Even though the year started very badly, and it could have foreshadowed worsening conditions, 2020 still had some positive surprises for SkillValue.
The numbers prove it: recruiting is on the rise, freelancers are more in demand than ever, the number of tech tests sent has skyrocketed and our freelance community continues to grow.
More clients are coming on board with us and those already using SkillValue’s services say they want to keep working together.
Let’s look back at the tumultuous, challenging year we faced and how we got through it all with one motto: adaptation.
2020 In Review: Exponential Growth for SkillValue Freelancing
Demand postponed, but not canceled
Right after the first lockdown began, orders came to a dead stop and the number of qualified inbound leads was falling. Frédéric Lasnier, CEO of Pentalog (SkillValue’s parent company), estimated that demand on the freelancing market dropped by 50%.
However, while recovery is slow, there’s been exponential growth in one area:
Compared to 2019, SkillValue doubled the number of tech and marketing freelancers companies selected and hired
This recovery was supported in part by a unique service SkillValue offered: a complimentary week of freelancing on the first project, no matter what candidate the client companies selected. The client could use this offer immediately or save it for a later date.
Demand for freelancing on the SkillValue platform mainly comes from European countries, although we’ve seen growing demand from the United States in the past few years.
SkillValue Freelancing clients are a mix of 60% startups, 30% large companies and 10% small- to medium-size companies from a wide variety of industries, including software development, finance, energy and luxury goods.
To fill the growing demand for freelancers, SkillValue has doubled the size of our team so we can continue offering our clients personalized support and highly-qualified sourcing services.
Working freelance is an attractive option as many companies go remote
Remote working arrangements quickly became the norm in just a few weeks, but this didn’t really affect freelancers. In fact, they had an advantage because they already had all the equipment, resources and experience to work effectively while remote.
This advantage, along with work moving outside company walls, encouraged clients to expand their search parameters to access a larger talent pool, says Karim, Business Developer and Customer Success Specialist at SkillValue Freelancers.
He saw sign-ups for SkillValue’s tech and marketing community increase by 40%, compared to 36% for the previous year. The majority of new registrants came from France and Romania, followed by a relatively even number of sign-ups from the UK, the US and Mexico.
The leading reason for this increase remains the same as it’s been for several years: the desire to find a better balance between work life and personal life. Lockdowns and remote working likely propelled the indecisive into taking the leap.
The second explanation is based on the services SkillValue offers to freelancers. It’s more than just a platform for connecting with potential employers. SkillValue helps our community members strengthen their skills by offering technical tests for self-evaluation, online coding competitions and content so they can stay up-to-date on tech and freelance news.
Plus, freelancers can join SkillValue’s affiliate program at any time.
They can make more while helping their clients get work done just by recommending SkillValue when they need to hire employees, outsource work or find freelancers. In 2020, the highest-performing freelance SkillValue affiliate was paid €30,000 in commissions.
SkillValue now has 40,000 freelancers from around the world.
We have some great things planned for the future, including one designed to increase mutual support and solidarity among freelancers. New features will be added to their dashboards so they can interact with others, talk about their projects, discuss tech innovations, etc.
More startups using the technical skills assessment platform
Right after the first lockdown in France threw us all into uncertainty,many companies suspended their recruiting projects and as a result, no longer needed to assess skills. Instead, they concentrated on their core business, improving what they already had rather than releasing new products or services.
It took six long months until business started picking up again, but it quickly gained momentum because our technical and marketing skills assessment platform finished 2020 with 30% growth compared to the previous year.
SkillValue Assessment grew by 30%.
Its main user base is located in France and Great Britain, followed by Canada and the United States.
The companies who use SkillValue’s tech and marketing tests, no matter their size, all come from the IT engineering, consulting and software development fields.
Small- to medium-size businesses are the main users. Startups are next and they’re using the platform in increasing numbers. Big companies come in third.
As things restarted, we noticed a change in how companies used the platform.
While the tests had primarily been used to assess future employees, in the second half of the year, they targeted a higher proportion of freelancers.
