The average hourly rate for the top 100 hottest skills in today’s freelance job market is $43.72; more than 88% higher than the median hourly rate of US workers ($28) doing skills services overall, according to a recently launched report from online talent platform Upwork.

The Upwork 100 is a new, quarterly series of the 100 hottest skills in today’s US freelance job market based on data sourced from the database, according to Adam Ozimek, PhD, and chief economist at Upwork. The skills were the most in-demand within the top 500 on in terms of freelancer billings for the past four complete quarters.

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The list was culled from within to rank the top 100 fastest-growing skills based on year-over-year growth rates in freelancer billings for Q3 2019 versus Q3 2018, Ozimek said. The report serves as a barometer of the tech skills companies are looking for, he added. The top 10 skills included:

  1. .NET Core 2
  2. TypeScript
  3. Landing pages
  4. eBooks
  5. Android
  6. Electronic design
  7. Presentation
  8. Sketch
  9. Research
  10. Technical recruiter

Surprise findings

The data also revealed some eye-opening trends, Ozimek said. “The first one that jumped out to us is US workers are supercharging global business.” Thirty-eight percent of the US freelancers being hired for the top 100 skills were hired by companies outside the US, he said, including from Canada, the UK, Australia, India, and Israel.

“It shows how much talent in the knowledge economy is in the US and that these independent professionals are really top talent; so much that they’re in demand around the world,” Ozimek said.

Digital hiring platforms provide a win-win for both businesses and freelancers, he said. Not only do they “provide businesses with access to a global pool of proven talent, they also provide independent professionals with the opportunity to export their skilled services to companies around the world — including in both developed and developing countries,” he said.

Another surprising finding was the diversity in the range of industries that are hiring on Upwork. “It’s really all over the place,” Ozimek said.

The top 10 industries hiring US freelancers for the top 100 skills are:
1) Consulting
2) Internet Software & Services
3) Internet
4) Consumer Discretionary
5) Healthcare
6) Consumer Staples
7) Publishing
8) Education
9) Advertising
10) Specialized Consumer Services.

Skills makeup

The top 100 skills cut across a variety of different types of work, Ozimek said. They include creative skills, such as SEO writing, infographics, and product descriptions, and highly technical skills such as network security, 3D rendering, data mining and ASP.NET. “Some of these are brand new skills that haven’t existed for long, but some of them are really, really old skills that have been around a long time, like bookkeeping,” he said.

Some of the newer skills on the list include Kubernetes, Docker, and Asana, a project management tool.

Other skills that made the list? English grammar at number 76, appointment setting at number 83, and romance writing at number 86.

Learning new skills

Upwork is partnering with online learning platform provider Coursera, to offer courses professionals can take that will bundle some of the Upwork 100 skills. For example, they could include how to create a video using tools such as Adobe’s Premiere Pro and After Effects software, or mobile software development, data science and analytics, Upwork said.

Here is the complete Upwork 100 list for Q3 2019.

The next Upwork 100 report will be released in winter 2020.

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