Freelancing is fast becoming one of the most popular methods of entering the workforce. It affords workers a chance to earn money on their own time, doing work that they love. But just how big is the freelance workplace? How do freelancers fair in life? And why are so many people deciding to ditch the 9 to 5 in favor of becoming their own boss?
Read on for 40 freelancer statistics that answer these questions and so much more.
How Big is the Freelance Workforce?
There is no doubt that freelancing is on the fast track to take over a larger share of the workforce that traditional employment. With benefits for both workers and employers, these freelancer statistics reveal just how big the gig economy is getting.
- Freelancers make up 34% of the U.S. workforce, adding more than 700 billion dollars to the economy.
- From 2013 to 2018, the freelancer workforce grew by 7% compared to only 2% growth for non-freelancers.
- It is predicted that by 2027, the American workforce will be comprised of almost 51% freelancers.
- 65% of freelancers report that freelancing is a more respected career choice today than it was in recent years.
- One-fifth of organizations that employ at least 1000 people rely on remote workers for 30% of their workforce.
- Half of businesses have increased the amount of freelance work they hire over the last 5 years.
- Many high profile companies rely on 100% remote workers: Zapier, Basecamp, Automattic, and Trello—to name a few.
- 80% of workers in the U.S. report that they would prefer to work remotely, an option that is readily available to freelancers.
Why Do People Choose to Become Freelancers?
More and more people are balking at the traditional 9 to 5 job (or worse) in favor of becoming independent contractors. Others are just using freelancing to supplement their full-time income. The following freelancer statistics paint a picture that explains just why so many people are turning to freelancing.
- 81% of people who decided to freelance full-time did it because they wanted to be their own boss.
- 76% of part-time freelancers report choosing freelancing in order to boost their income.
- 68% of freelancers report that they live happier lives than they did before freelancing.
- More than 80% of people working remotely report increased morale and decreased stress.
- More than half of freelancers say that you they wouldn’t seek a traditional job, regardless of how much they were paid.
- 84% of full-time freelancers report achieving their desired lifestyle compared to just 64% of traditional full-time workers.
- 77% report having more time to focus on the things in life that matter most to them.
- 76% find their work as a freelancer is more engaging than their previous employment.
- 64% report sleeping better and feeling healthier.
What Do Freelancers Do?
Of course, freelance workers touch just about every industry in every economy. But what does their work look like? How much do they work? And what sort of skills and training do they use?
- 70% of freelancers report managing 2 to 4 projects at once. Only 4% report juggling 10 or more projects at a time.
- Freelancers work very similar hours to traditional employees on average.
- 58% work in their freelancing business at least once a week, and 28% work in it daily.
- 61% of freelancers report using 2 – 3 different skills to complete projects, and 34% reported using more than 3.
- 45% report receiving more professional development than they did when they had traditional jobs.
Who is Freelancing?
Freelancing isn’t for everyone. While certainly people from all walks of life do find success in the industry, the following freelancer statistics do show that certain populations are choosing independent work over others.
- Millenials make up 47 percent of the freelancer workforce.
- 52% of freelancers are 29 or younger, and only 6% are older than 50.
- 60% of U.S. freelancers are men, compared to 40% women.
- More than half of freelancers hold a certificate or Bachelor’s degree, a quarter hold a Master’s or Ph.D, and one-fifth have no degree.
- 79% report that the degree they received in college helps them in their freelance career.
- 53% of freelancers identify as politically active (only 34% of traditional workers do).
Where and How Are Freelancers Working?
One of the beauties of freelance work is that it can often be completed remotely. Furthermore, the global market allows freelancers to find work just about anywhere.
- Two-thirds of freelancers were hired by clients online in 2018.
- 86% work from their home.
- 40% work from a coffee shop or similar space.
- A quarter of freelancers embrace the digital nomad lifestyle and work outside of their native city or country.
- 68% of freelancers have clients in North America, 51% in Europe, 21% in South America, 18% in Asia, 15% in Australia, 9% in the Middle East, and 7% in Africa.
- 73% of freelancers turn to online marketplaces like Legiit to find clients.
- 33% get clients from word-of-mouth.
Other Important Freelancer Statistics
And here are just a few final statistics that are pretty important to consider but don’t fit well with any of our other categories.
- 45% of freelancers felt more secure than they did in previous work environment.
- 44% report having been left unpaid by a client.
- 61% wish they had a stronger community and more opportunity to collaborate with other freelancers.
- 71% of freelancers see globalization as a chance to expand their business, compared to just 8% who feel threatened by increased competition.
- 36% of part-time freelancers have thought about leaving their day job in order to become a full-time freelancer.
As you can see, freelancing touches the entire world and impacts both freelancers and the businesses and individuals who hire them in profound ways. The gig economy is only going to grow. As more and more people flock to remote work for the flexibility and lifestyle benefits it brings, more and more industries will learn just important it is to have a platform like Legiit, where they can hire quality freelance talent within a secure payment gateway.