As we witness a major shift from traditional work to freelancing, one thing becomes clear: the gig economy is surely taking over the world. As freelance statistics show, those who have started working for themselves don’t plan on going back to the standard 9-to-5 routine.
Scroll down to discover more fascinating facts and stats on freelancing work; how freelancers feel about working this way, how much they earn, how that compares against traditional employment, and more.
Freelance Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Almost 30 million freelancers are long-term oriented.
- 31% of freelancers earn $75,000+ a year.
- There are 57 million freelancers in the US.
- Working from home improves performance by 13%.
- 30% of freelance writers make under $10 per hour during their first year.
- Men make 4 times more money than women.
- 91% of freelancers think the future of the profession is bright.
- Half of the working US population will turn to freelance work over the next five years.
The State of Freelancing
1. 57 million Americans are part of the gig economy.
The rapid progress of companies like Uber, eBay, and Freelancer.com has given people the opportunity to work part-time or do side hustles. Essentially, these workers have become part of the global gig economy which offers greater flexibility than traditional jobs. The popularity of freelancing has increased in the past few years and today more than 36% (or 57 million) of US workers are part of the free-market system.
2. Freelancing is most popular in Europe.
So, how many freelancers are there in the world? While there is no exact number, the stats show that this type of working is most popular in Europe where 35.5% of the freelancing community is located. Next come Latin America and Asia with 29.2% and 28% concentration of freelancers, respectively. The African continent accounts for 10.1% of freelancers worldwide.
3. 73% are looking for a job on dedicated internet platforms.
The majority (73%) of freelancers are looking for and finding jobs on some of the internet platforms specially made for this. Freelance statistics further show that with a total of over 50 million users, Freelancer.com, Upwork, and Fiverr are the most popular platforms for finding a job. Another 33% of freelancers find work through referrals, 15% use social networks, and 14% do this through business-oriented networking sites such as LinkedIn.
4. Almost 30 million freelancers are long-term oriented.
Freelancing is not just a side hustle but a career choice. In fact, 28.5 million American freelance workers are now long-term oriented. This marks a rise from 2014 when only 18.5 million freelancers considered working for themselves a career option.
5. 30% of Fortune 500 companies are hiring through Upwork.
With around 12 million people looking for a job and over 5 million more who are there for freelance job postings and looking for workers, Upwork is one of the biggest freelancing bases in the world. The latest statistics suggest that many big companies (30%) looking for skilled people for their needs often find and hire the perfect candidate on Upwork.
6. Access to affordable healthcare is the number one concern for freelancers.
Access to affordable healthcare is the predominant concern for 22% of freelancers. Unpredictable income and retirement savings are major issues for 19% of freelancers. Other notable concerns are being paid a fair rate, high taxes, and the possibility of going into debt.
7. Half of the American freelancers are getting paid on a fixed amount.
As freelance stats show, around 48% of all the completed gigs were paid after both parties agreed on the amount in advance. 29% were paid by the hour and the balance was a combination of both categories, hourly and based on a fixed amount.
8. 30% of freelance writers make under $10 per hour during their first year.
Freelancing statistics suggest that writers are earning low rates. One-third of them earn less than $10 per hour. 31% of freelance writers meanwhile make anywhere between $11 and $25 per hour while 20% earn $26-$40 per hour. Only 10% make $50-75 per hour and 9% earn $75-$100.
9. 31% of freelancers earn $75,000+ a year.
Freelancing can be an excellent source of income. In fact, one-third of US freelancers earn $75,000 or more which is up from 16% in 2014.
Freelance Workforce Statistics
10. There are 57 million freelancers in the US.
A recent report has shown that there are 57 million freelancers in the US, representing 35% of the nation’s workforce. At the moment, freelancing income is $1.3 trillion and accounts for 4.8% of the entire US GDP. That is pretty impressive.
11. Every seventh freelancer in the UK is a mother.
A freelance industry report shows that over 300,000 moms in the UK work as freelancers. That makes every seventh person working in the industry a mother of at least one child. This type of work makes it perfect for parents as they get to take care of their kids and work at the same time.
12. The gender gap is present: Men make 4 times more than women.
Female freelancers make less money than male freelancers. A SlashWorkers study has shown that while women make $25000 on average, men can go over $150000 a year for the same position. That’s a difference of 4.5 times in favor of men.
13. 24% of freelancers hold a bachelor’s degree.
Freelancing statistics further show that 24% of freelancers hold a BA while another 16% also have a post-graduate degree. That makes 40% of highly educated professionals, as compared with 39% for traditional workers in both of these categories. The number of freelancers and traditional workers with some college or Associate degree, and high-school degree is 26% and 34%, respectively.
14. The share of full-time freelancers is 28%.
Freelancing is becoming an increasingly popular long-term career choice as opposed to just a temporary solution for some extra cash. As of 2019, 28% of freelancers are working full-time, marking a notable increase from 17% in 2014.
15. Almost half of the full-time freelancers participated in extra education programs.
As freelance trends show, around 45% of full-time freelancers who quit their jobs in traditional working environments looked for and participated in some kind of training and education to extend their skills and knowledge.
