Freelancing Insights and Statistics 2022

Niche + Laptop + WiFi = Freelancer. Technology gave us the means to work for ourselves and then the pandemic gave us the motive.

With at least one-third of the world’s workforce currently freelancing, that number is expected to climb, with Flexiple predicting around 51% of the U.S. working population will consist of freelancers by 2027. Half their workforce will be freelancing in 5 years! 🤯

Australia’s Freelancing Hub thought it was the ideal time to look at some illuminating insights into the industry we love and why the rest of the world is getting on board.

A Global Freelance Snapshot

There are an estimated 1.56 billion freelancers worldwide (bloggingwizard)

Of the 3.5 billion global workforce, freelancers represent a 35% share (Finances Online)

The most in-demand freelancing skill is Web Design (LinkedIn)

67% of freelancers typically complete up to 3 projects per year (truelist)

70% take part in some kind of training compared to 49% of their 9-5 counterparts (truelist)

Only 7% of people choose to freelance for financial benefits. Freedom and flexibility are freelancers’ primary motivators. (Parpera)

Google’s workforce has more freelancers than permanent employees (Flexiple)

Most of the workers in the art and design industry are freelancers, at 75% (DDIY)

Currently, at 58 million and counting, freelancing is poised to become the U.S. majority workforce by 2027 (Flexiple)

Referrals and word of mouth are how 91% of freelancers find jobs (truelist)

Freelance Motivation

Truelist believes that the internet has freed the workforce from the chains of traditional corporate structures and asks what motivates a freelance lifestyle.

freelance motivation

  • Schedule Flexibility 71%
  • Be Your Own Boss 66%
  • Control Over Financial Future 66%
  • Freedom of Work Location 66%
  • Pursue Meaningful Work 64%
  • Spend More Time With Family 55%

Freelance Demographics

ThriveMyWay presents some interesting numbers when it comes to freelance demographics. Unfortunately, the gender pay gap is on display in the freelance sector.

  • 65% of freelancers are male
  • 35% of freelancers are female
  • On average, male freelancers make up to 4 times more money than females
  • Over half of Generation Z (1999 –2012) workers are freelancers
  • Over 40% of freelancers have said that they make less money as a freelancer
  • An average freelancer earns approx $21 USD p/h and works around 36 hours p/w

Top 4 Reasons Why Freelancers Are Hired over Staff

With freelancing on the rise, Finances Online looks at why hiring managers prefer freelancers over staffing firms.

why do freelancers freelance

  • Projects completed faster 62%
  • Reduce costs 55%
  • Access to highly skilled talent 49%
  • Increased process transparency 49%

Freelance Job Sites

There are a plethora of different freelance job sites to suit your skills and hours, with Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr considered amongst the most successful. According to Don’t Do It Yourself, Upwork has more than 17 million registered users, has over 31 million users, making it the largest platform and Fiverr has more than 7 million registered users.

Luisa Zhou takes a deep dive into Upwork:

  • Upwork is the largest freelance marketplace platform in the world with total marketplace transactions of over $2.5 billion
  • Upwork’s marketplace hosts users in 180+ countries
  • The biggest freelancing countries are the USA, India, and the Philippines
  • 145,400 employers use the platform, spending at least $5,000 per year
  • Freelancers offer 10,000 skills on Upwork in 90+ categories of work.
  • Upwork’s most popular categories are: Website and app development, Client support, Consulting, Creative & Design, Finance & Accounting

Countries With Fastest Freelance Growth

Blogging Wizard focuses on global freelancing stats with the top 10 fastest-growing countries based on freelance year-on-year revenue growth in 2020:

  1. Philippines (208%)
  2. India (160%)
  3. Japan (87%)
  4. Australia (86%)
  5. Hong Kong (79%)
  6. Mexico (72%)
  7. Canada (71%)
  8. Pakistan (69%)
  9. Argentina (66%)
  10. Spain (66%)

Freelance Rates

Zen Business has done the heavy lifting when it comes to the gender pay gap among freelancers.
  • Men charge 48% more than women for the equivalent role overall
  • Average men’s hourly rate is USD $68.58
  • Average women’s hourly rate is USD $46.30
  • The largest gender pay discrepancy was for DevOps Engineers (approx $100 p/h for men versus $30 p/h for women)
  • There is minimal pay disparity in between men and women in creative fields such as graphic design, image editing, and motion graphics

Freelancers In Australia

Parpera’s research presents an interesting snapshot of the Australian freelance landscape.

freelancers in australia

  • In Australia, one million self-employed comprise 7.8% of the total workforce
  • The Australian freelance platform,, connects 58,472,206 freelancers and companies across 247 “regions, territories, and countries.”
  • 39.5% of online freelancers in Australia are women, with 56.7% working in creative and multimedia, 55.6% in professional services, and 26.7% in software and technology.
  • Airtasker, says it saw increased demand for freelance graphic designers, writers, and developers since 2020.
  • 86% of tech sole traders surveyed in Australia would like to feel more connected with their full-time coworkers

Freelancing Is The Future

The global gig economy is projected to reach $455 billion by 2023.

Within a generation, we’ll look back and see freelancing as vital to employment culture. It’s not a trend that will fade away, but rather a movement that will evolve with the times. As more and more workers move toward independent work, we’ll see changes in how they get paid, how they deliver their services, and the way they manage client relationships.

Soldier On Fellow Freelancers!

Statistics are sexy but a quick caveat: numbers are always ebbing and flowing. Not all sources used in this blog published reports in 2022. Please consider the dates of the sources.

Lisa Comerford
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