You’ve undoubtedly heard all about the rise of the gig economy. You might even have come across some curious freelancer statistics.
It’s a world in which everyday folk like you and I are in control of our own working schedule, environment, and earning potential.
Sounds great, right?
But with such attractive promises come questions. And a LOT of questions at that.
What percentage of the workforce is freelance? How many freelancers are there in the world? How many millennials are freelancers? What is a skilled freelancers hourly rate? And on the other hand, what should be the hourly rate as a beginner freelancer?
Find the answers to all of these questions and more by diving straight into the incredible stats we’ve laid out for you.
Fascinating Freelancer Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Freelancers contribute just under $1 trillion to the economy.
- 41% of freelancers are highly educated and continue furthering their education.
- 1 in 5 freelancers have health issues that prevent them from working traditional jobs.
- Around the world 4% of freelancers earn between $51 to $100 hourly.
- No amount of money would make 51% of freelancers return to traditional jobs.
- US-based freelancers spend upwards of 1 billion hours freelancing per week.
- There are currently 57 million freelancers in the US.
- More than half of all full-time freelancers are more financially secure than traditional workers.
General Freelancer Statistics Everyone Needs to Know
Before we get into the nitty gritty of freelancer stats, it’s important to know some core facts relating to the freelance industry as a whole.
1. Freelancers contribute almost 5% of GDP.
Yep, you read that correctly. Freelancer stats show that this section of the workforce contributes close to 5% of GDP. To put that number into context for you, that’s just a little under $1 trillion.
2. Freelancers are the first choice for 43% of small businesses.
Mainly due to budget constraints, just under half of all small businesses will hire a freelancer as opposed to an agency. Considering that there are 30.2 billion small businesses in the US alone, you can imagine just how high in demand freelancers are.
3. 38% of independent workers identify as freelancers.
These days, we’re all about assigning the relevant names to people. Call them what you want, but most independent workers statistics show that most label themselves as freelancers. This self-dubbed title aside, freelancers also refer to themselves as self-employed, moonlighters, gig workers, giggers, and side-hustlers.
4. US-based freelancers spend upwards of 1 billion hours freelancing per week
Being a freelancer is not all sunshine and roses. To reap the rewards, you need to put in the time. Back in 2015, freelancers spent 998 million hours working in a week. Fast forward to today, and the average weekly hours worked have increased to more than 1 billion hours.
Freelance Workforce Statistics
So who are the people who make up the admittedly impressive freelance landscape? Let’s take a look under the freelancer’s hood.
5. Gen Zers freelance more than anyone, with 53% of them boasting the title “freelancer."
According to the working population of USA 2019 figures, the freelance world is a popular choice for people of all kinds of ages. 53% of people aged 18 to 22 freelance, 40% of those aged 23 to 38 do so as well, and 31% of people aged 39 to 54 have hopped aboard the freelance train. Even 29% of people over the age of 55 see the appeal of freelance jobs.
6. 1 in 5 of all freelancers have health issues that prevent them from working in traditional jobs.
When asked why they aren’t able to work a traditional job, freelancers tend to provide different answers. For 40% of people, family responsibilities limit their employment opportunities, 17% of people don’t give a reason, and 43% state that health issues prevent them from working traditional jobs.
7. 45% of freelancers are classed as skilled workers.
While many freelancing jobs for beginners are available, the freelance workforce is largely dominated by skilled workers. In fact, 45% of freelancers are workers skilled in writing, computer programming, and IT.
However, IT work requires being glued to a computer all day, hence why it's important to use computer glasses.
41% of freelancers are highly educated, which means they know this all too well.
8. Almost half of all Millennials are freelancers.
Just how many Millennials are freelancers?
A whopping 47% of millennials are freelancers, and even more are expected to join the freelancer economy before the year is up. By 2027 freelance jobs are expected to outnumber other jobs.
Freelance Economy Statistics
Now that we’ve covered a bunch of independent workers statistics that we should all know, let’s talk numbers. Just how viable is a career in the freelance economy? We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves to answer this one.
