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Nearly half (48%) of hiring managers agree that the increased specialization of skills is disrupting their business—a gap that’s pushing them to explore new ways to find, hire, and engage workers.

What skills are generating the greatest amount of demand? The Upwork Skills Index reveals the hottest skills in the U.S. freelance job market. And for Q2 of 2019, every skill on the ranked list is new.


“In booming cities like Boston, Denver, San Francisco, and San Jose, the unemployment rate has fallen below three percent, which makes finding qualified and highly-specialized talent more challenging than ever before,” 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, for more and more skills, businesses are relying on nontraditional talent sources to effectively engage the best workers, no matter where they live.”

Here are the top 20 fastest-growing skills, Q2 2019:


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What’s driving demand?

The 20 fastest-growing skills on Upwork.com in Q2 2019 experienced more than 120 percent year-over-year growth, while demand for the top 10 skills grew more than 400 percent year-over-year.

The Index provides real-time validation of current trends in the labor market and tech industry. This includes:

  • The strategic use of cloud-based platforms, particularly at the enterprise level. Both ServiceNow (#1) and Microsoft Azure (#20) underscore that C-Suite leaders are embracing cloud-based platforms as a critical component of their strategy.
  • Organizations investing in tools to analyze, interpret, and visualize insights from big data. Skills such as relational databases (#14) and neo4j (#11) reflect how businesses are working to interpret their data to better inform business decisions.
  • Online marketers leaning into video content. From polished video to motion graphics (#16) businesses are investing in engaging video content as well as social video marketing (#3) expertise to strategically increase customer engagement.
  • Customized solutions for AI (artificial intelligence) and deep learning. As businesses invest more in AI, they’re increasingly relying on independent talent to explore its applications and use cases.
  • The shift toward an app-driven experience. Low-code development solutions, in particular, are gaining popularity as a way for organizations to create apps to connect with their customers.
  • Leveraging freelance expertise for recruitment and training. The tech talent shortage is changing how companies approach hiring as well as L&D (learning and development), with businesses seeking professionals in technical recruiting (#10) to help close gaps.

For a more in-depth look at the current trends that shaped the Skills Index for Q2 2019, read the full press release.

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