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IT Talent Survey: A Global Survey of Top Freelance Developers

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There are "deathmatch battles” for developers (and their apps) as a result of the growing skills gap within the apps economy. As businesses become increasingly software-driven, this gap is more obvious than ever. This survey shares insights into how businesses can attract the best development talent available.

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IT Talent Survey: A Global Survey of Top Freelance Developers

  1. 1. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. IT Talent Survey Insights from the world’s top freelance developers
  2. 2. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Research methodology ● An online survey of 1,068 global, top-rated* freelance developers on Upwork ● Data collected July 14 - July 21, 2015 *For more information about top-rated members, go to https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/03/introducing-top-rated-freelancer- program/ 2
  3. 3. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Study objectives ● Understand what motivates top developers ● Gather insight into what top developers look for when searching for projects and the types of clients they prefer to work with ● Identify common project types, top skills in-demand and how much businesses can expect to pay for them 3
  4. 4. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Key findings Reasons developers freelance vs. work full-time with an employer (in rank order) 1. Flexibility 2. The ability to find more interesting projects 3. Higher pay When looking for projects, developers care most about the following (in rank order) 1. Detailed work description 2. Client reputation 3. Potential earnings Top developers have bandwidth for projects and want more work ● On average, they work 32 hours per week ● 55% expect to work more in the next 12 months 4
  5. 5. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Full survey results 5
  6. 6. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Devs freelance vs. work full-time with an employer for flexibility, interesting work Q: Why do you prefer freelancing today vs. working full-time with an employer? [Select all that apply] 6
  7. 7. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Asked to choose only one, the primary motivator for freelancing remains flexibility Q: What was your primary motivator in your decision to start freelancing? [Select one] 7
  8. 8. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. To win work, they view customized cover letters and detailed portfolios as most important factors Q: What do you think was most important for you to get hired by your first client on Upwork? [Select one] 8
  9. 9. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Devs believe the most important items in a profile are contract history and client feedback Q: What do you think is most important to convey in your profile in order to increase the likelihood of winning projects? [Select one] 9
  10. 10. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. To win online projects in a new skill, devs say proof of past work and test projects help Q: How do you convince clients to hire you for a skill in which you have no prior experience? [Select all that apply] 10
  11. 11. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. To learn new programming languages, top-rated devs are most likely to practice and do research Q: How do you prefer to learn a new programming language or framework? [Select all that apply] 11
  12. 12. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. When choosing a project, top talent cares about the project and client -- more than money Q: What criteria do you look for when you choose to apply to a project on Upwork? Please rank in order of importance. If your primary criteria is not an option, please enter it in the comment box below. 12 When choosing projects, top developers look for (in rank order): 1. Detailed scope of work and deliverable description 2. Client’s previous history on Upwork (i.e. spending, past projects, hire rate) 3. Client states an appropriate hourly rate or budget 4. Date of post and most recent client activity 5. Other freelancers have already submitted proposals for the project
  13. 13. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Nearly half prefer to work with a technical product manager Q: Which of the following types of clients do you prefer working with? [Select one] 13
  14. 14. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Even if freelancers are too busy to take on more projects, they’re unlikely to sub-contract Q: How do you typically respond to clients when you’re too busy to take on their projects? [Select one] 14
  15. 15. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. If they do sub-contract work, they’re most likely to do it with development projects Q: What type of work have you subcontracted out to other freelancers in the past? [Select all that apply] 15
  16. 16. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Top-rated devs freelance 32 hours/week; more than half expect to work more next year Q1: On average, how many hours per week do you currently freelance (on Upwork and otherwise)? Q2 In the next 12 months, do you expect to work more, fewer or the same number of hours than the previous 12 months? 16
  17. 17. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. Appendix 17
  18. 18. © 2015 Upwork Inc. Proprietary and confidential. Do not distribute. This study is commissioned by: 18 Upwork is the world’s largest freelance talent marketplace. 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 faster and 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. Freelancers are earning more than $1 billion annually via Upwork. Upwork is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices in San Francisco and Oslo, Norway. For more information, visit our website at www.upwork.com, join us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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