I am having the same issue, I've been top rated for more than a year and my hiring ratio has dropped below average. I write customized proposals for each of the jobs which take lots of time and effort but to no effect.
I was doing pretty well on Elance before I was forced to join UpWork. Things haven't been the same since.
In my experience, Top Rated badge is not an improvement at all, It does not help in securing jobs in any way. If anything, it has been counter-effective for me. It resulted in fewer invitations from clients. I am utterly disappointed.
Everyone who thinks top rated badge causes fewer invitations or contracts needs a lesson in logic. If a rooster crows and then the sun rises, that does not mean the rooster causes the sunrise. In the case of the top rated badge and fewer invitations or hires, it’s probably coincidence.
Join the club - got top rated a coupple of months ago and while I was getting jobs all the time before since I got top rated (am at 100%) I send out some 60 individual applications and just got one smallish job. Mind you, 98% of those jobs I applied for have not hired anyone and from 99% of those there is no reply what so ever, even on invitations and jobs from the Upwork talent scout No Joy
I have no idea what is going on all I see is that all jobs get spammed with 50+ applications which nay be the cause. If I was looking for a freelancer and had my email account spammed like that I would also go elsewhere
When applying I avoid those "average hourly rate $3.99" and other rediculous offers