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The most sought after freelancers in the UK? Web & graphic designers

Twenty-two per cent of SME owners suggest that web design is the most-likely role to be outsourced, while digital roles hold top three spots for highest average hourly freelance pay.

That’s according to a recent study by small business lender iwoca, which analysed some of the UK’s most popular job sites to identify the top freelance hiring trends across the UK.

The research shows just how reliant small business owners could be on freelancers, with nearly half of respondents at 47% saying they had used a freelancer before, and 65% claiming they are likely to use one to help grow their business.

The top three roles that business owners are most likely to outsource are:

  1. Web Designer- 22%

  2. Accountant- 20%

  3. Social Media Manager- 15%

iwoca’s research on freelance site Upwork identified that the freelance skill costing the most, on an hourly basis, was Search Engine Marketing Specialist (SEM).

SEM Freelancers advertise an average hourly rate of £58.76, the most expensive skill of those studied on Upwork in the UK. If hired as a full-time employee, the hourly rate for an SEM Specialist would be just £15.17 (based on average annual salaries from Glassdoor), only around 25% of what the equivalent freelancer would make.


Freelance Skill

Average hourly rate to hire on Upwork

Annual earning potential as a freelancer

Average annual salary in full-time employment


SEM Specialists





SEO Specialists



















The three lowest paid freelance roles, all costing less than £20 per hour, were Sales Representatives, Customer Service Representative and Data Entry Execs at £17.03, £18.28 and £19.01 respectively.

Despite the high hourly rate of Search Engine Marketers, it’s not the role with the most freelance job ads. Only 13 SEM roles were advertised on the freelance site Upwork (up to 31 May) compared to the most advertised job, Developer, which had 243 openings, followed closely by Copywriter, with 234 job openings.


Job Title

Job openings for freelancers








Sales Representative






Graphic Designer


To view the full research please visit iwoca: here 

WHITE PAPER: Optimising your eCommerce site

By Kate Norton, Selesti

With so many businesses now needing their digital sales to prop up any bricks and mortar revenue more than ever, the landscape for eCommerce sites and the amount of competition is evolving every day. It’s vital therefore to ensure that your brand’s voice cuts through the noise. Simply having the best quality products, the widest range of options, or the lowest prices alone just isn’t enough. 

Growing your online income requires more than simply listing your products/services on your website and hoping your customers will find you. Whether you’re transitioning from the high street or looking to grow an already established website, or just starting out, ensuring you optimise your brand experience is key to increasing your footprint and reaching your eCommerce business goals. 

The first step for any successful online store is crafting a well rounded strategy that ties your marketing KPIs and objectives to your overall business objectives. Without a clear idea of how you see your business growing in the years ahead, it is impossible to effectively measure success. In our white paper we look at how to build your brand strategy using SMART goals, understanding the best channels to focus on, planning your marketing mix and building your brand with USPs and a value proposition.

Having the best strategy in place will only work, however, if you know your customers inside and out. What are they doing when they aren’t shopping with you? What real world issues are they concerned with, and how does your brand resonate with them? We cover how to ensure you have the right data for your customers, and where to find it, as well as how to grow your customer personas into usable resources for targeting your marketing and growing your revenue. Not only is it important to look at who your customers are, but also how they interact with your brand. We take a look at how to track your customers’ journey across multiple touchpoints and how to use this information to refine your tactics and address customer pain points. 

Finally, the look and feel of your site will have a massive impact on how customers view your brand. Issues with the user experience or overall site design can cause valuable consumers to disengage from your brand and move to the competition. We’ve included some best practice examples for optimising your website design to get you started. However, real success comes from testing your design. Our whitepaper aims to help you to understand the ways in which you can utilise user testing, heat mapping and screen recording, and A/B testing to increase your conversion rate.

In our whitepaper, we take a multi-disciplinary approach to your eCommerce website optimisation journey. Helping you to combine strategy, data and analysis, and iterative design testing techniques to continually drive the right people to your store and build revenue. 

Click here to download the White Paper.