Heading to an office for your 9-to-5 is becoming a thing of the past, as freelance work is increasingly becoming more desirable. It’s no wonder that business professionals are trading in their corporate jobs for this new trend — freelancing comes with many benefits like working from wherever you please, freedom of clients, control of workload, and flexibility in your schedule.
COVID-19 has only expedited its popularity. In fact, freelance job postings rose by 41% during the second quarter of 2020 partially due to the current pandemic. Read on or skip to our infographic as we reveal the top freelance statistics and trends to know in 2021, to help you decide if starting your own career as a freelancer is right for you.
Growth Among the Freelance Community
1. The amount of full-time freelancers grew from 17% to 28% from 2014 to 2019. 1
2. Freelancers represent about 36% of the global workforce in 2020.2
3. Freelance and consultant insurance were the second most common policies sold in 2020.3
4. 91% of freelancers say the best days are ahead for freelancing.1
5. In the U.S. there was an increase of 2 million freelancers from 2019 to 2020 — which is an 8% increase.2
6. Freelance job postings rose by 41% during the second quarter of 2020 partially due to the current pandemic.2
7. The amount of freelance and consultant policies purchased from 2019 to 2020 increased by 26%.3
8. Freelance policies dropped by 44% from February 2020 to March 2020, and by 68% from March 2020 to April 2020 (121 policies), during the height of the pandemic. However, the freelance community quickly recovered from March 2020 to October 2020, as total freelance and consultant insurance policies purchased per month approximately doubled.3
Demographics of Freelancers
The graph represents a survey done by Statistia, sharing the distribution of freelancers in the United States in 2019, by generation. 53 percent of Generation Z respondents reported participating in freelance work.
9. Amid a tough job market for recent college graduates, over half of the Gen Z workforce (age 18-22) have freelanced in the past year. 4
10. 44% of millennials have freelanced in the past year. 4
11. 36% of Gen Zers who have freelanced, started since the onset of COVID-19. 2
12. 59 million Americans performed freelance work in the past 12 months. 2
13. 30% of Gen X are freelancers (age 39-54). 4
14. 26% of Boomers currently freelance or have freelanced in the past (age 55+). 4
15. Approximately 60% of freelancers are men and 40% are women. 5
16. Freelancers doing skilled services earn a median rate of $28 an hour, earning more per hour than 70% of workers in the overall U.S. economy. 6
17. 31% of freelancers make $75,000 or more. 7
18. The national average of a freelance copywriter is $81,748.8
19. A freelance worker spends an average of 43 hours per week working.
20. 23% of freelancers have lowered their hourly rate due to COVID-19. 10
21. 58% of freelancers have had more than five clients in the past 6 months. 2
The Most Popular Freelance Jobs and Skills
22. Freelancers made up almost 75% of the total arts and design workforce in 2019. 10
23. In 2020, 50% of all freelancer policies sold were to photographers. 3
24. 61% of freelancers sell 2-3 different skill sets or work functions. 13
25. 33% of freelancers describe their work as creative. 13
26. 45% of freelancers provide a skilled service. 1
Where to Find Work As a Freelancer
27. 32% of freelancers say that their demand has increased due to COVID-19. 11
28. Upwork has over 17 million users. 12
29. The US ranks first on the top 10 list of global freelance markets. 13
30. 70% of freelancers are dedicated to two or four projects at a given time. 13
31. 86% of freelancers work from the comfort of their homes. 13
32. Freelancer.com has over 30 million users. 11
33. Over 50 million transactions have taken place on the Fiverr site. 14
The Future is Freelance
34. 68% of freelancers admitted their quality of life has improved since going independent. 15
35. 53% of freelancers believe demand will increase from what it was, once the pandemic is under control. 10
36. Due to the effects of COVID-19, 12% of the US workforce began freelancing during the onset of the pandemic. 15
37. 65% of skilled freelancers say their hours have either stayed the same or increased since the pandemic hit. 16
38. 68% of remote workers are interested in taking on freelance work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 17
Freelancing is a great option for professionals who are looking for the autonomy that comes with working for yourself, and flexibility of clients and scheduling — not to mention it’s ideal for the remote climate that we are currently living in due to COVID-19. If freelancing is the next career step for you, step two is protecting your business with a Thimble Freelancer Insurance policy, which can give you peace of mind as you propel your business to new heights.
(1) Upwork. Sixth annual “Freelancing in America” study finds that more people than ever see freelancing as a long-term career path.
(2) Upwork. New Upwork Study Finds 36% of the U.S. Workforce Freelance Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.
(3) Thimble. Proprietary data on freelance and consultant policy holders (2020).
(4) Statista. Freelance participation in the United States as of 2019, by generation.
(5) Statista. Share of freelance workers in the United States in 2019, by gender.
(6) CNBC. Skilled freelancers, earning more per hour than 70% of workers in US, don’t want traditional jobs.
(7) Forbes. Freelance Economy Continues to Roar.
(8) Glassdoor. Freelance Copywriter Salaries.
(9) FreelanceMap. Freelancers also work long hours – 40+ hour working week.
(10) Forbes. Full Time Freelancing Lures More Americans
(11) Payoneer. The state of freelancing during COVID-19.
(12) CompareCamp. UPWORK VS FREELANCER.COM COMPARISON 2020.
(13) Payoneer. These 10 Countries are the Clear-Cut Capitals of Freelancing.
(14) Fiverr. Fiverr Announces Third Quarter 2019 Results.
(15) AND.CO. The Slash Workers.
(16) Upwork. Freelance Forward 2020.
(17) Fiverr. 8% of Remote Workers are Interested in Taking on Freelance Work Amid COVID-19 Pandemic.