Freelancer Statistics

You don’t need me to tell you that the freelance industry is growing all of the time. From job market statistics to facts about earnings; I reveal all. 

written by

James Examply

last updated

June 19, 2020

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The appeal of flexible hours and the ability to work from home is too good to refuse for a lot of people. Plus, employers are becoming more open to the option of working with freelancers, enabling them to access services as and when they need them, as well as tapping into the very best talent. With that in mind, below, I’ve sourced some of the most interesting freelancer statistics that will help you to understand the industry.

Statistics on the Current Freelancer Job Market

  • 50% of organisations have increased their use of freelance workers in the last five years. (HR Magazine)

  • 20% of big organisations – i.e. those with over 1,000 employees – use 30% or more remote workers. (Buffer)

  • There are a lot of businesses that use remote staff only. This includes the following: Toggl, Groove, Buffer, Trello, Hubstaff, Zapier, InVision, Basecamp, and Ghost. (Freelancing Hacks)

  • 6% of freelancers say they’re waiting for a full-time opportunity. (And Co)

  • 94% have stated that going independent was a conscious choice and they are not waiting for a full-time position to present itself. (And Co)

  • 31 million people use Freelancer.com, making it the biggest freelance platform. (Website Planet)

  • 17 million people use Upwork. (Upwork)

  • 73% of freelancers use online marketplaces to find clients. (Medium)

  • 33% of freelancers use word-of-mouth and referrals to find clients. (The Mighty Marketer)

  • 71% of freelancers are women. (Due)

  • 52% of freelancers say they work consistently with the same clients. (Score)

The Freelance Workforce

  • 38% of independent workers identify as a “freelancer.” (Website Builder)

  • 28% of independent workers call themselves self-employed consultants. (Website Builder)

  • 14% label themselves side-hustlers. (Website Builder

  • 75% of workers in the United States in the art and design field are freelancers. (99firms)

  • 61% of freelancers have 2-3 skills that they sell through their services. (And Co)

  • Less than 5% only have one skill. So, if you really want to make freelancing work for you, it certainly helps to have more than one weapon in your armour. (And Co)

  • 35.5% of the freelance community is in Europe. (Inc)

  • 29.2% of the freelancing economy is in Latin America. (Inc)

  • 28% of the freelance community is in Asia. (Inc)

  • 48% of freelancers are aged between 25 and 34-years-old. (Website Planet)

  • 22% of freelancers are between 35 and 44-years-old. (Website Planet)

  • 21% of freelancers are between 18 and 24-years-old. (Website Planet)

  • 6% of freelancers are aged between 45 and 54-years-old. (Website Planet)

  • 3% of freelancers are between 55 and 64-years-old. (Website Planet)

  • 1% of freelancers are over the age of 65. FYI: These percentages have been rounded up, hence why they don’t add up to 100. (Website Planet)

  • 24% of freelancers have a bachelor’s degree. (Statista)

  • 16% of freelancers have a post-graduate degree. (Statista)

  • 40% of the workforce holding some form of a university degree when you combine the two. For traditional workers, this figure stands at 39%. (Statista)

  • 57 million Americans are part of the gig economy. This represents more than 36% of the US population. (Forbes)

  • 22% of freelancers said that they most want access to affordable healthcare. (Forbes)

  • 60% of freelancers worry about the irregularity of their income. (IPSE)

  • 46% of freelancers worry about late payments. (IPSE)

  • 56% of freelancers worry about not being financially prepared for retirement. (IPSE)

What Are Freelancers Earning?

  • 77% of freelancers do not feel more financially stable since going independent. (And Co

  • 34% said they earn around the same as they did in full-time employment. (And Co

  • 43% of freelancers have stated that they are worse off than they were in full-time employment. (And Co

  • 3 in 10 freelance writers make under $10 per hour in their first year. (Small Biz Trends)

  • Skilled freelancers earn more per hour than 70% of workers in the US. (CNBC)

  • 48% of freelancers in the United States have agreed on a fixed amount for the projects they are carrying out. (99firms) 

  • 29% of freelancers are paid per hour.  (99firms) 

  • 44% of freelancers have been stiffed by a client. (And Co)

  • 47% per cent stated that they think the reason for this is because businesses do not take freelancers seriously. (And Co)

  • 35% stated that they believe it is because of vague or poorly written contracts that did not offer them protection. (And Co)

  • 31% of freelancers make $75,000 or more per year. (Skill Scouter)

Everything That’s Good About the Freelance Market

  • 68% of freelancers have said that their quality of life has gotten better since they have gone independent. (Free Train)

  • 81% of freelancers have chosen this line of work to be their own boss. (IW Innov)

  • 84% of freelancers are living their lifestyle of choice. Only 54% of people in traditional jobs have said that they are living their preferred lifestyle. (Forbes)

  • 51% of freelancers have said they would not go back into traditional work for any amount of money. (CNBC)

  • 50% of full-time freelancers feel more financially secure. (MBO Partners)

  • 92% of freelancers cannot take a proper vacation. (CNBC)

What Does the Future Hold for Freelancing?

  • 66% of freelancers are retraining so that they can stay relevant in the market. This is a much higher number than the traditional workers that are thinking about retraining to stay relevant, which stands at just 53%. (99firms)

  • 33% have said they are taking classes to improve their computer skills. (99firms)

  • 29% are improving their networking skills. (99firms)

  • 27% are improving their business skills. (99firms)

  • 26% are focusing on enhancing their marketing skills. (99firms

  • 61% of freelancers have stated what they want for the future, and you may be surprised to hear that number one on the list is to have more chances to collaborate and a stronger community. (Legitt)

  • 80% of companies in the U.S. plan to switch to a flexible workforce. (Intuit)

  • 91% of freelancers think that the future is bright. (99firms)

  • 67% of freelancers who work on a full-time basis expect their income to increase over the next year. (99firms)

Frequently Asked...

A freelance job refers to a situation whereby an individual works for themselves, rather than working for a business. While freelancers do take on contract work for organizations and companies, they are ultimately self-employed.

There are many different skills that you can freelance. This includes customer service, accountancy, photography, web design, graphic design, writing, editing, blockchain, marketing, and more. If you can deliver the work remotely, you can do it on a freelance basis.

 Yes, freelancing can be a career. This is especially the case if you are passionate about the skills you wish to be paid for. Of course, making freelancing a career is not easy, though. You need to be persistent, work hard, and be dedicated. There are times of uncertainty and it can be hard to get up and running, but there are many people who make good money from working on a freelance basis.

There are a number of different ways that freelancers get paid. PayPal and electronic funds transfer are the two most common.

To start freelancing, you need to begin by choosing your niche. Make sure you are clear about what your service offers. You should also define what your perfect client looks like and put together a good portfolio. Focus on building credibility online and make the most of freelance sites in order to acquire jobs. 

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