New Research from FlexJobs and PAIRIN Identifies the Top 10 Career Fields and Soft Skills for Freelance Jobs

Share Article

Survey shows 89% of freelancers took actionable steps to enhance their skills during the pandemic

"Our recent survey shows that freelancers are certainly committed to wanting to build their skill set and grow professionally, and did so at a much higher rate during the pandemic than even non-freelancers,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.

Given the strong, sustained interest in the freelance job marketplace, FlexJobs has identified the top 10 career categories for freelance jobs that have grown at least 10% since January 1, 2021. In order to better prepare candidates interested in pursuing these promising freelance careers, FlexJobs teamed with PAIRIN, the trusted technology partner to today’s leading workforce programs, governments and education systems, to identify the skills job seekers need to succeed in these specific categories.

According to a recent FlexJobs survey, the overwhelming majority (89%) of freelancers took actionable steps to boost their skills over the course of the pandemic. Freelancers reported engaging in the following skill development activities, and at a much higher rate than the non-freelance respondents.
-- 53% took online courses for professional development (vs 44% of non-freelance professionals)
-- 52% learned new professional skills (vs 37% of non-freelancers)
-- 50% learned new remote working tools (vs 37% of non-freelancers)
-- 41% attended virtual professional development events (vs 35% of non-freelancers)
-- 35% studied for or earned a new certification (vs 26% of non-freelancers)
-- 30% did volunteer work, internships, projects, or side jobs to strengthen skills and experience (vs 21% of non-freelancers)
-- 9% studied for or earned a new degree (vs 7% of non-freelancers)

“Our recent survey shows that freelancers are certainly committed to wanting to build their skill set and grow professionally, and did so at a much higher rate during the pandemic than even non-freelancers,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “Because the overall job marketplace remains extremely competitive, knowing which soft skills to focus on can help put freelancers in the best position possible to secure their next job,” Sutton concluded.

FlexJobs created the survey, and Dr. Dan Hawthorne, director of I/O psychology and head of research at PAIRIN, conducted the research and analysis to identify the critical skills for each career category. The survey ran from March 17, 2021- April 5, 2021, and received answers from 3545 respondents, 640 of which identified as being full or part-time freelancers.

“At PAIRIN, our science-based skill development tools focus on measuring essential behavioral skills, also known as soft skills, because they are proven to have the most impact on someone’s ability to be successful in a career and in life,” said Dr. Hawthorne. “For this research, we collected jobs that are representative of the career paths identified by FlexJobs as high-growth and examined the common top behavioral skills that 65% of employers say are necessary for success in those career paths and that 73% of employers say applicants are lacking,” Hawthorne concluded.

The ten freelance career categories below have grown at least 10% from January 1, 2021 to April 1,2021. They are ordered from highest to lowest growth. Under each category are the most important soft skills, as identified through PAIRIN’s personalized, science-based research, that professionals need in order to thrive in that respective career. A freelance job is one where a person works for themselves, rather than for a company and may also be referred to as a contract role.

The career coaches at FlexJobs have also compiled tips and advice for freelance job seekers and those considering transitioning to a freelance career in this detailed guide, including how to determine if freelancing is right for you and advice for landing clients and finding freelance work.

1. Therapy
-- Supportiveness - The drive to assist, protect, and provide for others in emotional or physical need.
-- Influential Leadership - The ability to positively persuade others’ choices by focusing on what is important to them and building consensus.
-- Flamboyance - The drive to impress or excite-to stir others through words or actions.
-- Service Orientation - The ability to anticipate, identify, and meet people's often unspoken needs through assistance, products, or services. The drive to generate customer satisfaction and loyalty.
-- Relationship Management - To use awareness of one’s own emotions and those of others to navigate interactions successfully. (Includes: Inspiration, Influence, Enriching Others, Cooperation, Change, and Conflict Management).
-- Originality - The ability to invent or independently conceive of ideas, methods, or products of the first order (underived), regardless of their usefulness.
-- Social Awareness - To relate and respond to the feelings, needs, and concerns of individuals or broader societal groups. (Includes: Empathy, Organizational Awareness, and Service Orientation).

