At a time when the overall job market struggles, online professionals are thriving, earning more than $23 million in the second quarter of 2010, a 45% year-over-year increase, according to the quarterly Online Employment Report by online placement firm Elance.
In the second quarter of 2009, Elance professionals earned $15.98 million, the company said. In the first quarter of 2010, workers posted earnings of $20.3 million, Elance said.
"Frustrated by the traditional on-site staffing model, businesses are embracing virtual and hybrid work structures which allow them to tap into highly skilled online teams on a flexible basis. Talented workers with hot skills such as Google App Engine development, HTML5, SEO, and social media marketing are experiencing unprecedented demand for their expertise and can find steady work and growing incomes," said Ellen Pack, VP of marketing at Elance, in a statement.
The hottest areas reflect some of the technology and consumer trends spreading across the country and world. Apple's iPad, for example, grew the most, followed by ecommerce and audio editing, Elance showed. For the first time, jQuery was added to the list of available options. The least popular service categories included web design, Active Server Pages, and non-fiction writing, according to Elance.
Elance's ranks consisted of 67,725 creative workers; 50,345 marketing professionals; 42,467 IT experts; 26,969 operations workers; and 11,577 in other fields, the study found. However, IT workers generated 59% of revenue, according to the report. Creative experts were responsible for one-fourth of second-quarter income, while marketing created 7%, operations generated 6%, and "other" led to 3%, the study found.
The technology category grew 44% year-over-year while creative increased 36% in the same period. For its part, marketing income increased 73% between the second quarter of 2009 and the most recent quarter, Elance found. Operations increased 49% during the same time span.
"Growth in marketing was driven by high demand for online marketing skills including SEO, lead generation, and social media marketing," according to Elance.
In the second quarter, businesses awarded Elance professionals 53,700 jobs, compared with 53,100 jobs in the prior quarter, according to the company. In the second quarter of 2009, Elance professionals received 42,900 jobs, Elance said. Currently, more than 112,000 companies use Elance to hire online workers, the business said.
India, the United States, and Pakistan were the top earning countries, Elance found.