You may find some of these statistics surprising, but you should get a lot out of this information if you’re a freelancer or thinking about switching to freelancing.
Even if you’re not a freelancer or thinking about becoming one, these statistics will be interesting.
For instance, if you have a business and need someone to author articles or blog posts, you can hire a qualified freelancer.
Maybe you want to write an e-book, but you don’t have time to write it. Hire a copywriter who offers freelance e-book writing.
Writing is only one of the types of freelancers.
Digital marketers, photographers, video creators and editors, graphic designers, virtual assistants, transcriptionists, and other freelancing categories exist.
If you need someone with a special skillset, there’s likely a freelancer with the expertise you need.
If you’re new to freelancing or you have been working in your skillset for many years, there’s a business or person out there who needs your expertise.
You can also find out what freelance skills are trending and get trained and certified to qualify for new skillsets.
What’s a freelancer?
Freelancers are independent contractors who have certain skillsets that allow them to work flexible schedules.
They earn income by performing short-term projects, long-term projects, or per-job or task work.
Freelancers also get to work from home, in less traditional workspaces, and enjoy a positive work-life balance.
The next few paragraphs will uncover statistics for 2023 that will provide data about how many there are in the United States and across the world, how much the average income is for freelancers, and what kinds of freelancers you can find to hire.
There will be more about freelancers, but let’s get into this article to find out more.
Key Freelancer Statistics 2023
- As of 2020, 46% of Millennials who joined the freelance, or “gig economy did so as a long-term career solution during the pandemic.
- 52% of global freelancers lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
- The United States has the largest percentage of freelancers.
- United Kingdom and European freelancers are in the 35 and over demographic.
- The highest growth in freelancing revenue is in the Philippines.
- According to the most recent and available data, there are 3.5 billion global freelancers.
- Most global freelancers have postgraduate degrees.
- In 2023, there are 73.3 million freelancers in the United States.
- More women freelance in the United States than men.
- The American national average freelancer’s hourly wage is $33.
Global Pandemic Impact for Freelancers
We’re going to start with how the pandemic affected freelancers and the freelancing industry.
Let’s find out if this category of self-employment grew or fell.
1. Since the Pandemic, More United States Freelancers Are Coming from The Younger Demographic.
For instance, the latest freelancers statistics show that Gen-Z makes up 50% of the freelance workforce.
People born between 1997 and 2012 are considered part of the Gen-Z generation, who are now between 11 and 26 years old.
Gen-Z freelancers range from 18 to 22 years old.
Millennials come in second at 44%, which includes individuals aged 27 to 42 years old who were born between 1981-1996.
Gen X accounts for 30% of freelancers in the United States, which include people aged 43 to 58 who were born between 1965 and 1980.
Baby Boomers are bringing up the rear in freelancing, accounting for 26% of the freelancers in the United States.
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 who are now between 59 and 77 years old.
(Mental Floss, Statista 1)
2. As of 2020, 46% of Millennials Who Joined the Freelance, or “gig Economy Did so As a Long-Term Career Solution During the Pandemic.
We all know that jobs and hours lost during the pandemic came in record numbers.
What did people in the United States do?
According to data, in 2020 54% of Millennials decided to work as freelancers, and 46% did so as a long-term career choice.
In contrast, 47% of Gen-X workers used freelancing as a temporary method of making money, but 53% decided to make it a long-term career option.
Likewise, 54% of Baby Boomers used freelancing as a temporary option for making money, while 46% made it a long-term career solution.
Let’s notice that Baby Boomers and Millennials have the same percentages.
Finally, 64% of Gen-Z individuals chose freelancing as a temporary option, while 36% chose it as a long-term career.
Today, 50% of all freelancers in the United States are from Gen-Z.
The freelancers market has fluctuated since the pandemic with dips and rises, but overall, it’s a strong “gig” economy income option for all ages.
3. In 2020, Freelancing Became Very Popular as A Work from Home Option for 82% of Freelancers in The United States.
According to Upwork, 59 million people from the United States worked as freelancers over 12 months between 2020 and 2021.
