificant interest according to our data. Microsoft is a dead duck

As we repeatedly point out in our quarterly Freelancer Fast 50 reports, the universal decline in online jobs related to Microsoft products leads us to believe that the company’s days are numbered. The Microsoft report is covered in red ink; Microsoft missed out on the Internet and as a result core Microsoft products are seeing interest drop like a rock, with upticks only really seen in programming languages associated with the company: Windows Desktop down 37% for the year (to a paltry 1,256 jobs), IIS down 37% (to a piddling 331 jobs), Microsoft down 39% (to 888 jobs), Word down 12% (to 808 jobs), Windows Mobile down 8% (to 515 jobs), .NET down 5% (to 12,108 jobs), Microsoft Access up 1% (to 1,166 jobs), Microsoft Exchange up 1% (to 236 jobs). The only bright spots in the report are ASP up 12% (to 4,544 jobs), Visual Basic up 12% (to 4,103 jobs), C# Programming up 27% (to 7,369 jobs), Sharepoint up 38% (to a tiny 413 jobs) and Windows Server up 84% (to 872 jobs).