Data-Backed Guide to Freelancing in 2021 

Freelancers have always made up a small sector of the workforce, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, freelancers made up a much larger space at the end of 2020.

With more and more people being laid off and forced to work from home, many turned to freelance as a way to bring in some additional income. Let’s look at some of the top freelance statistics and trends for 2021 to help you make the switch.

One of the biggest surprises that the freelance community saw over the past few years was growth in full-time freelancers. Full-time freelancers saw a growth from 17% to 28% from 2014-2019. This put freelancers at making up 36% of the global workforce at the end of 2020. From 2019-2020, the United States saw an 8% increase in freelancers which equated to 2 million new freelancers in the workforce.

The Future Of Freelancing

With freelance job postings increasing by 41% in Q2 of 2020, the pandemic had a serious effect on how the job market was switching in freelancer’s favour. While people will eventually return to work once the pandemic is contained, we expect to see many people still work from home or choose to freelance full-time in the future. 91% of freelancers believe that the future is bright for freelancers.

How COVID Affected Freelancing

From 2019-2020, freelance and consultant insurance policies purchased rose by 26%. That did not come with its ups and downs throughout the year though. From Feb-March in 2020, policies dropped by 44% and then 68% from March-April. However, from March-October of 2020, freelancer policies doubled each month when compared to 2019. 

Freelancing By Age

Looking at the statistics on generation and age when it comes to freelancing really shows where the future of freelancing is heading. By breaking these numbers down between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers, we can see exactly who is making up the freelancing workforce.

Starting with Boomers (age 55+), 26% of this age group has freelanced or currently freelances. Currently, 30% of Gen X (age 39-54) freelance in some shape or form. 44% of Millennials (age (23-38) and over 50% of Gen Z (age 18-22) have freelanced over the past year. 36% of Gen Z freelancers have started freelancing since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. When it comes to gender, 40% of women and 60% of men currently freelance full-time.

Freelance Earnings

When it comes to taking the leap into freelancing, one of the biggest questions is how much will you make? Depending on your skillset, hours available, and your ability to self-manage, you can make much more than you would at a traditional job. Here are some stats on how much freelancers are making on average.

For freelancers who are offering skilled services, they are seeing an average rate of $28/hour, more than 70% of workers in the US economy. 31% of these freelancers are seeing $75,000 or more a year from their freelance work. For freelance copywriters, the national average is $81,748 per year. This is all calculated at an average of 43 hours per week, the national average for most freelancers.

Where Can I Find Work?

The hardest part about freelancing is getting started. Many people do not know where to start or where to find steady work. With the ever-growing freelance community, many believe it would be hard to find work, but with the current pandemic, demand has grown with supply.

Upwork, a popular freelancing site, has over 17 million users. Fiverr, one of the most popular sites has had over 50 million transactions in its history of business. Freelancer.com takes the cake with over 30 million users.

Conclusion

With more companies realising that work can be done from home and freelancing is more accepted in the workforce, the future looks bright for freelancers. Even after a majority of workers migrate back to work after COVID has been contained, we expect to see freelancing and working from home be more of an option going forward.

Featured image by Davide Baraldi on Unsplash

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