That accounts for 36% of the whole United States workforce.
Also, the long-term permanent freelancers achieved a whole new level with 35% of freelancers in 2021. In 2020, that figure was 33.8%.
It’s also worthy to note that people with higher education have taken many of the most skilled freelance jobs, while the number of high school level freelancers is decreasing.
(Forbes, Statista 2)
4. 52% of Global Freelancers Lost Their Jobs Because of The Pandemic.
We have been dealing with United States statistics, but the pandemic impacted the entire world.
In fact, 52% of freelancers all over the world lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Since then, the freelancing community has grown with more gig workers in the world than ever before.
However, some freelancers are still not working, and some segments of the freelance industry are struggling to get jobs.
5. According to Recent Data, the Demand for Freelance Work Has Grown Since the Pandemic.
Worldwide, 400 million jobs were lost in 2020 because of COVID-19.
That year saw record layoffs, cut hours, and other fallout due to the pandemic. Initially, the “gig” or freelance economy was boosted.
One reason for that during the pandemic was because employers were seeking to hire fewer people as employees and employees working on-site.
That trend has continued since they realized that they can save a lot of money by using freelancers.
It also means they can pay freelancers better in some cases.
Freelancing depends on your skillset, so if you have the skills a company needs, they are willing to pay decent to high wages for the right freelancer.
This trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon.
Worldwide Freelancer Statistics
In this section, we will cover statistics across the globe.
6. The United States Has the Largest Percentage of Freelancers.
There seems to be a top 10 list of just about everything these days, including freelancing.
Let’s look at this top 10 list for freelancers across the world.
- United States: 78%
- United Kingdom: 59%
- Brazil: 48%
- Pakistan: 47%
- Ukraine: 36%
- Philippines: 35%
- India: 29%
- Bangladesh: 27%
- Russia: 20%
- Serbia: 19%
This data is part of the Payoneer Global Gig-Economy Index report for the second quarter of 2019.
Even with a slight dip in 2020 and 2021, these percentages are still intact.
Also, more businesses are engaging with freelancers over hiring more employees from 2021.
We can expect these figures to rise.
7. United Kingdom and European Freelancers Are in The 35 and Over Demographic.
In contrast to the data in the United States and freelancers being from the Gen Z crowd, the 35 years old and older demographic account for the most freelancers in the United Kingdom and across Europe.
In the United Kingdom alone, the 35-64 age demographic make up the most of freelancers in the region. Here is the breakdown for this data.
- 18-24: 3.1%
- 25-34: 8.5%
- 35-49: 13.4%
- 50-64: 13.7%
- 65 and over: 4%
Additionally, the average age of a United Kingdom freelancer is 48 years old.
Remember, that age is 35 in the United States.
(Freelance UK, Freelance Informer)
8. The Highest Growth in Freelancing Revenue Is in The Philippines.
Revenue growth is a metric used to learn if something is earning its keep or not.
The highest growth in freelancing revenue occurs in the Philippines, according to Finances Online data.
Revenue growth in the Philippines has risen to 208%.
India is following behind at 160%, while Japan is third in line at 87%. The revenue growth all around the world shows that freelancing provides good revenue value.
It’s not just healthier and better for work and life balance, it’s also earning its keep.
(Finances Online 2)
9. According to The Most Recent and Available Data, There Are 3.5 Billion Global Freelancers.
As of 2021, the global freelancing workforce consists of 3.5 billion workers, which amounts to nearly 47% of the world’s working population.
We imagine that it won’t be long until that percentage is 50% or more within a few years.
These global freelancers contribute roughly $12.16 to $42.9 trillion (USD) to the global economy each year.
At an average of $39,000 in yearly earnings among just 1.1 billion l freelancers, the annual global economy contribution is at the high end of these numbers.
(Finances Online 2)
10. Most Global Freelancers Have Postgraduate Degrees.
The Payoneer 2020 Freelancer Income Report shows that most global freelancers have bachelor’s degrees, at 57%.