16. 66% of freelancers are retraining to stay relevant to the market.
Over 66% of the full-time freelancers are constantly looking for extra education so they can stay relevant in the market. On the other hand, 53% of traditional workers consider retraining as an important practice to stay relevant.
17. 45% of freelancers provide skilled services.
Freelance facts from Upwork’s most recent study show that nearly half of freelancers are skilled professionals providing services in marketing, programming, IT, and business consulting.
18. Generation Z is more likely to freelance.
Freelancers employment is a thing for younger workers. In fact, Generation Z is the largest freelance workforce group — 53% of those aged 18-22 freelanced in 2019. Millennials (aged 23-38) are next with 40%, while Gen X workers (aged 39-54) follow with 31%. The smallest generation group among freelancers is Baby Boomers (aged 55+) with 29%.
19. Most US freelancers work in the Art & Design field.
According to freelance artist statistics, 75% of the US workers in the Art & Design field are freelancers. The Entertainment field meanwhile has 55%. Construction is another industry where the majority of workers (52%) are freelancers.
Benefits of Freelancing Employment
20. 64% of people think that freelancing has given them better working opportunities.
Freelancing is an excellent option especially for those who otherwise might not be able to work a traditional job because of circumstances. 64% of freelancers say the job has given them the opportunity to work and make money to live just like the rest of the working world. Freelancing has given them the chance to make their lives better.
21. Freelancing helps with improving the work-life balance.
Remote working statistics show that an impressive 77% of all who started freelancing have felt an improvement of their work-life balance. They say they have more time for friends and hobbies, and are generally able to do more in their lives. More than half admit that they won’t go back to the traditional way of work under any circumstances. While the latter is a more stressful option for many, it doesn't have to be - at least not with the right employee engagement software, which helps boost office morale and keeps track of employees' satisfaction levels at all times.
22. Employers make better profits by hiring freelancers.
Profit is the number one reason why more and more companies nowadays hire outside workers. The estimates say that the average cost for workers benefits is around $11 per hour. With a freelancer, this money can be deployed elsewhere. Freelance economy statistics further show that with freelancers, the employer will pay for the work done which would save them money in the long run. On top of this, there are no expenses for healthcare, paid leave, life insurance, and other benefits.
23. Working from home improves performance by 13%.
The comfort and sense of relaxation that freelances have when working from home lead to enhanced productivity. This is supported by the fact that companies relying on freelances have seen a profit increase of $2,000 per freelance worker.
24. Freelancing equals less stress.
Freelancing statistics show that people who work from home at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel less stressed about their jobs. The sense of greater control over the work environment and schedule, as well as the lack of a commute, are some of the factors that helps freelancers feel more relaxed. As a result, these employees are more motivated and have higher morale.
Traditional vs. Remote Freelance Jobs
25. Freelancers are 21% more satisfied with their position than traditional workers.
The average traditional American freelancer is satisfied 63% of the time, while freelancers who work long-term are satisfied by the position they are at 84%. What is more, 61% of those who freelance say that there’s no money that will make them do the standard 9 to 5 work ever again.
26. Traditional employment has a higher chance to get you sick.
Work at home statistics suggest that 64% of people who freelance have noted a health improvement when they quit their standard job. This is not a surprise considering that freelancers are freed from exhausting commutes, the stress of corporate life, and more.
27. Freelancers are more successful in living the lifestyle they want.
Freelancing provides flexibility and opportunities that traditional jobs don’t. A recent survey has shown that 84% of full-time freelancers live the lifestyle they want as opposed to 63% of full-time traditional workers.
28. Freelancers who left their traditional job earn more.
According to the freelance statistics for 2020, 1 in 4 freelancers had left their job to start freelancing. 60% of them are earning more than when they had an employer. For 24% of them, it took less than six months to start earning more while for 33% this happened immediately.
The Future of Freelancing
29. Estimates say that half of UK workers will be self-employed by the end of 2020.
More and more people enjoy completing tasks at their own pace. Also, they tend to be more valued in the workplace for their expanded networks and ideas. These are one of the main reasons why by the end of the next decade, more than half of the entire working-age population in the UK will be self-employed.
30. More than 50% of the working US population will turn to freelance work over the next five years.
The US will see an expansion of freelancers with 50% of the working US population expected to either try or transition to freelancing by 2024. Statista’s freelance predictions show that this trend will continue and by 2028 there will be 90.1 million freelancers compared to 57.3 million in 2017.
31. 91% of freelancers think the future of freelancing is bright.
The vast majority of freelancers feel optimistic about the future. 67% of full-time freelancers expect their income to increase in the next 12 months while 91% are confident that the best days are yet to come. In 2014, 77% of freelancers felt that the freelancing future is bright.
Driven by the younger generation, the future of the freelance industry is definitely bright. These freelance statistics clearly demonstrate that people involved in it also show interest in its growth. Freelancers are satisfied with their position and enjoy the flexibility, while clients love the boost in productivity and savings. That said, there is still some work to do on improving rights and closing the gender gap.