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Freelance Statistics by DDIY

55 Freelance Statistics

With more and more people leaving traditional 9-5 jobs in favor of becoming their own boss and choosing the work they want to do, freelancing has become more popular than ever.

This growth in popularity has only been magnified by the progress of technology and the ability to connect clients to freelancers across the world, allowing more people to do what they love on their own time without set hours.

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But is freelancing all it’s cracked up to be? What do the numbers actually look like? If you’re looking to get out of the cubicle and set your own hours, you probably want to be certain that it’s the right move to make.

Here are the most up-to-date statistics on what the freelancing landscape looks like in 2022.

Key online freelance statistics

The word “freelancing” can mean many different things to different people, and that’s by design. The only requirement to be considered a freelancer is to be someone who is a sort of a “free agent,” who performs jobs and tasks without being part of any particular agency or company.

It’s important to remember that any career from independent web developer to marketer to writer or even being a personal trainer falls under the “freelance” category. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the overarching key statistics that represent what freelancing in 2021 looks like.

  1. There are currently 57 million freelancers in the US.
    Freelance Statistics - There are currently 57 million freelancers in the US
  2. An estimated 59% of freelancers in the United States who responded to the survey are male freelancers.
  3. 86% of freelancers typically work from home (though coffee shops are also popular).
  4. 84% of freelancers say work lets them live the lifestyle they want.
  5. 64% of freelancers said their overall health has improved.
  6. 46% of freelancers choose their job because of the flexibility.
  7. 41% of freelancers find new work through their past clients.
  8. The US had the most demand for freelancers in 2020.
  9. The freelance industry makes up almost 5% of the total US GDP.
  10. 53% of all Generation Z workers are freelancers.

Freelance growth

Now that we have a grasp of just how prolific freelancing has become and what it looks like to be a freelancer, let’s look at what growth looks like in the future.

Generally, it appears that freelancing will only become more popular in the near future, and many freelancers feel confident about this. If the past year of growth is any indicator of the future years to come, it’s safe to say that most freelancing industries will likely see huge increases in the number of jobs and workers.

Here are what those numbers look like.

  1. 41% of the American workforce freelanced in the year 2020, up 13% since 2013.
  2. At the same time, people not working freelance jobs only grew by 2%.
  3. 28% of Americans now freelance full-time, making this up 17% from 2014.
  4. Global freelance platform market size is projected to boom at a CAGR of 15.3% during 2021-2026.
  5. 36% of workers reported that they freelanced even in the pandemic – up 8% from 2019.
  6. 58% of non-freelancers are now considering freelancing in the future.
    Freelance Statistics - 58% of non-freelancers are now considering freelancing in the future
  7. 53% of freelancers believe that demand will increase from what it was before the pandemic.
  8. 34% of Americans started doing freelance work at the onset of the pandemic.

Freelancer Earning Statistics

With all of this projected success, freelancing seems like an easy choice for many. Still, the lack of stability is an issue for some, and there is often a stigma that freelancers just don’t make as much money as folks with a steady job.

But how much of this concern is rooted in reality? And do freelancers make enough programming or designing to pay the bills?

Let’s look at just how much most freelancers are actually making.

  1. 31% of freelance workers are earning more than $75,000 a year.
    Freelance Statistics - 31% of freelance workers are earning more than $75,000 a year
  2. Men generally make more money freelancing than women (in some cases, up to 4 times more).
  3. The United States has the top rising freelance economy at 78% of year-on-year revenue growth.
  4. On the freelance platform Upwork, average content writers earn anywhere from $10 to $80 per hour, with most making around $25/hour.
  5. Some copywriters can earn up to $250 an hour, though this is pretty rare.
  6. 65% of freelancers make more money than at their previous job.
  7. The median annual salary for a freelance web designer is $77,200.
  8. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialists are another well-paid freelancer category, with an average salary of $59,871.
  9. Freelancing Americans have contributed $1.2 trillion to the economy during the pandemic so far.
  10. Skilled services constitute 45% of the freelancing workforce, and these freelancers make an average of $28 per hour.