The gender breakdown in global freelancers with bachelor’s degrees shows that 55% of females and 57% of males are at this level of education.
The second-most educational level include those with postgraduate degrees, which accounts for 24% (22% male and 31% female).
Finally, 19% of global freelancers have at least a high school education (21% male and 14% female).
(2020 Payoneer Freelancer Income Report)
Freelancers in the United States
This section will discuss several freelancing statistics solely related to the United States, where the largest concentration of freelancers live and work.
11. In 2023, There Are 73.3 Million Freelancers in The United States.
We are not even halfway into the first quarter of 2023, but we know that there are 73.3 million freelancers right now in the United States.
It’s highly likely that the figure will be higher over the next several years.
For instance, it’s predicted that by 2024, there will be 76.4 million freelancers in the United States.
The number for 2027 is expected to amount to 86.5 million freelancers, and by 2028, the forecast for how many United States freelancers is that there will be 90.1 million.
Overall, this means that the United States will have more than half of the world’s freelancers (50.9%).
12. Freelancers Account for 35% of The Workforce in The United States.
The total workforce in the United States is recorded at 163 million workers.
Freelancers make up 35% of the 163 million workers, which amounts to about one out of every three workers.
Also, this means that there are 57 million freelancers in the United States, which is still in growth.
According to data, these American freelancers contribute almost $1 trillion U.S. dollars to the nation’s economy.
To put this into perspective, that’s 5% of the GDP.
American freelancers prefer to work for themselves despite the challenges related to retirement planning, fair pay, affordable healthcare, savings, and other perks normally associated with traditional employment.
That said, there are many companies and platforms where freelancers work that offer information about affordable health insurance and savings to help them overcome those challenges.
13. More Women Freelance in The United States than Men.
While the gender equality issue is under scrutiny in the traditional workplace, the freelancing sector has more women than men working.
For your reference, 67.8% of the American workforce is male. The other 32.2% is female.
In the freelancer realm, women account for 52.3% of workers, while men account for 47.7%, according to Statista.
It’s more equally distributed in the freelance community than in conventional workplaces.
14. Over Half of American Freelancers Have a College Degree.
Whether you live in America or any country, there tend to be more freelancers with college and university degrees than high school graduates.
Some of the skills required for freelancing also require higher education.
Even many companies seeking copywriters want to know they are hiring people with at least a bachelor’s degree.
There is quite a gap between freelancers with college degrees and those without.
Only 31% of all American freelancers have a high school or lower education.
Compare this with the 51% of freelancers who have a postgraduate degree (master’s or higher).
Those with some college or associate degrees account for 35%, as do those with bachelor’s degrees.
This education demographic comes in second to freelancers with postgraduate degrees.
However, there are several certifications and training options to build and grow skills for anyone in the freelancing market.
15. Sales and Business Development Skills Show the Best Growth and Earnings on Upwork.
The skills on the Upwork platform that show the most promise for higher earnings include:
- 54% Sales and Business Development
- 47% Data Entry
- 45% Accounting
- 44% 3D Animation
Each of these skillsets offered a minimum of 500 projects on Upwork from January 2022 to October 2022.
16. LinkedIn Reveals that Website Design Is the Most Popular Skill in The Digital Economy.
Freelancers are working in the digital economy. LinkedIn revealed in 2022, this list of skills that are in high demand in the United States (and across the world).
Website design came in first, which is no major surprise.
- Website Design is showing a lot of promise for significant growth in the coming years.
- Copywriting include writing and editing several types of content across multiple types of projects.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is still an in-demand skill since this is how people get on the first page of search results organically.
- Graphic Design skills are wanted for website graphics, flyers, postcards, etc.
- Social Media Marketing is another skill that businesses want from freelancers.
- Website Development skills help clients to have the needed backend and frontend technologies to run their sites.
- e-Commerce has a wide scope including copywriting, web development, SEO, etc.
- Data Analytics helps businesses to get to the root of their data that helps them improve across metrics.
- Video Production includes skills like recording and editing video content. Today’s audience is more visual than ever, and video content is huge.
- Accounting/Bookkeeping skills help businesses to focus on their day-to-day tasks without worrying about accounting or bookkeeping tasks.
- Information Technology (IT) is a widely in-demand group of skills from help desk to network administration.
- Application Development app developers create apps and games for iOS, Android, etc.
- AI (Artificial Intelligence) skills include database jobs, math, programming, and problem-solving.
- Blockchain deals with NFTs and cryptocurrency. These skills can help a freelancer make over $30 to $50 an hour.
- Microsoft Excel skills are widely used for spreadsheets, visual presentations, etc. Since this program has been around for about 40 years, there is no lack of freelance work if you have the skills.
These skills are in-demand across platforms, in local areas, and all over the world.
17. The American National Average Freelancer’s Hourly Wage Is $33.
American freelancers make an average of $33 per hour.
The low end is $7.45 to $13.70 per hour (7%), and the high end is $69.95 to $76.20 (1%) per hour.
The weekly national average is $1,325 per week, which makes up only 13% of all freelancers making this weekly income.
Most freelancers make between $798 and $1,048 (24%).
These numbers relate to the national monthly average of $5,741 at $33 per hour.
Most American freelancers are in the 24% who make between $3,458 to $4,542 per month.
All this accounts for the national average of $68,903 per year.
18. State in The Northeast Show the Highest Earnings Among Self-Employed Workers.
In the United States, the Northeastern states pay self-employed the most.
States like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey earn the highest annual incomes over other states.
This information includes freelancers since this is a self-employment sector.
Also, how much a freelancer makes depends on their skills and level of skills.
19. In 2021, 68% of Freelancers Working Full-Time Said They Feel They Have More Job Security by Working Independently.
Let’s face it, we humans want to feel independent, don’t we?
A 2021 Harvard Business Review survey of over 6,000 American workers, including 928 independent workers revealed that 68% of those surveyed chose “I feel more secure working independently”.
This shows you how important working people desire job security, which is something one doesn’t get from a traditional job.
While job security does include options like regular predictable income, insurance benefits, etc., when people weigh that against working independently, they feel more secure doing it all on their own.
(Harvard Business Review)
20. One-Third of Employees Making Over $150,000 Annually Surveyed Said They Work Independently
While most freelancers in America are considered low-income earners, 33$ of survey respondents making over $150,000 per year said they work independently. Who are these independent workers?
Independent workers in this instance include accountants, influencers, creatives, lawyers, actors, and traveling nurses.
To some extent, they do freelance, but mostly, they work independently with limited supervision.
(McKinsey & Company)
Now that we have some idea about who, what, and where about freelancers, let’s take a peek into the potential future of freelancing.
21. Predictions for 2023 Reveal that The Global “gig” Economy Is Set to Grow to $455 Billion.
The calculations for this prediction of the gig, or freelance economy growing to $455 billion comes from the 2018 to 2023 data that shows a 17.4% CAGR (compound annual growth rate).
The number of freelancers in the Western Hemisphere is already growing and is expected to see growth of up to 86 to 90.1million by 2027.
This makes sense with 44% of American freelancers already considering their work to be their primary income source.
Also, gig workers (freelancers) are overall happier and more satisfied with their productivity, work and life balance, lower anxiety, and depression levels, and feeling less anxious about money.
22. Employers Will Be More Willing to See the Benefits of Hiring Freelancers.
Technically, employers are already seeing the benefits and recognizing the freelance talent they have been missing.
A MassChallenge survey in 2022 revealed that 73% of tech companies are now made up of “blended” teams that include full-time employees and freelancers.
In this same survey, 45% of tech executives and founders claim that hiring plans have risen over the past six months (from the survey date in 2022).
Likewise, 59% of tech executives and founders at the IPO and Series B stage claim the same thing.
A whopping 73% of tech companies are now integrating teams of full-time employees and freelancers.
Another 71% feel that bringing on new freelancers gives them more agility, especially during economic crises.
23. The Acceptance of Hiring Freelance Talent Will Open Doors for Diversification Across Niches.
It’s expected to see more freelancers working the healthcare, events, and language learning in the coming years.
As the healthcare industry grows in the telehealth and healthcare apps sectors, the demand for skilled freelancers will increase.
In fact, the derma cosmetics sector is soon to achieve $25.7 billion by 2032.
Mental health counselors will likely have more open opportunities to help others as freelancers.
This market is set to continue its CAGR of 14.27%.
Let’s not forget that the events industry is experiencing a great comeback after a temporary setback.
In Europe, it’s expected to generate $123.9 billion by 2030. That’s just in the European market.
(GlobalNewsWire, Verified Market Research, Allied Market Research)
24. We Will See Growth Among Freelance Marketplaces.
It should go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway.
As the freelance employment sector grows, so will the platforms that host freelance jobs.
For instance, Upwork, MarketHire, and BigCloud, just to name three.
If you’re a freelancer, you already know about Guru, PeoplePerHour, Freelancer, etc.
The truth is that when they manage to keep up with the growth, they will grow.
Imagine the opportunities that are about to open across these platforms.
25. Freelancing Has a Positive and Bright Future.
Overall, we can expect to see more optimism and opportunities in the freelance realm.
One of the areas of focus will be in IT skills, so if you need to hone those skills or get new ones, now is a great time for that.
Is Freelancing for Everyone?
Yes and no. Yes, it is for anyone interested in working remotely or as a freelancer.
Everyone is accepted in the freelance community. No, if you aren’t skilled or willing to learn skills that will boost your opportunities.
Also, not everyone wants to take the risk and deal with the uncertainty that freelancing can bring.
If you can build good relationships, deliver quality work, and gain a good reputation, you can be a freelancer.
What Are the Characteristics of Good Freelancers?
There are several aspects of being or becoming a good freelancer.
We have a list of ten qualities of good freelancers for your consideration.
• Time Management Skills
If you can check off most or all of these, you have potential. If you’re willing to learn and grow, you have potential. It’s ultimately up to you.
Why Are Businesses Accepting Freelance Talent More?
One of the biggest issues that organizations have today is the lack of reliable and qualified talent.
When they think outside the box and accept the talent living in the freelance world, they can find better and more skilled talent.
What Are the Most Needed Freelancer Skills?
Freelancer skills are more than a set group of skills. It’s about the niches and industries where freelancers have skills.
For instance, the most needed tech skills include full-stack development, front-end and back-end development, mobile app development, web design, etc.
If you’re in marketing already or want to break into this field, you will need specific skills like SEO, social media marketing, digital marketing, lead generation, or other skills.
Customer service and administrative support is making a splash on platforms like Upwork.
Skills you need for these jobs include phone, email, and chat support, data entry, tech support, transcription, etc.
Accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation, consulting, management, human resources, graphic design, video editing, image editing, 3D animation, copywriting, copy editing, and other such skills are all in demand these days.
Your skillset can include multiple skills within a niche, or a specialized skill within a niche.
Being successful in the freelance community is about what you know and how well you know it.
It’s obvious that freelancing has already become an essential part of the global workforce.
Due to increasing amounts of work that can be done remotely, freelancing can play a key role in getting this work done.
Freelancing provides open opportunities all over the globe across all industries.
Freelancers are known to be problem–solvers, especially in the IT realm.
Also, the freelance lifestyle has many benefits for those who choose to work in this sector.
As for the future of freelancers, it looks like the acceptance of hiring freelancers is becoming more of a preference for hiring freelancers.
Since organizations are finding out that they can save money by hiring freelancers, that’s just one more benefit for them to consider it.
If you’re considering working as a freelancer, there are many opportunities open to you. It’s okay to jump in when you’re ready.
If you have the skills and the qualities needed to be successful as a freelancer, we encourage you to go for it.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you learned something new from these freelancer statistics for 2023.