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Human content writers have surged in demand recently, as part of a broader effect, where ‘prompt engineers’ have seen salaries of $300,000.
LinkedIn’s figures show that job posts in English with references to “GPT” or “ChatGPT” have increased 21-fold since November 2022. Interestingly, after almost a year of generative AI and predictions that it could largely replace human creative and content writers, Freelancer.com’s quarterly report shows an increase in demand for ‘human’ freelance writing jobs.
Since ChatGPT was quietly released in November last year and quickly became the fastest-growing consumer app in history by February this year, generative AI products have been integrated into search engines and major platforms, e.g., Microsoft’s Copilot, Google’s Bard, and Duet AI. Multiple AI image generators and other AI products have also now been introduced with businesses discovering (and quickly adopting) and leveraging the power of generative AI to boost productivity, meet their content and creative needs, and to link together and leverage the power of apps like never before.
With chatbots like ChatGPT seemingly able to produce quality content at scale, on-demand, in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of human writers, many thought that freelancers would struggle to find work with their skills effectively being replaced by AI.
However, according to Australian online job marketplace Freelancer.com’s quarterly report on jobs posted in its marketplace, jobs related to writing, content creation and marketing have been the fastest growing freelance jobs by percentage growth in Q3 of this year. For example, it reports that compared to Q2, copy typing jobs rose by 28.7 per cent, Microsoft Word projects rose by 24.7 per cent, search engine marketing was up by 24.1 per cent, and copywriting and ghostwriting both rose by more than 23 per cent.
This trend has also been echoed in data from US-based, worldwide employment website ‘Indeed,’ which reports that generative AI-related jobs posted on its platform increased by almost 250 per cent from July 2021 to July 2023.
Tech and employment commentators are suggesting that the main reasons for this trend include:
– Small business may have seen and realised the power and potential of AI, but small business owners are time-poor, and need skilled freelancers to carry out the AI work for their projects.
– With businesses looking for ways to integrate AI into their business platforms, and with many freelancers being quick to learn and utilise AI tools to boost their productivity and skill base, businesses are seeking the support and help from these skilled freelance developers.
Opportunity To Become “Superskilled”
Far from the automation of AI taking away their work, tech and employment commentators have noted how many freelancers have been able to learn, harness, and leverage generative AI tools to the point where they it has effectively made them ‘superskilled.’ For example, leveraging generative AI tools (e.g. chatbots and image AI image generators) has enabled freelancers to become expert-level in copywriting and creativity (images and videos), dramatically broadening their skill-base and capabilities, increasing their value in the market, and elevating them to now having some of the most in-demand skills. For example, in July, jobs for ‘Prompt Engineers’ were reported to have salaries of up to $300,000 attached.
It’s worth noting here, however, that to some extent, freelancers finding their AI skills in high demand may be at the expense of some in creative professions, such as artists, who are currently involved in legal battles to protect their skills and work over copyright issues relating to AI tools like image generators.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
The considerable increase in demand for human freelance AI skills reflects how AI is changing the tech job market. With time-poor businesses owners looking for help and support in leveraging AI in a value-adding way, freelancers who have up-skilled themselves and boosted their productivity by learning how to use AI tools now find themselves able to meet that demand and be well positioned for the future growth of AI.
For example, a recent (US) LinkedIn survey of executives found that 44 per cent intend to expand their use of AI technologies in the next year, with 47 per cent believing it will improve their productivity. Even though many tech freelancers may already have related degrees or experience, learning the new AI concepts and tools is now an important way that tech professionals can advance their careers.
That said, although freelancers can learn how to use AI tools, they will still need to know and to demonstrate how to use the technology in the right way in order to get work on a particular project. It’s also important to look at the sheer speed of developments in generative AI and how rapidly the market and tech jobs are changing to realise that we’re still really at the beginning, and that there’s a lot more to learn and more changes to come as AI alters the employment landscape all the way up the value chain.