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What are the top 100 freelance skills at the end of 2019?

9 Dec 2019

Upwork has released its ranking of the top 100 in-demand skills for freelancers in the US, based on its engagements throughout the year.

The end of the year is fast-approaching and many companies are putting forward their insights, whether they’re reflecting on 2019 or predicting the trends to watch in 2020.

One interesting resource is the recently published Upwork 100 report. As an online talent solutions company, Upwork based the report on research into the almost 170,000 work engagements on the site in the third quarter of the year.

The 100, according to Upwork, is “the first list in a new quarterly series of the hottest skills in today’s US freelance job market”. Its goal is to shed light on “skills that are both quickly growing and also experiencing a high level of demand, providing an indication of current trends in the independent labour market and tech industry”.

So, what did Upwork find?

The top skills

The report lists all 100 skills found to be most in-demand in the US, of which the first 10 can be found below.

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

The other skills on the list reflected the diverse needs of the current market, ranging from Google Docs and Squarespace to product design and SEO writing.


The company has referred to the list of skills as a “barometer”, harnessing data from “real-time insights with consistent patterns based on real work”.

The research methods were developed by its chief economist Dr Adam Ozimek.

Speaking about the methods, Upwork said: “Using data sourced from the Upwork.com database, we first limit the analysis to skills that are the most in-demand by including only skills that have been in the top 500 on Upwork.com in terms of freelancer billings for the past four complete quarters.

“Within that, we then rank the top 100 fastest-growing skills based on year-over-year growth rates in freelancer billings for Q3 2019 versus Q3 2018.”

Salary trends

The report offers accompanying insights into the US freelance market, including information on salaries, growth and hiring trends.

In terms of salary, Upwork found that the average hourly rate for the top 100 skills for US freelancers per hour is higher than that of 88pc of US workers overall. According to its report, the average hourly rate for the top 100 skills in Q3 was $43.72.

Ozimek commented: “Given the highly skilled and in-demand nature of the top 100, the high rates earned are not surprising.”

But the report notes that more than two-thirds of the hires for the top 100 skills are happening in non-US companies, with the UK, Australia, India and Germany among the top countries recruiting.

Ozimek said: “Too often, discussions about global trade focus only on goods; but the US exports a lot of skilled services as well, and there is high demand for US skilled services professionals.”

The top industries

The obstacles, Upwork said, come to fruition around access to skills and talent scarcity. It claimed that, by 2028, it’s predicted that almost three-quarters of all teams will have remote workers.

But for those eager to develop their abilities in the top 100 areas identified, the report outlined which industries in the US are hiring for freelancers with those skills.

These were:

  1. Consulting
  2. Internet software and services
  3. Internet
  4. Consumer discretionary
  5. Healthcare
  6. Consumer staples
  7. Publishing
  8. Education
  9. Advertising
  10. Specialised consumer services

Ozimek concluded: “This data shows that a diverse range of industries are leveraging independent professionals to access the skills they need, when they need them.”

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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