Virtual Assistant Trends in 2016

Virtual Assistant Trends in 2016

Projecting a set of  trends for an entire Virtual Assistant industry could be a daunting task as this is dominated by few large players and large number of individual virtual assists. But, many of my contacts are continuously asking me for any possible upcoming trends for the industry so that they could to create their strategy for 2016.  Since virtual visitants across the world are using internet as their prime service delivery platform, lately they are experiencing challenges due industry dynamics especially caused by the recent Elance-Odesk merger. Here I have shared some trends based on my observations and associations in this industry.

 Virtual Assistant Trend #1: Higher expected Growth of the Virtual Assistant Industry

In a research report, it is predicted that by  2018, online working including virtual assistant service will be worth $5 billion as the demand for online virtual working continues to grow (source: virtalent) . We all know that UK is in the process to overcoming one of the most massive financial crises in the economic history. Small businesses and startups are now keen to focus on saving on costs and streamlining their business more than ever before. So it’s a clear indication that virtual assistance outsourcing is highly needed in UK.

It comes with no surprise that it has become tough to hire a full timer in a direct payroll for mid and small enterprises. Considering the present economical condition worldwide, SMEs are looking for more and more online workers.  Hiring a Virtual Secretary or Virtual Assistant allows them to do exactly same things without any permanent commitments. And by employing Virtual Assistants, companies are now able to increase or decrease available workforce based on on-demand workloads.

 Virtual Assistant Trend #2 -Mushrooming of Virtual Assistant Marketplaces and Platforms

There has been an increasing trend in the creation of online task marketplaces or platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, etc.

The idea of hiring a part time assistant for your small business is on high demand. And it can be assumed that the trend will continue even in 2016 considering the economic status of first world countries like United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. You will find many virtual assistants from come onto this market space from emerging economies and they will finish your job at one fifth of cost that a US based VA charges.

 Virtual Assistant Trend # 3. Virtual Assistant Job Market:

I think it’s going to be tough for VA job-seekers from east  and south-east Asian countries. VA from Asian countries are good in some particular jobs like data entry,  online lead generation, and social marketing,  customer support assistants,  Internet marketing assistants, online sales, affiliate marketing, desktop publishing etc. and etc. Most of these would low paid jobs.

Whereas, there would be  less completion in skill based Virtual assistant job such as  market and Knowledge based research work . But above all, career in virtual assistant industry is self-made. It can open up opportunities for your professional because of their low fees and seasoned VA would face stiff competition from new entrants because of downward cost pressure.

 Virtual Assistant Trend #4:  Online search trends: By using Google trends data

Virtual assistant trend

Virtual assistant trend





Here we can see almost a constant graph for Virtual Assistant in worldwide especially in last five years. So the graph for 2016 is quite imaginable. I think it will go like the previous year.

Virtual assistant regional interest

Virtual assistant regional interest


In country wise regional interest, Philippines is at the top. And the next 5 countries are there with almost similar interest profiles. You can see those countries are USA, Australia, Canada, UK and India.


Related searches keywords asked for Virtual assistant are as follows:

  • virtual jobs
  • virtual assistant jobs
  • virtual assistant work
  • online virtual assistant
  • online assistant
  • virtual assistant business
  • virtual assistant services


Virtual Assistant Trend # 5 - Online Search Intention: By using Google ad ward to predict top 10 key word

Here we got some popular keyword ideas that related to Virtual Assistant industry:

  • Find Assistant
  • Virtual Executive
  • Work Online
  • Entry Jobs
  • Home Jobs
  • Virtual Marketing
  • Virtual Receptionist
  • Assistant Philippines
  • International Virtual Assistants Association
  • Internet Jobs


Virtual Assistant Trend # 6- Disruption in freelance virtual assistant industry: with emergence of upwork.

One of the biggest changes in Virtual Assistant Industry occurred when the Elance and ODesk got merged and become Upwork. Upwork becomes a place full of scam and full of  low paid jobs, this has become the headache for both many small business owners and freelance Virtual Assistants.  The premium Elance platform is about to die.  And upwork problem I’ve already mentioned. So this merger has become a headache for many Small and Medium Virtual Assistant companies to get quality VA jobs from online market space.

 Virtual Assistant Trend #7 -Rise of low paid jobs

Another backdrop of upwork is that plenty of virtual assistant companies and freelancers are there who are actually working at cheaper price, cheap enough to kill plenty companies in this industry. People are working for weeks in a budget of ten dollar only. In website like Fiver, all jobs posted for $5. Doesn’t it sound funny? This may create troubles for many professional virtual Assistant companies.

 Virtual Assistant Trend #8 – More virtual companies from Asia.              

In China & South East Asia Careers Fair there were around 60 VA companies had taken part. These companies are mostly medium and big sized. This number is actually huge for an industry like Virtual Assistant. And we don’t know how many individual freelancer and small businesses are there.

 Virtual Assistant Trend #9. Top freelance platforms for Virtual assistant jobs.

Elance- Elance is one of the top platforms for online employment and it’s my personal favorite because of quality clients and freelance VA base. But  Elance as it’s ready to close down soon .

Guru- One can visit and sign up for finding VA jobs through their network. Guru is a top destination for employers, and you could find a lot of VA jobs over their job boards.

UPWork (earlier ODesk)- Much similar to Elance and, UPWork is one of the most popular freelance job website.

Freelancer: Freelancer, again, like the above is one of the biggest freelance job portals, and you could find numerous people on the look for Virtual Assistants.

People Per Hour- is a marketplace connecting small businesses and freelancers.

 Virtual Assistant Trend #10: Top influencers in VA industry

Michael Hyatt – The most respected name as virtual mentor cum leader in Virtual assistant industry. He is a great leader, thinkers, corporate CEO and one of most successful consultants. He shared many resources on virtual assistant industry, tools, reports etc.

Nick Loper – is the co-owner of He is working with the industry since 2005.Like many other people; Nick became more interested in expanding his outsourcing efforts after reading “The 4-Hour Work Week”, and wanted to create a resource to help people in virtual assistant industry.

Chris Ducker- The master of social media strategy Chris Ducker is the person you need to run online Virtual assistant business in 21st century.

Tawnya Sutherland: Founder of the most popular virtual assistant forum vanetworking . This forum provides lots of virtual assistant resources including leads for VA jobs.


I know it’s difficult to draw the overall trend for a niche Industry like online virtual assistant, but still I have tried make some projections. Hope you would find report on  Virtual Assistant Trends useful.

Thank you and best of luck with your Virtual Assistant  strategies in 2016.

About Author :
Gobinda Roy is the Founder of Ennovation Consulting and has been involved in online research, Industry research and sales consulting for over 16 years. He is alumnus of India’s premier Institute IIT Kharagpur and has over 12 years of corporate experience.

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  • This article is very valuable and correct.Now in 2018 we realized the importance and the truth of the article.I have hired my online personal assistant from India(GetFriday) and they are helping me with SEO,Inbox management and many other outsourced business activities and even my personal tasks like travel management,flight booking etc.