Have you ever thought about becoming a freelancer yourself? You’re probably a bit intrigued by the opportunity, otherwise, you wouldn’t be looking at our freelance statistics for 2020! We dare say you’re in the right place, as you’re about to find out how many freelancers there are, best freelance careers for you, and whether Upwork is as good as they say. Also, how much freelancing work you should invest. Being a freelancer has plenty of perks. For starters, you’re your own boss. Only you get to decide on your working hours (but you’ll see they aren’t scarce). You can work from home, even from another country if you’re keen on becoming a nomad.
Here is a brief outline of what awaits you in the article:
Top 10 Most Intriguing Freelance Market Statistics
- 61% of freelancers claim their freelance career was a choice, not a necessity.
- The three largest freelance platforms in the world are Freelancer.com, Upwork, and Fiverr.
- The best countries for freelancers are the US, the UK, Brazil, Pakistan, Ukraine, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Russia, and Serbia (in this order).
- Estimated at about $1 trillion, freelance income is getting close to 5% of the US GDP.
- Globally, 3 out of 4 freelancers are male (77%).
- Upwork freelancer statistics confirm about 57 million Americans are involved in some kind of freelance work.
- 44% of freelancers got crossed at least once in their career.
- About 50% of freelance workers work 30 to 50 hours per week.
- 79% of full-time working freelancers say a flexible schedule is the number one reason for choosing this career.
- 51% of freelancers claim they would never go back to 9-to-5 jobs.
That’s right, we didn’t see some of these coming either. Go on and take a closer look!
Freelance Workforce Statistics
1. The majority of the US workforce will be freelance by 2027, estimates show.
The prediction mostly relies on generations Y and Z to be the main workforce in the freelance market, especially since 47% of Millennials freelance in some way already.
It’s not just the possibility of staying at home and being independent. The 2008 recession clearly showed one can’t always rely on corporations for a safe career.
2. Freelance statistics for the UK tell us there are 2 million British freelancers, with 1.77 million naming it as their main job.
(Go Simple Tax)
There has been an influx of new freelancers (an increase of 46%) from the time of the Great Recession in 2008. The freelance workforce is slowly being recognized as influential, and above all, desirable.
Overall, they contributed to the British economy with a whopping $317 million in 2017.
3. How many freelancers are there in the US in 2019? Well, about 57 million Americans are involved in some kind of freelance work.
“Freelancing in America” (FIA) research reports that generation Z has the largest number of freelance workers, contributing to the freelance community with 53% of the population.
On the other hand, only 29% and 31% of Baby Boomers and Generation X do freelance work, respectively.
4. Freelancers and digital nomads are not necessarily identical.
Freelancers oftentimes work from home, whereas digital nomads spend a few months abroad each year and frequently change their whereabouts every couple of weeks.
5. Is Upwork worth it? Freelance statistics on jobs say the three largest freelance platforms in the world are: Freelancer.com, Upwork, and Fiverr.
Freelancer.com has over 31 million registered users, while Upwork can boast with just above half as much (17 million). Conversely, Fiverr has a bit over 7 million freelancers.
6. Globally, 3 out of 4 freelancers are male (77%).
On the other hand, if we take a closer look, the ratio is almost equal in North America. In contrast, only 1 out of 5 freelancers is female on the Asian continent.
7. According to freelance statistics for 2019, the best countries for freelancers are the US, the UK, Brazil, Pakistan, Ukraine, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Russia, and Serbia (in this order).
These countries are getting big bucks from the freelancer economy. The earnings in the US in 2019 increased by a staggering 78% compared to the earnings in 2018 for Q2. This is the largest boost in the world!
Similarly, the UK had a YOY growth of 59%, and Brazil ranks third with 48%.
Serbia, a small European country, seems to be an interesting IT market as outsourcing statistics report revenue that surpassed the $1 billion mark.
8. 30% of freelancers are web and graphic designers, representing the largest part of the workforce, as reported by freelancer statistics for 2020.
As for the remaining best freelance careers, programmers take second place with 19% of them belonging to the budding freelance world. IT specialists come third, with 10% of them preferring to be their own bosses.
9. Around 70% of Pakistani freelancers are younger than 30.
On the other hand, US freelance professionals are of various ages. The majority are between 25 and 34 years old, whereas 27% of them are 35–44 years old. Moreover, 13% of US freelancers are older than 55.
10. Freelance writing statistics estimate content writers make up for 8% of freelancers.
All this content on the internet won’t just write itself you know — hence why writers now have more work cut out for them than ever before, or at the very least have more opportunities to become known globally. Project managers, who are often in charge of writers, choose a regular job instead as only 1% of them are freelance workers.
Multimedia artists employ their creativity as much as writers, meaning that 8% of them freelance too.
11. 1 in 10 Toronto workers is a freelancer, recent Canadian freelance statistics reveal.
(The Star) (Statistics Canada)
Gig economy stats show that the largest number of self-employed workers (freelancers included) in 2018 was located in British Columbia and they made 15% of the overall workforce.
At the moment, there are probably more than 2.9 million self-employed Canadians. What’s more, scientific and technical service workers are on the rise, while agriculture rates have fallen.
Freelance Economy Statistics: How Much Can You Earn?
12. Freelancers should always ask for 50% upfront as collateral.
Experts say a 50% non-refundable deposit is a must for any project, regardless of the client. That way, the percentage of stiffed freelancers would probably diminish (at the very least).
