Press release

Upwork releases latest Skills Index, ranking the 20 fastest-growing skills for freelancers

Sponsored by Businesswire

($UPWK), the largest freelancing website, today released its newest
quarterly index of the hottest skills in the U.S. freelance job market.
The Upwork Skills Index ranks the site’s 20 fastest-growing skills in a
quarterly series. It sheds light on new and emerging skills and provides
real-time validation of current trends in the labor market and tech
industry. According to a new report,
access to skills and talent scarcity are the biggest hiring challenges.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

The Upwork Skills Index ranks the site’s 20 fastest-growing skills in a quarterly series (Graphic: B ...

The Upwork Skills Index ranks the site’s 20 fastest-growing skills in a quarterly series (Graphic: Business Wire)

“Labor markets overall are tightening, and for many skills, employers
are increasingly struggling to find available workers in their local
areas,” said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World
Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the New Social Contract. “As a
result, the array of skills employers are finding through digital
platforms is growing, including technical skills like Hadoop and
Kubernetes as well as non-technical skills such as taxation and urban

The 20 fastest-growing freelance skills in Q1 2019 experienced more than
170 percent year-over-year growth, while demand for the top 10 skills
grew more than 370 percent year-over-year.

The top 20 fastest-growing skills, Q1 2019:

  1. U.S.
  2. Hadoop
  3. Robotic
    process automation
  4. Explainer
  5. Computer
    aided manufacturing
  6. Financial
  7. Urban
  8. Software
  9. Salesforce
    Commerce Cloud
  10. Geospatial
  11. Julia
  12. Kubernetes
  13. Magento
  14. Employee
  15. Shopify
  16. Certified
    Public Accountant (CPA)
  17. Vue.js
  18. Leadership
  19. Architectural
  20. Podcasting

Key Insights

Tax reform, potential Recession spur growth in financial skills

On the heels of the tax reform bill passed in 2018, U.S. Taxation
was this quarter’s fastest-growing skill out of more than 5,000
freelancers offer on Those unfamiliar with the new law
tapped into the freelance talent pool to help navigate the transition
and better understand the advantages and challenges of filing under the
new system. Tax season also spurred demand for Certified Public
Accountants (#16)
and financial planning (#6) specialists.

Automation helps capture business value

Organizations are becoming more automation-savvy, earning robotic
process automation (RPA) (#3)
a spot on the index for the first
time. Unicorns like Automation
and UiPath
are providing solutions to large companies to help automate tasks and
processes that have traditionally been done manually by humans. As RPA
adoption increases among Enterprises, Forrester estimates
that the market will grow to $2.9 billion in 2021 (from $250 million in

Changing city infrastructure causes spike in demand for urban planning

According to a report,
73 percent of all teams will have remote workers by 2028. As remote work
adoption increases and more people are able to live and work where they
choose versus where their work is, city infrastructure is also changing. Urban
design (#7)
specialists are helping keep up with this evolution by
arranging and designing public spaces, transportation systems and
amenities for residents, tenants and visitors. Geospatial (#10) technologies,
which map and analyze the Earth’s surface, and architectural
renderings (#19)
also saw significant growth as the public and
private sector alike look for ways to optimize current and future space.

Companies increase investment in eCommerce tools

Global eCommerce sales are expected to reach $4.8
by 2021, and more than 2.1 billion shoppers are expected to
buy goods and services online. Experts familiar with Salesforce
Commerce Cloud (#9)
were highly sought-after last quarter to help
companies deliver personalized customer experiences across mobile,
digital and social platforms, and Magento (#13), an eCommerce
solution recently acquired by Adobe ($ADBE), also experienced high
growth as companies look to build new online storefronts to increase
online revenue. Shopify templates (#15), which brands are
leveraging to ensure storefronts deliver a unified experience, also
appeared on this quarter’s list for the first time.

Businesses double down on learning and development

With tightening labor markets, businesses are investing more dollars in
developing their workers, and employee training (#14) saw an
uptick in demand for the second consecutive quarter as a result.
Development extends beyond technical skills and into soft skills such as leadership
development (#18)
, which also appeared on this quarter’s list.
Platforms like BetterUp
are leading the disruption of the L&D industry; and in addition to
investing in formal, corporate programs, companies are turning to
freelance specialists to create an overall strategy to ensure their
workforce is prepared for tomorrow.

Marketers seek new ways to connect and communicate with customers

Video marketing has proven effective in an era where global consumer
Internet video traffic is projected to account for 80
of all consumer Internet traffic. Marketers are taking it
back to the basics and investing in freelance specialists who can create explainer
videos (#4)
that help customers better understand complex products
or services. Podcasting (#20) has also become a popular way to
meet customers where they are; they’re easy to consume and help
businesses connect directly to listeners, regardless of location.

Relevant Course List

According to a recent report,
younger generation managers are prioritizing reskilling the workforce
with 96 percent of Millennial and Gen Z managers saying it is important
to reskill or train their workforce. One-third believe that individuals
should be responsible for their own reskilling as opposed to the
employer or educational institutions.

Here is a list of relevant online courses from online learning
platforms, including Coursera,, PluralSight, Skillshare, and
Udemy for the top 20 fastest-growing skills on Upwork in Q1 2019:

  1. US Taxation: U.S.
    Federal Taxation Specialization
  2. Hadoop: Hadoop
    Platform and Application Framework
  3. Robotic process automation: UiPath
    – Level 1 Robotic Process Automation
  4. Explainer videos: Create
    Your Own Explainer Video: How To Craft The Perfect Pitch!

  5. Computer aided manufacturing: CAD
    and Digital Manufacturing Specialization
  6. Financial planning: Financial
    Planning & Management: Finance Strategies & Tools
  7. Urban design: Designing
  8. Software documentation: Technical
    Writing: How to Write Software Documentation
  9. Salesforce Commerce Cloud: Salesforce
    Commerce Cloud ( Demandware ) Head Start
  10. Geospatial: Getting
    Started with GIS
  11. Julia development: Julia
    Scientific Programming
  12. Kubernetes: Learn
    DevOps: The Complete Kubernetes Course
  13. Magento: Getting
    Started with Magento
  14. Employee training: e-Learning
    Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning for the
    Digital Age
  15. Shopify templates: Build
    a Shopify Theme From Scratch
  16. Certified Public Accountant (CPA): Accounting 101 – Basic
    Accounting Concepts Explained
  17. Vue.js framework: Vue.js
  18. Leadership development: Personal
    Leadership Development Planning and Leading High Performing Teams

  19. Architectural rendering: Rendering
    Impressive Architectural Interiors in 3ds Max and V-Ray
  20. Podcasting: How
    to Make a Podcast: Plan, Record, and Launch with Success


The Upwork Skills Index calculates year-over-year growth rates based on
freelancer billings through Upwork in Q1 2019 versus Q1 2018. The next
quarterly Upwork Skills Index will be released fall 2019.

About Upwork

is the largest freelancing website. It enables businesses to find and
work with highly skilled freelancers. As an increasingly connected and
independent workforce goes online, knowledge work — like software,
shopping and content before it — is shifting online as well. This shift
is making it easier for clients to connect and work with talent in near
real-time and is freeing professionals everywhere from having to work at
a set time and place. Our company’s mission is to create economic
opportunities so people have better lives.

Upwork is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices in San
Francisco and Chicago. For more information, visit our website at,
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and LinkedIn.