People still think that the freelancing industry is a small industry that is working in an unorganized way, but it is not true! Recent research studies conducted by individuals and organizations have unearthed amazing facts about the freelancing industry. The freelancing industry has become a very large industry with high growth rate. In this article, we are going to discuss the brief history of freelancing and the size of the freelancing industry.
A 2013 study by world famous firm Accenture stated that companies around the world spend more than $300 billion on freelancers. Another reliable source claims that people who work as a freelancer contribute as much as $715 billion to our economy. By freelancers, we mean the persons who independently work with different clients on a particular task or a set of task only. The size of the freelancing industry is increasing dramatically, thanks to the high employment rate in the world.
The history of freelancers is old, but it was started in its current form about two decades ago. With the advent of the internet, different revolutionary ideas were conceived by visionaries. Among these ideas was the idea of using the internet to get ‘paid work’ from people who do not want to hire, and want some work done; because it is cost effective most of the time. Today, this hidden industry has become one of the biggest industries in the world.
A 2014 Forbes article highlighted that there were more than 53 million freelancers in the United States alone. There are more than 1.4 million freelancers in the UK. On the other hand, all freelancing platforms have a substantial percentage of Indian freelancers. India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the countries with the most freelancers in the world.
Software Development, Web Development, Designing, and Writing are the most sought after skills in the virtual world. The ‘Payoneer Freelancer Income Survey 2015’ reported amazing facts about the freelancing industry. In this global survey, Payoneer surveyed more than 2300 freelancers worldwide. They report that the worldwide average hourly rate charged by freelancers is $21. It further exhibits that almost the half of the freelancers are located in Americas.
More than half of the freelancers find work on the internet, with the help of different freelancing marketplaces. The freelancers who provide legal services charge the highest rate – $31 per hour. More than 78% of the total freelancers are male. But the income satisfaction level is 46% around the world; which is low. Most of the people are not earning as much as they expect to earn. On the average, freelancers work 36 hours per week or 7 hours per day.
A legal service is the most paying skills and writing & translation is the lowest paying skill. 52% of the total freelancers lie under the age bracket of 20 to 29 years. Amazingly, about 55% of the freelancers surveyed have university degrees; some people prefer freelancing, some are not able to find a full-time job, and some are doing a full-time job and also work a freelancer. An amazing fact highlighted by this survey was that the average hourly rate of university degree holders ($20) is less than that of high school graduates ($22).
In essence, the freelancing industry is rapidly emerging industry all around the world. So far, it is a neglected industry and governments are not serious about making this industry strong and secure. The freelancing industry works in ways that we cannot say anything for sure about its exact volume. A major part of the freelancing industry is still intangible and we can say that this industry has the potential to reach $1 trillion figure in the coming years. I hope this industry keeps growing and never see a downturn.