9. Freelancers growth is astounding. In 2019, American freelancers saw a 78% growth.
But it’s not just American growth that is notable. The UK saw a growth of 59%, Brazillian freelancers earned 48% more, and Asia as a whole earned 138% more than in the previous financial year.
10. On a global level, 4% of freelancers earn between $51 to $100 per hour.
Around the world, 4% of freelancers earn between $51 to $100 hourly. On the opposite end of the global freelancer earning spectrum, 16% of freelancers earn $5 an hour or less. Balancing it all out is that 13% of freelancers make between $16 and $20 per hour
11. The median skilled freelancers hourly rate is $28.
That’s more than what approximately 70% of the US workforce earn per hour. A handful (31%) of freelancers make more than $75,000 every year.
It doesn’t start out that way by any means. As is the case in many lines of work, freelancing often means starting from the bottom and working your way up..
12. 30% of freelance writers earned less than $10 per hour in their first year of freelancing.
Perhaps you’re wondering:
“What should be the hourly rate as a beginner freelancer?”
Here’s the thing:
During the first year of freelancing, some writers earned less than $10 per hour. After that, writers can typically increase their hourly rate by more than double. Great news!
Freelance Job Security Statistics
We don’t know about you but reading those freelance economy statistics has tempted us to do away with our 9 to 5 and join the freelance workforce for good. But would this be a wise decision?
13. Over 50% of full-time freelancers are more financially secure than traditional workers.
Are you surprised to hear that more than half of all full-time freelancers are more financially secure than those who work in traditional jobs? And that’s just last year’s results! Freelancer trends in 2022 are likely to yield similar, if not better results.
14. ...And 70% of freelancers work on 2 to 4 projects at a time to keep it that way.
Over two-thirds of freelancers work on 2 to 4 projects at a time to ensure their financial success and subsequent job security, while 13% work on 5 to 9 projects at a time. A mere 13% work on one project at a time, while 4% juggle 10 projects or more at any given time.
15. 77% of full-time freelancers have a good work-life balance.
Freelance work life balance statistics show that this is one area in which the freelance economy prevails. An impressive three-quarters of full-time freelancers have stated that their work-life balance has greatly improved since joining the freelance world.
16. 26% of Millenials feel the freelance economy offers more job security than traditional work.
On the one hand, freelancing isn’t the most stable of careers. On the other hand, you can’t fire yourself. Because of this, slightly more than one-quarter of Millennials feel that freelancing is more secure than slaving away at a traditional 9 to 5.
Which brings us to...
Freelancer vs Traditional Job Statistics
It’s now time to see what all the fuss is about. Why are so many people leaving their traditional jobs in favor of freelance jobs? How do the two different work spheres compare?
You’ve got the questions, and we’ve got the answers.
17. 78% of freelancers are happier than non-freelancers.
68% say they’re healthier than their traditional counterparts. Is it really any surprise that being their own boss, deciding which jobs to accept or decline, and working their own hours from a location of their choice results in freelancers being happier and healthier?
18. 51% of all freelancers wouldn’t take a traditional job if you paid them to.
When asked if they would return to a traditional job, more than half of all freelancers stated that no amount of money would entice them to do so.
19. So, how do freelancers end up as freelancers? For 60%, it’s a simple choice.
More than half of all freelancers abandoned the traditional work sphere out of choice. Sadly, for 40% of freelancers, the choice was made for them thanks to the traditional workplace abandoning them.
20. More than half of all employers offer remote working to their employees.
But there’s a big “but.” It seems that even though they are directly pitted against one another, traditional workplaces are embracing certain elements of freelancing. Remote working statistics show that 51% of all employers offer remote options to their employees. But only 27% actually follow through and permit their employees to work from home or other locations away from the office.
The freelancer economy is without a doubt an exciting group to belong to. Working remotely, being in control of the type of work you do, and the abundance of freelance jobs available all indicate that being a freelancer is a viable career option for many people.
Did these freelancer statistics blow your mind and prompt you to type up your letter of resignation? Or did they simply confirm something you already know? Share your thoughts with us down below.