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5 in-demand skills for freelancers that companies are looking for now—one pays up to $250 an hour

Source: Envato Elements

More and more job seekers are considering the freelance lifestyle. Nearly half, 40% of Gen Zers want to own a business or freelance for their whole career, according to a February 2023 Fiverr survey of 7,121 Gen Zers from around the world.

If you are considering picking up some freelance work — full or part-time — keep in mind that some skills may be more sought after than others. Work marketplace Upwork recently predicted the most in-demand skills for freelancers for 2023, looking at previous freelancer earnings, number of projects worked and other metrics.

Businesses are "not necessarily going to have the expertise they need in-house for every single thing they need to get done," says Margaret Lilani, vice president of talent solutions at Upwork. "And so being able to tap into a network of independent talent who can parachute in" will be hugely valuable moving forward.

Here are five of the most in-demand skills for 2023 according to Upwork, including what freelancers on the platform are charging for them.

Full stack development

Full stack developers build the back end of software and websites using programming languages like Python and Java, as well as the front-end using HTML and JavaScript. They ensure their products give customers a smooth user experience.

Full stack developers on Upwork charge as much as $160 per hour.


Search engine optimization helps companies ensure their websites have the best chance of being found on search engines like Google and Bing. Experts will fill a site with terms relevant to its products and services, among other tactics, to let search engines know what the company is offering.

SEO experts on Upwork charge as much as $250 per hour.

Email, phone and chat support

When customers need answers about a company's products or something they recently bought, they turn to its customer service. These representatives address customer requests via email, phone or chat and ensure their needs are met.

They charge as much as $40 per hour.


Accountants audit and analyze their clients' financial statements, prepare tax-related paperwork and advise on cost-saving measures. Some employers may require a CPA certification to be hired.  

Accountants on Upwork charge as much as $150 per hour.

Graphic design

Graphic designers create visuals for their clients' various consumer-facing material including websites, brochures, social media posts and more. They help build a cohesive look that communicates the company's brand and hook in the desired audience.

They charge as much as $145 per hour.

Each of these skills touches on a different critical need of a business. When it comes to full stack development, for example, "every business out there is going to be using some form of technology," says Lilani, "and so it's no surprise that businesses are going to be looking to freelance talent to help create their products."

And "accounting is very much on the rise," says Lilani, because "companies have to get their books right." In fact, the skill saw a 45% year-over-year growth on Upwork.

Whatever the larger economic landscape, when it comes to hiring freelancers, "it works during times when people are tightening the belt," she says, "but it also works in times when growth is happening really rapidly. Because in times when growth is happening really rapidly you need to get talent in the door."

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