Fri. Jan 21st, 2022


The analysis from Upwork signifies freelancing charges maintain regular within the U.S., contributing $1.3 trillion to the economic system.

Young Asian man working with laptop computer on tropical beach, digital nomad lifestyle or freelance job concepts

Picture: Zephyr18, Getty Photographs/iStockphoto

Even throughout a turbulent labor market, freelancers contributed $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economic system in annual earnings, up $100 million from 2020, in line with new analysis from Upwork, a piece market that connects companies with impartial expertise.

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This progress was pushed by a rise within the variety of extremely expert, distant freelancers who left full time employment for versatile work alternate options, in line with Upwork’s Freelance Ahead: 2021 examine of the U.S. impartial workforce. On the similar time, there was a notable decline in short-term employees and an increase in all different kinds of freelancing, mixed, Upwork stated. 

There may be “a really wide selection of actions that depend as freelancing,” in contrast with conventional employment, the report famous. “Freelance work can range from promoting items on-line a number of instances a yr to delivering groceries a number of instances a month to working as a full-time programmer or accountant.”

The examine additionally discovered that 59 million Individuals carried out freelance work up to now 12 months, representing 36%—or greater than one-third—of the whole U.S. workforce. 

The share of non-temporary freelancers rose from 33.8% to 35% from 2020 to 2021, in line with the report. 

Extra extremely educated, extremely expert employees are freelancing

One of many fascinating findings is that freelancing is rising amongst extremely educated employees. Some 51% of post-grad employees did freelancing work, up 6% since 2020, whereas the share of highschool graduates or much less freelancing has declined from 37% in 2020 to 31% this yr, the report stated.

Expert distant freelancing additionally continued to develop in 2021. The analysis discovered that 53% of all freelancers offered expert providers equivalent to laptop programming, advertising and marketing, IT and enterprise consulting in 2021, up from 50% in 2020, Upwork stated.

By way of age, freelancers ages 55 and older make up greater than one-quarter of all freelancers (26%) primarily doing expert and project-based work, in line with the report. On the similar time, half of the Gen Z workforce stated they’ve freelanced up to now yr, and greater than one-third (36%) stated they began for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic started.

“Freelancing has remained a steady a part of the economic system and fewer of a brief choice for a lot of extremely expert professionals,” stated Upwork Chief Economist Adam Ozimek.

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By way of different demographics, new freelancers are largely extra full-time, extra distant, youthful, in hard-hit occupations and extra prone to be male, city and caregivers.

Not surprisingly, flexibility and freedom are key motivators for brand new and present freelancers. The report discovered that:

  • 68% of latest freelancer respondents stated that profession possession is a prime draw, adopted by the power to work remotely at 54%.
  • 78% of expert distant freelancers cited schedule flexibility as a key cause for freelancing, 73% cite location flexibility and 73% stated freelancing permits them to pursue work they discover significant. 

One other massive impetus for freelancing is that 44% of freelancer respondents stated they earned extra freelancing than with a standard job in 2021—up from 39% in 2020 and 32% in 2019.

The way forward for freelance work is brilliant

Upwork’s analysis additionally discovered that amid the so-called Nice Resignation, 56% of non-freelancer professionals stated they’re contemplating freelance work sooner or later.

9 in 10 freelancers consider that the “greatest days are forward” for freelancing: Two-thirds (66%) stated they’re optimistic about their careers in 2022, in contrast with 53% non-freelancers, in line with the report.

Ozimek additionally expressed optimism about the way forward for freelancing, saying that the normal expectations of in-office, 9-to-5 workplaces have been examined, and plenty of professionals opted for change.

“We’ve got seen extra curiosity for the reason that pandemic on this approach of working, and I consider that we’ll proceed to see elevated ranges of freelancing into 2022 and past,” Ozimek stated. “The place I anticipate progress can be extra on an occupational foundation than an trade foundation.”

For instance, Upwork sees a variety of distant freelancing within the areas of internet, cellular and software program growth throughout industries, Ozimek stated. “These abilities are in demand in manufacturing, retail, healthcare and past.”

A key technique for fulfillment in freelancing is to faucet into freelance web sites, the report stated. Previous to the pandemic, one in 4 expert freelancers stated they sometimes discovered work by means of freelance web sites.

Ninety-one p.c of respondent freelancers who’ve used freelance web sites earlier than and in the course of the pandemic stated they’d suggest them as a result of they’ll discover significant work, they’ll discover reliable purchasers and so they can acquire entry to instruments and assets that assist with mission administration and effectivity, in line with the report.

Upwork stated its eighth annual examine surveyed greater than 6,000 U.S. employees over 18 on-line between Aug. 27 and Sept. 29, 2021. Of these, 2,156 had been freelancers, and three,844 had been non-freelancers.

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