The Surprising Tasks Your Competitors Are Outsourcing

The Surprising Tasks Your Competitors Are Outsourcing


Some of the fastest growing outsourced jobs in April, May and June included PowerPoint presentation preparation, accounting and report writing, according to a survey by of more than 300 000 job postings.

These are not just side projects being tossed to freelancers. The way that business owners are using freelancers is “rapidly changing,” as business owners are handing over some of their most core functions to freelancers, says in its second-quarter trend report.

Certain areas of outsourcing growing fast

Demand for PowerPoint preparation jumped by 35% in the second quarter from the first quarter. Demand for accounting services shot up 23% and demand for report writing increased by 20%, according to the report.

Meanwhile, employers’ need for less mission-critical services has been falling off noticeably. Demand for converting PDF files to text files has plunged by 38% in the second quarter, demand for copywriting has fallen off 14% and demand for ghostwriting services has dropped 12% in the latest quarter. says there is far less demand for those skills which require little or no sophisticated knowledge or training.

Interesting market trends

In addition to the larger trend of business owners increasingly relying on freelancers for core functions, the analysis revealed a few other labour market shifts.

3-D printing is booming. In recent months, this method of overlay, additive manufacturing has become increasingly popular and is becoming ever more mainstream.

For example, earlier this month, shipping giant UPS unrolled a pilot program making 3-D printers available in some stores across the country.

Demand for 3-D rendering jobs increased 17% in the second quarter over the first, while demand for 3-D modelling work increased 13% and demand for 3-D animation increased 13%, according to

Designers are busy. Business owners don’t need to pay expensive agencies to get their design needs met. Demand for freelance illustration work shot up 20% in the second quarter and demand for freelance Photoshop design increased by about the same amount.

Demand for logo design rose nine per cent during the quarter.

In addition, entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to the crowd to determine what works and what doesn’t, a much cheaper alternative to paying elite design agencies, according to

“2013 will be viewed as a year of unprecedented disruption, with tectonic shifts in the design and manufacturing industries as they struggle to adapt to the unstoppable rise of crowdsourcing and 3D printing,” says CEO Matt Barrie in a statement.

Demand for Android app creation is greater than demand for iPhone app creation. Demand for freelance Android development work shot up 15% in the second quarter, according to Meanwhile, demand for iPhone development rose 10% and demand for iPad development dipped almost three per cent.

Check out the infographic for a summary of the findings from’s latest survey, including the shifts mentioned above.

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Catherine Clifford
Catherine Clifford is a staff writer at Previously, she was the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Catherine attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Email her at You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.
  • Wendy Burger

    When you focus on your strengths and do what you are really good at, then outsourcing functions conserves your energy for creative ideas and product development. I noticed when you keep doing what you don’t enjoy, you procrastinate, it takes up a lot of head space, it is boring. When you know how much your time is worth, outsourcing makes more sense. This presentation will help you calculate how much your time is worth: