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Digital marketers looking overseas for freelancers as UK fails to meet demand, says report

The UK’s digital businesses are being forced to look overseas for freelance staff due to a lack of numbers in the UK to meet demand, according to a report.

Struggle: Digital marketers are struggling to find UK freelancers

Online work platform Elance conducted research that showed the number of UK employers seeking digital marketers increased by 79 per cent between 2012 and 2013, but claimed that the majority of roles were taken by overseas freelancers.

According to the report, many of the key digital skills now sought after – such as search engine marketing, email marketing and viral marketing – do not feature within the top 20 list of job categories for UK freelancers, with most freelancers offering services that fall within the creative content industry.

Kjetil Olsen, Elance’s vice-president of Europe, said: “UK freelancers have built a very strong reputation when it comes to content production, but there’s also a huge opportunity in digital marketing that we’d encourage them to explore.

“Our data shows that when the talent isn’t available locally, UK companies are tapping into a global pool of online freelancers to source the required skills.

“Prior to online work, this was not an option for businesses that were faced with the option of relocating, hiring staff without the right skills or even worse, fail to get the work done. We see this trend continuing as businesses seek talent from across borders to gain a competitive edge.”

The data showed that the most in-demand digital marketing skills sought by employers were social media marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing, SEO, Google AdWords and SEM, while the top five skills on offer were content writing, article writing, graphic design, PHP and Adobe Illustrator.

The news adds to concerns about a wider digital skills gap in the UK.

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