2. Data Entry
-- Compliance - Global tendencies to maintain self-discipline and conform to another's plan, rules, will, or direction.
-- Relationship Management - To use awareness of one’s own emotions and those of others to navigate interactions successfully. (Includes: Inspiration, Influence, Enriching Others, Cooperation, Change, and Conflict Management).
-- Order - The drive to organize tasks or spaces with planning, precision and efficiency.
-- Equilibrium - The ability to maintain emotional balance—either through accepting, adapting or bringing change to a troubling situation or environment.
-- Productivity - To set and meet goals, even in the face of obstacles and competing pressures. To prioritize, plan, and manage work to achieve the intended results.
-- Service Orientation - The ability to anticipate, identify, and meet people's often unspoken needs through assistance, products, or services. The drive to generate customer satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Bookkeeping
-- Social Awareness - To relate and respond to the feelings, needs, and concerns of individuals or broader societal groups. (Includes: Empathy, Organizational Awareness, and Service Orientation).
-- Service Orientation - The ability to anticipate, identify, and meet people's often unspoken needs through assistance, products, or services. The drive to generate customer satisfaction and loyalty.
-- Supportiveness - The drive to assist, protect, and provide for others in emotional or physical need.
-- Compliance - Global tendencies to maintain self-discipline and conform to another's plan, rules, will, or direction.
-- Flamboyance - The drive to impress or excite-to stir others through words or actions.
-- Relationship Management - To use awareness of one’s own emotions and those of others to navigate interactions successfully. (Includes: Inspiration, Influence, Enriching Others, Cooperation, Change, and Conflict Management).

4. Medical & Health
-- Service Orientation - The ability to anticipate, identify, and meet people's often unspoken needs through assistance, products, or services. The drive to generate customer satisfaction and loyalty.
-- Supportiveness - The drive to assist, protect, and provide for others in emotional or physical need.
-- Social Awareness - To relate and respond to the feelings, needs, and concerns of individuals or broader societal groups. (Includes: Empathy, Organizational Awareness, and Service Orientation).
-- Accountability - To be answerable. To take responsibility for outcomes through appropriate use of resources, personal integrity, and self-monitoring.
-- Compliance - Global tendencies to maintain self-discipline and conform to another's plan, rules, will, or direction.

5. Accounting & Finance
-- Social Awareness - To relate and respond to the feelings, needs, and concerns of individuals or broader societal groups. (Includes: Empathy, Organizational Awareness, and Service Orientation).
-- Compliance - Global tendencies to maintain self-discipline and conform to another's plan, rules, will, or direction.
-- Relationship - The drive to draw close and remain loyal to another person or people—to truly connect and enjoyably engage with them.
-- Conflict Management - The ability to effectively negotiate and resolve disagreements.
-- Critical Thinking - To gather and objectively assess key information as a guide to belief or action. An intellectual process that uses analysis, conceptualization, synthesis, and evaluation.

6. Education & Training
-- Cooperative-Practical - The moderation of reason and feeling resulting in calm, commonsense thinking - upbeat, attentive and realistic.
-- Creativity - The desire to think, do, and express in ways that are different from the norm. This includes personal elaborations or variations on known or existing techniques.
-- Social Awareness - To relate and respond to the feelings, needs and concerns of individuals or broader societal groups. (Includes: Empathy, Organizational Awareness and Service Orientation)
-- Originality - The ability to invent or independently conceive of ideas, methods, or products of the first order (underived), regardless of their usefulness.
-- Perspective - The ability to understand broadly, to coordinate knowledge and experience, and to provide clear-sighted and meaningful counsel to others. An aspect of wisdom.

7. Marketing
-- Flamboyance - The drive to impress or excite-to stir others through words or actions.
-- Influential Leadership - The ability to positively persuade others’ choices by focusing on what is important to them and building consensus.
-- Assertiveness - Global tendencies to express and interact with boldness, enthusiasm and confidence.
-- Inspirational Leadership - The ability to uplift, enliven, fill and empower people with a compelling vision.
-- Relationship - The drive to draw close and remain loyal to another person or people—to truly connect and enjoyably engage with them.

8. Customer Service
-- Supportiveness - The drive to assist, protect and provide for others in emotional or physical need.
-- Service Orientation - The ability to anticipate, identify and meet people’s often unspoken needs through assistance, products or services. The drive to generate customer satisfaction and loyalty.
-- Conflict Management - The ability to effectively negotiate and resolve disagreements.
-- Stress Tolerance - To endure pressure and uncertainty without becoming negative (e.g. hopeless, bitter or hostile) toward self or others.
-- Assertiveness - Global tendencies to express and interact with boldness, enthusiasm and confidence.

9. Project Management
-- Relationship Management - To use awareness of one’s own emotions and those of others to navigate interactions successfully. (Includes: Inspiration, Influence, Enriching Others, Cooperation, Change, and Conflict Management).
-- Collaboration & Teamwork - To combine efforts and resources with others toward a common goal. To work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams.
-- Dynamism - Global tendencies to generate results through intentional, resourceful, energetic mindsets and behaviors.
-- Productivity - To set and meet goals, even in the face of obstacles and competing pressures. To prioritize, plan, and manage work to achieve the intended results.
-- Stress Tolerance - To endure pressure or uncertainty without becoming negative (e.g. hopeless, bitter, or hostile) toward self or others.

10. Writing
-- Assertiveness - Global tendencies to express and interact with boldness, enthusiasm and confidence.
-- Cooperative-Practical - The moderation of reason and feeling resulting in calm, commonsense thinking - upbeat, attentive and realistic.
-- Intuitive-Conceptual - The emphasis and synthesis of both instinct and rationale, suggesting versatility, unconventionality and individuality.
-- Order - The drive to organize tasks or spaces with planning, precision and efficiency.
-- Originality - The ability to invent or independently conceive of ideas, methods, or products of the first order (underived), regardless of their usefulness.
-- Creativity - The desire to think, do, and express in ways that are different from the norm. This includes personal elaborations or variations on known or existing techniques.
-- Problem Solving - To discover, analyze, and solve a range of unfamiliar problems in both conventional and creative ways.

FlexJobs promoted the survey to general audiences and its subscribers/members primarily through social media and newsletters. FlexJobs used a multiple choice and multi-select question format via Survey Monkey’s online platform.

For more information please contact Kathy Gardner at kgardner@flexjobs.com or Carli Franks at cfranks@pairin.com. You can also visit https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/5-ways-learn-new-skills-for-your-freelance-career/ and https://www.pairin.com/skills-for-the-top-10-freelancer-careers-of-2021/

About FlexJobs
FlexJobs is a premium online job service for professionals seeking flexible work, specializing in full-time and part-time remote jobs, employee and freelance jobs, and on-site jobs with flexible, part-time, and alternative schedules. Since its start in 2007, FlexJobs has helped more than 5.5 million people in their job searches and has created the largest vetted database of legitimate flexible job opportunities in over 50 career categories. In addition, FlexJobs provides robust ongoing career support including curated expert resources and career coaching services to partner with job seekers in all phases of their journey. A trusted source in the media, FlexJobs has been cited in top national outlets such as CNN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC, Forbes, and many others. FlexJobs' Founder & CEO Sara Sutton has also launched two additional partner sites, Remote.co and 1 Million for Work Flexibility, to help provide education and awareness about the viability and benefits of flexible work. Sutton is the creator of The TRaD* Works Forum (*Telecommuting, Remote, & Distributed), dedicated to helping companies leverage the benefits of telecommuting, remote and distributed teams.

About PAIRIN
PAIRIN is a social enterprise company unifying the essential content and resources provided by regional workforce, government and educational organizations to make education and workforce more relevant and equitable. PAIRIN’s My Journey platform enables organizations to more effectively deliver career guidance, skills development and tailored community services through one easy-to-implement and easy-to-use solution. PAIRIN was founded in 2012 and is based in Denver, Colorado. For more information visit http://www.PAIRIN.com.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kathy Gardner
FlexJobs
(203) 253-9531
Email >
Visit website