- Research claims that companies are increasingly offering remote freelancing jobs as a way to embed flexibility into their organizations.
- While technology is typically the largest freelance job sector, the research has found that remote freelancers can be utilized for a variety of professional services.
- It is estimated that 37%, or about 25.7 million jobs in ‘non-tech industries’ in the U.S. could be done by remote freelancers.
The coronavirus pandemic impacted companies large and small, across all industries. Many of them are facing the same challenges: getting work done with limited resources.
As a result, executives are exploring new business models, rethinking their operating models, and finding ways to make their organizations more agile and resilient.
A recent research report by Upwork claims that companies, including those in non-tech industries, are offering remote freelancing jobs as a way to embed flexibility into their organizations. This approach not only helps them grow and contract on an as-needed basis, but it also helps with budget constraints.
“Many companies, both inside and outside of tech, utilize remote freelancers for a variety of professional services. This is especially important when activities need to scale up and down quickly, occur on a project-by-project basis, or are in skill areas that are increasingly scarce in tight labor markets.”
A World of Opportunity
Data gathered by Upwork shows the value and potential that remote freelancing can provide businesses outside of the tech industry.
Below are some key findings from the research report:
- The pandemic identified the opportunity of remote work for professional services jobs across every industry: on average, 22.9% of workers across all “traditional industries” were remote as of January, 2021.
- The opportunity to engage remote freelancers in industries outside of tech is significant: Upwork estimates that 37% of, or about 25.7 million jobs in “non-tech industries” in the U.S. could be done by remote freelancers.
- Companies in these “non-tech industries” are already embracing remote freelancers: when looking at Upwork’s largest clients, as measured by spend, over 25% are “non-tech clients”.
- Upwork’s 100 largest non-tech clients are working with remote freelancers across many areas of their business: 35% of businesses are hiring freelancers in web, mobile, and software development as measured by spend. Followed by 12.1% in sales and marketing and 11.7% in customer service.
- Companies continue to realize the benefits of engaging remote freelancers: among the 100 largest non-tech clients that were also on Upwork in 2019, total spending grew by 44.2% in 2020.
- Non-tech clients also recognize the opportunity once they engage remote freelancers: 80% of the 100 largest non-tech clients increased their spending in 2020 across a variety of categories.
Professional services are involved in every part of the economy. This means that the opportunity for professional work is everywhere, including remote freelancing jobs. Given the nature of work today, “professional services have become widespread and, as a result, these jobs exist in every industry.”
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Even companies in traditional industries like mining, construction, agriculture, and manufacturing have come to realize that many of the jobs they offer can be done remotely. After all, these companies also require marketing, communications, administrative, and programming experts.
In fact, Upwork estimates that 37% of jobs in non-tech industries are in professional services.
“In non-tech manufacturing, for example, we can see that 28.4% of occupations are professional services. Not all manufacturers today simply make a product. Researchers must figure out what customers want, engineers and industrial designers must design the product and packaging, marketing specialists create ads to sell the product, web developers build the website, and customer service representatives handle customer questions and feedback.”
Where there are professional service opportunities available, there are remote freelancing opportunities available.
Remote Freelancing Jobs in Non-Tech Industries
“The breadth of professional services jobs across industries shows the potential for remote freelancing outside of tech, and the growing adoption of remote freelancing over the pandemic shows that this potential is increasingly being realized.”
Upwork found that these are the most common categories where freelancers are hired in traditional industries:
- Mobile and software development
- Sales and marketing
- Customer service.
The future of remote freelancing work opportunities will come from companies outside of tech. This, according to Upwork estimates, opens opportunities for 25.7 million U.S. jobs to be done by remote freelancers in non-tech industries.
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