The gig economy is more popular than ever. From rideshare drivers and delivery gigs to freelance writers and consultants, many people have one or more freelance jobs. If you work as a sole proprietor or independent contractor, the following freelancing statistics might just surprise you.
Freelance opportunities come in all varieties. Understanding the current trends can help you transition from full-time work into freelancing or find your next favorite job. Here are 12 of the most important freelancing statistics you should know.
1. 58% of the global gig economy comes from ridesharing
A whopping 58% of all gig economy revenue comes from ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Because the gig economy brings in hundreds of billions of dollars each year, this is a massive market share. Experts project that gig work will bring in $455 billion in 2023.
2. 70% of gig workers are doing it by choice
While the appeal of a 9-to-5 job may never truly disappear, independent contractors generally like freelancing. In fact, 70% of gig workers polled say they’re doing it by choice. Florida and California are the top two states for freelance work (22 and 20% of workers are in the gig economy, respectively), followed by Texas and Illinois. That’s a significant chunk of some of the nation’s biggest economies—and the number continues to rise.
3. 44% of the gross gig economy volume is from the United States
The United States alone accounts for 44% of the gig economy volume worldwide. That’s a huge contribution to global output. It also supports the idea that gig work is uniquely popular and appealing. While the U.S. is the highest global market for gig workers, India, Indonesia, Australia, and Brazil’s markets are quickly expanding.
4. Half of global freelancers provide skilled work
While you might associate gig work primarily with rideshares, that’s not all freelancers are doing. In fact, 50% of all global freelancers are performing skilled jobs. This includes information technology services, programing, marketing, and counseling. Thanks to remote technology, these freelancers no longer have to limit themselves to working in an office. They’re free to pursue more flexible schedules and the other benefits of independent contracting.
5. Flexibility is the top draw for freelancers
Speaking of flexible schedules, that’s the biggest benefit to most freelancers. Nearly half of all freelancers say they’re also caregivers, and a third report having a disabled individual in their household. Flexible scheduling allows independent contractors to work around childcare, elder care, school, and other priorities.
6. 84% of gig workers say they’re living their preferred lifestyle
You might be under the impression that gig workers are freelancing because they have to, whether they’re acting as caretakers or can’t find a suitable full-time job. That’s not the case. 84% of freelancers say they’re living their preferred lifestyle. Only 54% of traditional employees claim the same.
7. The average gig worker salary is $69,000
Worried that freelancing won’t bring in enough cash? Gig workers make an average of $69,000 per year—$10,000 higher than the median salary in the U.S. Although that’s a comfortable income, depending on your location, 63% of gig workers say they’d still prefer a flexible schedule to a higher salary. This strong emphasis on quality of life over higher income demonstrates the biggest benefit of working independently.
8. 75% of new freelancers started during a recession
Over the last two decades, we’ve seen three different economic recessions. As companies laid off workers and good positions became harder to get, people turned to freelance work. In fact, 75% of new gig workers say they started freelancing for financial stability during a recession. This allows people extra financial freedom—whether they continue freelancing permanently or use it to bridge the gap between traditional jobs, it seems to be a net positive.
9. 80% of large corporations plan to hire more gig workers
This is a good time to get into freelancing: 80% of corporations polled say that they plan to hire more gig workers in the future. The trend toward remote work—and away from traditional office spaces—has made it easier for businesses to work with contractors on a piecemeal basis. If you provide an in-demand service, freelancers should have no trouble finding new partnership opportunities with major companies.
10. Driving, household, errand, and digital tasks are booming
Between 2016 and 2021, England and Wales saw rapid growth in several areas for gig workers. Delivery driving increased 350%, no doubt in large part due to the pandemic. Household services increased 166%, errand running went up 200% and remote online tasks rose 100%. New freelancers should consider these rapidly expanding industries when deciding on a new type of job.
11. The majority of sole proprietors belong to one of five sectors
While certain types of services are rapidly expanding, the majority of American sole proprietors work in five main sectors: 57% of U.S. gig workers are in professional services, construction, administrative services, retail and repair, and personal services. This may help you determine whether a sector is likely to be oversaturated, and adjust accordingly.
12. 32% of freelancers start during or right after completing their education
Demographically, a significant chunk of freelancers start working in the gig economy during school or just after graduating. Meanwhile, 22% started freelancing after being laid off from a job. This is another strong indication that people turn to freelancing while trying to find traditional employment. As the previous freelancing statistics indicate, workers often choose to continue, especially when a flexible schedule is a concern.
About 51% of people with postgraduate degrees are working as freelancers. This fact underscores that freelancing isn’t just for simple tasks and errands—it’s a burgeoning trend that appeals to people of all ages and educational backgrounds.
Become your own boss with a little help from NorthOne
Freelancing can be a rewarding way to set your own schedule and bring in significant income. NorthOne prides itself on being a great digital banking option for freelancers and gig economy workers. When you’re an independent contractor, you have different financial needs than traditional employees. Our services can help you navigate the perks and pitfalls of owning your own business.
Now that you’ve seen these freelancing statistics, you know that there’s plenty of opportunity—and income—to be found. Whether you’re just starting out or transitioning from one gig to the next, our team can help you. Reach out today to learn more.
- https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2021/12/08/the-state-of-gig-work-in-2021/ and https://www.upwork.com/documents/freelance-forward-2020