Jobbing PAYE umbrella contractors on the lookout for new work may wish to take a closer look at the online jobs market, according to new figures released by the internet jobs leviathan Elance.

Freelance software developers and others in the IT skills market are amongst those receiving a little seasonal cheer from the online jobs platform. The company’s annual figures have just been released and reveal the number of employers who sourced their temporary staff online has more than doubled during 2011, with every indication that the same will occur in 2012.

650,000 additional temporary jobs and contracts were posted on the website during 2011, a rise of 120% on 2010. It’s a figure that is well on course to double next year.

Elance Chief Executive Fabio Rosati said that the figures herald a “structural change in traditional employment.” Significantly more employers are turning to online and contingent work “as a core business strategy,” he added. Eight out of ten SMEs polled by Elance say they will hire up to half of their new appointees as freelancers sourced online. The shift away from traditional patterns of permanent 9-to-5 posts will also interest contractor’s working through umbrella companies.

Experts in the field of IT contracting will be interested to find that software roles (especially those concerning HTML 5) showed particularly strong growth, although internet marketing jobs rose by 132% and graphic design roles by 176%. Content writing, too, enjoyed a surge, rising by 72%. Perhaps reflecting the increasing popularity of Facebook and Twitter, demand for marketing comms contractors also rose by 53%.

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