All Things Upwork

Due to the popularity of our Stay Employed – Jobs with the Least Competition and Greatest Opportunity post last December (and the number of requests we’ve received for updated information), we thought we would follow up with more interesting information from the oDesk Trends vaults to help you develop your resume and determine what skills to focus on to stay employed in these challenging economic times. We will take an updated look at various skills and technologies and the competition – or lack thereof – for positions needing those skills.


In viewing these numbers, keep in mind this is for oDesk which is primarily concerned with placement for freelance and contract positions. This may vary with respect to full time placement numbers, though we think the data is useful to all.

In looking at the table below we give you three columns, one with the skill or technology, the second with the total jobs posted and the last with the Fill ratio. The Fill Ratio  shows the competition for these postings – a low percentage in this column indicates great job opportunities, whereas a higher percentage score indicates that jobs requiring those skills get filled at or above our usual rate.  Anything not on this list is getting filled at a high rate indicating high competition for the skill or technology.

Skill Average # Jobs Per Month Fill Ratio
iPhone 93 23.96%
AJAX 315 27.07%
Java 75 27.65%
Graphics 106 29.13%
XHTML 163 29.31%
SQL 112 29.89%
XML 111 30.28%
PHP/IIS/MS SQL 114 30.31%
JavaScript 339 30.90%
SEO 201 30.97%
MySQL 658 31.65%
PHP 731 33.84%
English 109 34.99%
Flash 257 35.86%
Writer 101 36.36%
Joomla 236 37.11%
Drupal 117 37.75%
Data Entry 120 37.95%
html 237 38.16%
WordPress 197 39.36%
Photoshop 285 39.61%
CSS 150 42.71%
Excel 106 48.31%

First up, iPhone Programmer positions have the lowest fill rate which means the competition is lowest in this particular field. Addition good news: the field is growing, as the number of positions requiring iPhone development skills is growing at a rapid rate as witnessed on our iPhone Developer Trends page.

.Moving down the table we see that AJAX developers are still in demand with 315 jobs posted per month and a 27% fill rate. PHP is still very popular and competitive on oDesk, but developing some additional skills in an area with a lower fill rate might help you keep up a steady work flow.

.The .NET languages that showed so promisingly last December have fallen from our chart, as the positions are in high demand and are often-filled.

.Adding fuel to the ongoing PostgreSQL vs. MySQL debate, MySQL programmers have a strong showing on our chart, with the highest average number of jobs posted per month and a respectable fill rate at 30%. At 658 jobs/month, this is almost double the skill needed for those working with the second highest number of jobs per month, Javascript programmers.

On the less technical front, freelance writers and those with English skills are each enjoying an average of over 100 job opportunities per month with a combined average fill rate of 35%.

Hopefully you’ll find this information useful in guiding your career path. More information can be found on the skills and languages above, as well as many other desirable skills, on the oDesk Trends page.

Erica Benton

Social Media Guru

Erica Benton joined oDesk in 2009, bringing with her nearly a decade of small business and freelance experience, and a love of all things social. Her passion for startups, technology and marketing was born during her tenure with Kulesa Faul Public Relations, while she learned the art of entrepreneurship firsthand through Equine Alternatives, a business she founded while earning her Bachelor of Science degree from… read more