13. Estimated at about $1 trillion, freelance income is getting close to 5% of the US GDP.
Freelancers are a force to be reckoned with. Judging by the figures, they are overtaking some of the major industries (transportation and construction included).
14. “Freelancing in America: 2019” study confirms a skilled freelancer earns more than 70% of US workers.
That’s right, experienced freelancers have a median rate of $28 per hour; more than the rest of the US workforce.
15. Germany is a promising market for an IT freelancer.
Time is money, and if you are wasting yours, then you’re losing cash for no good reason. Just last year, in November, Germany was in dire need of 124,000 IT specialists (a 51% increase since 2018).
We expect the trend to continue in 2020 as well.
Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway — countries with the highest standards of living in the world — are also looking for IT professionals. So, there’s your chance.
Are Freelancers Happier?
16. 79% of full-time working freelancers say a flexible schedule is the number one reason for choosing this career.
That’s right, freelancing can be a full-time job solely responsible for your personal finances. The second reason for working from home is the lovely feeling of being your own boss.
Spending more time with the family was the least cited reason.
17. 51% of freelancers claim they would never go back to 9-to-5 jobs.
That doesn’t mean they are escaping responsibility. On the contrary, freelancers are much more politically active than their 9-to-5 counterparts. It’s just that they enjoy freelancing benefits a great deal.
18. Over 60% of freelancers believe the society underestimates them, freelance statistics reveal.
(The Slash Workers)
Admittedly, freelancing and working from home are relatively new notions, so it will take some time for the society to respect them as much as the “hardworking” nine-to-five workers.
19. Full-time freelancers are more likely to invest in their education than full-time employees with traditional jobs.
According to one survey, 70% of freelancers enrolled in a course in the past six months compared to just 49% of other workers.
20. 61% of freelancers claim their freelance career was a choice, not a necessity.
(The Balance Careers)
In addition, freelancing statistics are fairly optimistic as 77% of full-time freelancers found their work-life balance improved due to their career change.
21. Almost 40% of freelance workers complain about loneliness.
39% would like to have some colleagues around.
Nevertheless, the 24–34 Millennial group is the most lonely, as 54% of them have endured loneliness.
The reasons vary.
For one, a lot of freelancers work from home, and as a result, they don’t meet fellow freelancers in person. Moreover, their environment is often unsure of what exactly they do (for a living); a lack of support and understanding is more present compared to some other jobs.
22. Worrisome freelance statistics: 44% of freelancers got crossed at least once in their career.
(The Slash Workers)
It’s not all roses when you’re a freelancer. In a recent survey, the majority (44%) stated that it occurred due to them (freelancers) not being taken seriously, yet 35% believe it wouldn’t have happened if they had had better contracts.
How Much Do Freelancers Work?
23. About 50% of freelance workers work 30 to 50 hours per week.
22% have a working week of 20 hours or less. Conversely, 10% work over 60 hours.
The most diligent workers are employed as finance, management, or HR professionals.
Freelance lawyer stats reveal freelance legal service providers work the least (33.6 hours on average).
24. Americans worked over one billion freelance hours per week in 2019.
To truly grasp how impactful this is, you should know that back in 2015 freelancers were still working under the one-billion-hour threshold — 998 million hours to be exact. Yet, today, according to the latest freelance jobs statistics, it is a lot easier to find freelance or online jobs.
As a matter of fact, 64% of freelancers find their jobs online.
25. 4 out of 5 freelancers work on up to three projects simultaneously.
While it is true that freelancers are very much satisfied with their jobs, they tend to multitask a lot. That may be due to the fact that frauds are not uncommon, and job offers are not always predictable.
How many freelancers are there in the world?
Tens of millions, but the exact number is hard to establish. First of all, it keeps rising at an incredible pace. Secondly, as they are freelancers, it is hard to keep track of all of them (at once). Not all freelancers are full-time workers and some do go back to traditional jobs.
If we take a look at the above-mentioned stat, there are 57 million freelancers in the US, yet Europe contributes to the freelance economy the most. If we compare the overall percentage (35.5%) and the general population (513 million), we would get roughly 179.7 million freelancers in the EU.
What percentage of the workforce is freelance?
In the US, the figure in question is 35%. Europe has a slight lead with 35.5%. Canada’s self-employed workforce is supposed to be over 15%, whereas, in the UK, 6% of the entire workforce is currently freelancing.
In the years to come, we can expect even higher figures. Some estimates go as far as to predict that there will be 90.1 million freelancers in the US by 2028.
Are freelancers happier?
What is happiness after all? How can we define it? Well, perhaps with the following numbers in one survey:
- 74% claim freelancing is an ideal job.
- 94% say they are satisfied, or that they love/like their job.
Taking this into consideration and the above-mentioned statistics, we can deduce that they are quite satisfied with their life choice.
So, how do you like the freelancer economy thus far? You have to agree that freelancing has a lot of perks, especially online freelancing. If anything, it helps you get better prepared for unpredictable turns of events — such as sudden layoffs, or a force majeure (which we all witnessed with the coronavirus outbreak).
To sum up, freelance statistics are constantly being updated as more and more people turn to freelancing as their primary source of income. They work hard too, which is clearly indicated by their number of working hours. Loneliness is a major issue. Yet, good salaries, and above all the sense of freedom, make up for it. A freelance worker is a happy worker indeed.