23 Aug 2013
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Is your billion-dollar company just around the corner…?

“2013 will be viewed as a year of unprecedented disruption," says Matt Barrie, CEO, Freelancer.com.

During the year there has been major tectonic shifts in the design and manufacturing industries, as they struggle to adapt to the unstoppable rise of crowdsourcing and 3D printing.

“But with disruption comes opportunity," argues Barrie.

"Over the next couple of months there is a unique window for any entrepreneur with an innovative business model to build a billion-dollar company.”

Charting the top 50 fastest growing job types on a quarter-by-quarter basis, Barrie says the 3D printing industry is heating up fast, amid a $600 million acquisition, while the design industry is flourishing as SMEs embrace freelancers over local agencies.

Android also continues to school Apple and Facebook continues to fight fire with fire and come out triumphantly over Twitter.

3D vision

Set to become a $3 billion industry by 2016, Barrie claims the 3D industry continues to grow as increasingly households and workplaces adopt 3D printing technologies.

"As a result, 3D Rendering, 3D Modelling and 3D Animation showed significant growth, with all three jobs securing spots in the top 20 categories of the top 50 fastest growing job types," he says.

First flagged in the Q1 2013 Fast 50 as a key growth industry, recent industry movements, such as the acquisition of Makerbot by 3D printing giant Stratasys, continue to suggest that this will be the industry to watch in the latter half of 2013.

Online design

With SMEs now favouring freelancers, Illustration (up 19.7% from 1,501 jobs), Photoshop Design (up 19.4% from 1,241 jobs), Banner Design (up 14.4% from 2,131 jobs) and Logo Design (up 9.2% from 7,591 jobs) are all up in Q2 as ever-increasing fees charged by design agencies encourage SMEs to embrace online designers and force them to shop around for a better deal.

"Disruptive online business models such as crowdsourcing deliver unprecedented levels of flexibility, quality and ROI for SMEs," says Barrie.

"We anticipate that this trend will continue as creative design professionals embrace online freelancing, while traditional design agencies join Borders and the Dodo in the annals of history."

Android schools Apple

Despite newer, flatter icons, Barrie warns that iOS development continues to lag behind Android.

Android achieved 14.8% growth in this Fast 50 (from 5,152 jobs), as iPhone and iPad lagged with 10.2% and -2.5% growth (from 5,552 and 2,266 jobs respectively).

"With Android unchallenged, the new iOS releases are struggling to create must-have features and Apple is increasingly looking like a follower rather than a leader in the market it reinvented," Barrie says.

Facebook v Twitter

A year after Facebook’s IPO belly flop, the world’s number one social network has recovered, this month reaching its issue price on the back of strong growth in mobile advertising.

The social media giant grew mobile advertising revenue a massive 76% to US$656 million from the previous quarter, as reported in June this year.

Advertisers have seen the light according to Barrie, who says Facebook marketing jobs grew 16% this quarter to 7,281 jobs.

But after a strong first quarter, Twitter stagnated at just under 2% growth (from 2,624 jobs), as Facebook cashed in on its own version of Twitter’s hashtag feature and tweaked its commenting system to allow users to upload photos to comment threads.

"With Facebook starting to see positive results from its mobile advertising push, businesses will continue to diversify their online advertising budgets to include Facebook," advises Barrie.


But as corporate giants attempt to innovate in the consumer market with major product releases and reckless software updates, little thought has been spared for the SMEs fighting to keep up with the pace of technological change.

Increasingly, SMEs are turning to external support and finding the answer in freelancers around the world.

"SMEs now use freelancers as an integral part of their business," says Barrie.

"Traditionally, SMEs outsourced work at the peripheries of their core business function, but this is rapidly changing."

Today, SMEs are integrating freelancers directly into their business, relying on them for core tasks such as accounting (up 23.3% from 888 jobs), report writing (up 20.5% from 1,535 jobs) and the creation of powerpoint presentations (up 35.4% from 1,499 jobs), which require in-depth knowledge of the business.

As the online freelance labour force shifts focus, tasks such as copywriting, ghostwriting and PDF conversions that require little to no inside knowledge have suffered (dropping by 13.5%, 11.8% and 38.1% respectively).

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