The Majority of UK’s four million small businesses plan to increase spend on IT freelancers; PHP and SEO top list of most in-demand tech skills.

Based on an in-depth survey taken by 360 users, it gives a comprehensive overview of the behaviour, opinions and habits of the UK’s four million small businesses – a sector that collectively accounts for more than 60 percent of the UK’s turnover and employment.

In a welcome boost for the IT industry, a whopping 61 percent of respondents to the survey said they would increase their investment on IT and web. 38 percent of small business owners plan to channel this investment into increasing their use of IT freelancers, with just 18 percent intending to hire in-house staff. 43 percent of small business owners see IT as a role for freelancers exclusively – not as supplements to in-house IT professionals.

The last decade has seen a boom in remote freelance working, facilitated by the internet. This has been led by the IT industry, which lends itself to freelancing. The survey findings suggest that the importance of IT industry to the freelance economy is set to grow.

Project postings give a unique insight into which IT skills are currently experiencing most demand from small businesses:

  1. PHP
    2. SEO / Link Building
    3. WordPress
    4. Joomla
    5. iPhone Apps
    6. MySQL
    7. HTML
    8. Flash Game development
    9. .NET Developer
    10. ASP.NET Developer

If you want plenty of freelance IT work, you’d do well to specialise in PHP and SEO. However, the IT sector is ever-changing and dynamic so this list will doubtless look quite different in a year’s time.