ALSO READ: Freelance Developer Rates

Popular freelance jobs

Though the freelancing industry has historically been predominantly occupied by artists and folks in the creative field, the number of jobs and the need for freelancers seems to grow in variety constantly.

As of 2021, these are the most popular freelance jobs on the market.

  1. Content writing is one of the most popular freelancer occupations.
  2. The majority of freelancers in the US work in the creative field.
    Freelance Statistics - The majority of freelancers in the US work in the creative field
  3. Most of the workers in the art and design industry are freelancers, at 75%.
  4. The field of entertainment also has 55% of its workers in the United States as freelancers.
  5. Construction is another field that has a majority pool of its workforce in the freelance category, at 55%
  6. Web design is one of the top 15 in-demand skills for Upwork freelancers
  7. SEO consulting is a great option for freelancers who are looking for longevity as it can lead to creating your own SEO agency and more.
  8. The highest-paying freelance careers are SEO consulting, ad management, direct response copywriting, software development, and sales and lead generation.

Freelance market share

Though there are many different ways for freelancers to get gigs, there are three major sites that allow freelancers and clients to connect for various projects.

The three biggest sites right now are Upwork, Freelancer.com, and Fiverr. Each has its own unique advantages, so it’s not a bad idea to check out all of them if you’re looking to get into freelancing.

Here’s what each of the largest freelancing platforms has to boast.

Upwork

  1. Upwork has more than 17 million registered users.
  2. Most workers are experts or certified in their fields, and therefore, charge their own hourly or project rates based on their own decision, not as a fixed-rate like Fiverr.
  3. In the past 2 quarters, Upwork has made $124.4 million and $2237.8 million
  4. In 2021, Upwork expects to report revenue of $490-$494 million.
    Freelance Statistics - In 2021, Upwork expects to report revenue of $490-$494 million
  5. Upwork currently caters to 30% of Fortune 100 companies.

Freelancer.com

  1. Freelancer.com has over 31 million users, making it the largest platform.
  2. There are over 1,800 different categories of jobs on Freelancer.com
  3. Freelancer.com reported a 39% rise in gross payment volume to $192.9 million in Q1 2021.
  4. Freelancer.com has established itself as an outsources market for experts

Fiverr

  1. Q3’21 revenue grew 42% y/y
  2. Fiverr has more than 7 million registered users.
    Freelance Statistics - Fiverr has more than 7 million registered users
  3. Anyone can become a seller on Fiverr and every job is 5 dollars.
  4. A contract is won every four seconds on Fiverr.
  5. Front-end developers earn $15–$150 per hour on Fiverr

Future of freelancing

Is there a future for freelancing? The numbers say yes.

Freelancing seems to be a huge industry with nowhere to go but up. Take a look at just what exactly the future looks like for freelancing.

  1. The global gig economy is projected to reach $455 billion by 2023.
    Freelance Statistics - The global gig economy is projected to reach $455 billion by 2023
  2. By the year 2027, freelancers are projected to make up the majority of the workforce in the United States, with 50.9% of the working population.
  3. 59% of non-freelancers say it is likely that they will do freelance work in the future.
  4. The vast majority of freelance workers (91%) believe that the future of freelance work is positive.
  5. Compared to 57.3 million United States freelancers in 2017, the number is set to rise above 90 million by 2028.

Leveraging freelance statistics

Now that you know how bright the future looks for the freelancing industry, how can you use these statistics to your advantage? The best way to make use of these freelancing trends is to start now.

As the freelancing industry continues to grow, it’s a good idea for freelancers to begin forming relationships with clients as soon as possible.

For businesses, this is a great opportunity to grow a network of freelancers to outsource certain tasks that can help your business run more efficiently.

As the freelancing industry continues to grow, it’s a good idea for freelancers to begin forming relationships with clients as soon as possible. As a freelancer, the more relevant your skills are, the more leverage you have to negotiate contracts and become a more successful freelancer.

ALSO READ: Freelance vs. Contract vs. Self Employed: What's the Difference?

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