But the most obvious change was the need to digitize candidate recruitment and assessment processes.
Without onsite individual and group interviews, companies needed to adopt an easy tool they could use to quickly send tests and get the results back just as rapidly.
They also wanted to be sure that candidates couldn’t cheat on these remote tests. They were quickly reassured when they saw they could generate unique tests for each candidate that the person could only take once within a limited timeframe. In addition, detailed reporting with the number of exits provides additional confirmation of a candidate’s technical skills.
In order to help companies optimize their processes and recruiting costs, we created several service levels to fit various needs and sizes. Companies can instantly change from one level to another within their account.
We also offered a free trial of the assessment platform so companies could explore the 700 or so tests available and try out the tool directly with their candidates.
Finally, we gave our clients access to our database of the top SkillValue certified candidates so they could recruit the best people as quickly as possible.
Which tests are most popular with companies and freelancers?
Our priorities were upended at the beginning of 2020, so SkillValue only published 84 new technical tests, compared to 109 the previous year.
Around 100 tests were updated to reflect tech changes, which is comparable with previous years.
In 2020, companies used 45,000 tests, compared to 37,000 the previous year, a 21% increase.
They mainly used the following tests:
- Medium level ReactJS quiz
- Repeating Numbers
- Medium level Front End Developer quiz
- Medium level Java SE 8 quiz
- Medium level Angular 8 quiz
SkillValue’s DataOps team says that in 2020, Java tests were used more often by companies than developers registered on the platform. This data echoes rankings of the most popular programming languages in the global developer community. The Java programming language has been pushed out of its leading position by more mobile-focused technologies.
However, because of legacy code and the adoption of microservice architecture, Java is still widely used by companies who continue to look for the best programmers specialized in this area.
As for freelancers, 55,103 took an assessment on the SkillValue platform.
The tests most frequently used by freelancers were:
- Medium level ReactJS quiz
- Beginner level Python 3 quiz
- Medium level Java SE 8 quiz
- Medium level Front End Developer quiz
Some of the reasons for its growing popularity include mobile development, back-end and front-end development and Machine Learning.
Companies need to recruit tech specialists more than ever
As we’ve seen, repeated lockdowns and sudden widespread adoption of remote work arrangements have accelerated the need for companies to go digital. Those who had already taken the leap had to adapt from one day to the next to cope with the high demand for their services (e-commerce sites, teleconference tools, online video games, streaming platforms, etc.).
The urgency was quickly apparent.
Our team saw a 282% increase in recruiting demand outside France compared to 2019.
The international recruitment rate has followed the same trend, rising from 75% in 2019 to 90% in 2020. This translates to an average of 30 candidates recruited each month for all countries.
Large companies are the top tech and marketing candidate recruiters, followed by small- to medium-size companies and then startups in ever-increasing numbers over the years.
Most of our clients come from the software development, ecommerce or EdTech industries. There are also a number of companies from the banking industry.
Online programming competition: undeniable success for Lord of the Rings
We have also continued to organize online programming competitions for our developer community around the world.
Coding competitions organized in 2020 attracted more senior coders than previous years when the majority of participants were students and junior developers.
Some of the early prizes included subscriptions to the OReilly.com eLearning platform, GoPros and Eco-Dot smart speakers.
But the competition that generated the most excitement (and a bit of jealousy from our developer team!) was the Lord of the Rings competition. Prizes to be won included a t-shirt, board game and, last but not least for any self-respecting fan, extended editions of the film trilogy.
For many people, 2020 is a year to be forgotten. Of course, it had its share of challenges and difficulties. But it also demonstrated that, more than ever, teamwork, adaptability and innovation were essential for making it through this uncertain period. These are qualities we want to cultivate every day at SkillValue.
I don’t know what 2021 has in store for us, but one thing’s for sure: we’ll never give up on our work to help companies get back on the road to growth and support developers and freelancers so they can become the best on the market.
We’re more committed than ever to listening to your needs and wishes so we can become stronger together.