And just like that, the global workforce is all about freelancing. I mean, it’s a win-win situation for both parties.
An employer gets things done while skipping the usual hiring red tape.
In turn, a freelancer ditches the 9-to-5 work schedule while having the freedom to work anywhere.
With the growing popularity of the gig economy, how many freelancers are there in the United States and the world in 2023?
There is so much to know!
How Many Freelancers Are There in 2023?
According to recent studies, there are 1.5 billion freelancers globally, and 73.3 million freelancers in the United States alone.
The percentage of people working in the gig economy full-time skyrocketed to 36% in 2020 from 28% in 2019.
The pandemic accelerated the need to outsource talent for remote jobs.
The trend has continued until today, and the 2027 job outlook shows 50% of the entire US workforce will be taken over by freelancers during the year.
Why People are Freelancing?
Freelancing comes with a world of opportunities. There are a good number of reasons why people choose to freelance.
According to the leading gig platform Upwork, here are the common motives why people choose to be self-employed:
- Greater flexibility in the work schedule
- More employment opportunities
- Ability to work remotely and from anywhere, giving freelancers the opportunity to travel
- Increased productivity compared to doing the same job on-site
- Competitive payment. The average pay for global freelancers is $22 and can increase significantly depending on the line of work and industry. And 93% of full-time freelancers note they can make more money when they want to
Upwork’s In-demand Skills for 2023
Upwork is considered among the biggest freelancing platforms globally, generating $2 billion in annual revenue yearly.
According to the site’s latest report, in-demand skills with the highest year-over-year growth are sales and business development, data entry, accounting, and 3D animation.
Sales and business development recorded a 54% YoY growth in 2022, while data entry hit a 47% annual growth, accounting at a 45% hike, and 3D animation at a 44% improvement.
It’s good to know how many freelancers are there in 2023, but it’s more impressive to learn which skills are most sought-after in this competitive industry.
Top Technical Positions Sought by Employers on Upwork
- Full stack developer
- Front-end developer
- Back-end developer
- Mobile app developer
- Web designer
- E-commerce website developer
- UX/UI designer
- CMS developer
- Manual tester
- Script and automation expert
Top Marketing Positions Sought by Employers on Upwork
- Search engine optimization expert
- Social media marketer
- Digital marketer
- Lead generation expert
- Sales and business developer
- Search engine marketer
- Email marketer
- Marketing strategist
- Marketing automation expert
Top Customer Service and Administrative Positions Sought by Employers on Upwork
- Email, phone, and chat support
- General virtual assistant
- Data entry
- Digital project manager
- General researcher
- Tech support
- Dropshipping and order processing expert
- Community manager
- Market researcher
Top Design and Creative Positions Sought by Employers on Upwork
- Graphic designer
- Video editor
- 3D animator
- Presentation designer
- Image editor
- Cartoonist and comics designer
- Product and industrial designer
- 2D animator
- Video production expert
Top 10 Countries with the Highest YoY Freelancing Revenue Growth
Freelancing is on a rollercoaster that only goes up. And this is evident in the significant earnings growth generated in many countries year after year.
Here are the top 10 countries with the highest freelancing year-over-year revenue growth in 2019 according to Payoneer:
- United States – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 78% YoY during the period
- United Kingdom – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 59% YoY during the period
- Brazil – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 48% YoY during the period
- Pakistan – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 47% YoY during the period
- Ukraine – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 36% YoY during the period
- Philippines – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 35% YoY during the period
- India – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 29% YoY during the period
- Bangladesh – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 27% YoY during the period
- Russia – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 20% YoY during the period
- Serbia – the country’s freelancing revenue hiked 19% YoY during the period
Global Freelancer Demographics
Meanwhile, below is a look at the global freelancer demographics.
It indicates the percentage of the freelancing population per age group against the total number of freelancers worldwide.
- 18 to 24 years old – 16% of the entire freelancing population comes from this age group
- 25 to 34 years old – 48% of the entire freelancing population comes from this age group
- 35 to 44 years old – 23% of the entire freelancing population comes from this age group
- 45 to 54 years old – 9% of the entire freelancing population comes from this age group
- 55 years old and above – 5% of the entire freelancing population comes from this age group
What Employers Are Looking For?
Freelancing is a dream, but it is highly competitive. You have hundreds of people applying on the same job post at once.
With this, it is important to know what employers look for when hiring a freelancer.
First, your portfolio matters. Studies show that a well-constructed portfolio showing a worker’s past works, projects, and skills easily piques client trust.
Moreover, employers are willing to pay higher on freelancers with samples of past work and versatile in a variety of job functions.
Second, reviews matter. Like on restaurants and activities, you would want to try a well-rated freelancer.
In a sea of job applications, employers note they notice profiles with good reviews from their past clients.
Lastly, be a jack-of-all-trades.
Are you a content writer proficient in Yoast SEO?
A graphic designer who can also sideline as a video editor? Market yourself well.
Clients prefer freelancers who can perform a variety of functions for them.
Population of Freelancers Per Industry
It is worth noting that some industries have a more established freelancing population than others.
Here is a look at the percentage of freelancers per industry in the United States:
- Arts and design industry – 77% of employees in this industry are freelancers
- Marketing industry – 58% of employees in this industry are freelancers
- Tech industry – 53% of employees in this industry are freelancers
- Construction industry – 52% of employees in this industry are freelancers
- Wellness industry – 48% of employees in this industry are freelancers
- Transportation industry – 39% of employees in this industry are freelancers
- Finance and business industry – 37% of employees in this industry are freelancers
- Sales industry – 33% of employees in this industry are freelancers
- Education industry – 31% of employees in this industry are freelancers
- Healthcare industry – 28% of employees in this industry are freelancers
There are 1.5 billion freelancers in the world today.
The flexibility of work schedules, unconventional working environments, and better earning opportunities are the prime motivators for going into freelancing.
Today, more than half of the employee population in industries like arts and design, marketing, and tech are freelancers.
This shows the growing appeal of self-employment among many members of the population.