February 11, 2020
Freelancers value the freedom and flexibility of being their own boss but their happiness is most closely correlated with how much money they earn, a survey of 7,000 freelancers has claimed. According to the report from Payoneer (registration required), the worldwide average hourly rate charged by freelancers is $21, up from $19 two years ago. This is significantly higher than the average salary in many of the 150 countries surveyed. Those who work exclusively in freelancing earn a higher rate and are more satisfied with their lifestyle than those who split their time working for a company.
The freelance workforce is overall very young, the survey suggests, with nearly 70 percent of those surveyed aged under 35, and 21 percent aged under 25. This youth movement is even more pronounced in Asia where 82 percent of respondents were under 35, compared to North America where the number was closer to 47 percent.
Across the board, workers at the beginning and end of their careers are most likely to be exclusively freelancing, the report says. However, the promise of a stable income and the sense of security that comes with it seems to drive workers to seek a company job while raising a family. Education does not necessarily correlate with high earnings for freelancers, as those respondents with bachelor’s degrees did not demand higher fees than those without. This may indicate that client reviews, references and a rich portfolio are as valuable as traditional educational achievements.
Women’s participation in the freelance workforce has been gaining momentum and the average wage for women is way ahead of the wider workforce.
Progress towards wage equality
One of the more optimistic findings from the report is that women’s participation in the freelance workforce has been gaining momentum and the average wage for women is way ahead of the wider workforce. Female freelancers earn on average 84 percent of men’s earnings across all fields and, while there is room for improvement, the gap is much smaller than the 64 percent average for all workers reported by the World Economic Forum. However, there are industry-specific nuances and fields exist where the gender gap remains pronounced, including finance and project management. That said, women earn more than men in marketing and web and graphic design.
‘Freelancing is booming around the world, driven by the growing global generational shifts’, said Eyal Moldovan, General Manager, Payoneer. ‘Millennials and Gen Z crave independence and broad, new opportunities with a whopping 54 percent in developed countries starting or planning to start their own businesses. Moreover, 64 percent of those that currently have full-time jobs welcome the chance to earn more and broaden their skillsets. Meanwhile, older generations find freelancing a way to stay relevant and to keep their skills sharp in a world where technology trends and tools change in the blink of an eye. Overall, both freelancers and companies benefit, and what once seemed a novel pursuit has redefined the very nature of the workforce.’
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