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As the digital marketing skills gap widens, data reveals marketing managers use freelancers to extend capabilities

The new Future Workforce study shows that marketing teams are turning to freelancers to fill critical gaps

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - November 20,  2017 - Upwork, the largest freelancing website, today released new data from marketing manager respondents to Upwork’s Future Workforce Report. Marketing hiring is on the rise, but a growing talent gap is leaving marketers hunting for highly specialized skills. Findings show that marketing teams are turning to freelancers to help fill critical gaps on their team. For an overview of the marketing results, see this infographic.

Digital transformation is forcing businesses to evolve their marketing strategies. Marketing hiring managers are being challenged to consider what skills are needed to succeed as digital marketers. According to the newly released Q3 2017 Skills Index, 20 percent of the fastest growing skills are in digital marketing, including inbound marketing, demand generation and social media marketing which have grown over 150 percent year-over-year.

“Marketers today face a dilemma,’ said Upwork SVP of Marketing, Rich Pearson. “With more ideas than people to execute, they are asking themselves how they can access the talent they need to keep pace. Traditional agencies have long been the primary solution to help fill these skills gaps, but with the increased availability of freelance talent, marketers have a new, more cost-effective option for getting work done.”

Key takeaways from the newly released marketing data include:

  • Marketing roles are hard to fill - Nearly three times (35 percent) as many hiring managers felt hiring got harder in the past year versus 12 percent who felt it had gotten easier. It takes 38 days on average to fill a marketing position, versus 30 days for other skills.
  • Teams depend on access to talent - A majority (76 percent) of marketing managers agree that their department’s success depends on getting access to the right talent.
  • Marketing departments are embracing freelancers - The majority (58 percent) of marketing managers are utilizing freelancers. The top reasons for hiring freelancers were to help scale to meet project needs (56 percent) and to fill staffing shortages (54 percent).
  • Freelancers help get more done - Marketing teams are more likely to be negatively impacted by not being able to hire a freelancer. In fact, if unable to hire a freelancer, 92 percent of marketing managers said they would be forced to delay, cancel or extend project workloads versus 84 percent of general hiring managers.

Technology is changing how teams get work done

Technology is making location irrelevantTechnology has made being in the office less of a factor when hiring new team members, fewer than 1 in 10 marketing managers believe location is important to a new team member’s success. In fact, 78 percent of marketing managers have someone on their team that works a significant portion of their time remotely.

Technology is driving changes in hiringSeventy-nine percent of marketing managers agree that technology is changing how their team finds and works with talent. Sixty-seven percent of marketing managers agree that hiring online will soon become common. The majority (74 percent) of marketing managers agree that companies that don’t evolve their hiring strategies are at a competitive disadvantage, and over half (55 percent) say freelancers will be part of their long term hiring strategy.

About Upwork’s Future Workforce Report

The Future Workforce Report was conducted by independent research firm Inavero. This is the first year the study has been conducted and first ever release of marketing-specific data. More than 1,000 U.S. hiring managers, including over 200 marketing managers, were surveyed through a third-party, independent online sample. The study has an overall margin of error of ±3.09% at a 95% level of confidence.

About Upwork

Upwork is the largest freelancing website. Upwork Enterprise combines technology and services, giving companies a single solution that makes it simple, quick and cost effective to access qualified freelance talent.Twenty percent of Fortune 500 companies and other notable companies utilize Upwork to find and hire freelancers, including organizations such as Airbnb, Dropbox, Pfizer and Juniper Networks. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices in San Francisco, Chicago and Oslo, Norway. For more information, visit our website at www.upwork.com, join us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Inavero

Inavero is a global leader in human capital management research. The firm powers satisfaction and thought leadership studies for hundreds of top firms within the space and leverages more than 300,000 survey responses annually to provide insight into the millions who work in the gig economy and the companies who hire them.

For more information, visit https://www.inavero.com/.

Contact

Katie Evans
Upwork
press@upwork.com