SURVEY: Freelancing in America 2023

Freelance Forward, the annual survey conducted by Upwork, the largest Freelancing marketplace in the world, was released in December 2022. The survey of 3,000 American workers age 18 and above was conducted online September 21, 2022 – October 7, 2022. The survey demographics consisted of 1,164 Freelancers and 1,836 of the traditionally employed. Results of the landmark annual survey of Freelance workers continues to demonstrate the pronounced impact the cohort has on the American and global economies.

Year-over-year the number of Freelancers grows nationally (and internationally). According to the Upwork survey, there are 60 million part-time and full-time Freelancers in the country, comprising 39% of the U.S. labor force and in 2022, we contributed $1.35+ trillion to the U.S. economy. It is predicted that by 2027, Freelancers will comprise at least 51% of the American workforce.

In 2022, 51% of Freelancers, nearly 31 million, provided knowledge economy services, including., computer programming, software development, social media marketing, graphic arts, website development, IT, finance and business consulting. 23% of Freelancers hold a bachelor’s degree and 26% have earned a postgraduate degree.

The high tech and fintech sectors employ the largest number of Freelancers and they are also the highest earners. On average, men in those sectors earn up to four times more than their female counterparts.

68% of Freelancers have more than one employer or contract project (think more than one client). The diversified income streams make you are less vulnerable to the whims and fortunes of a single employer, unlike those who hold a traditional job. Freelancing, at least for some, is less risky than W2 employment. As was documented in the Upwork survey, most Freelancers see more opportunities available in the post-pandemic economy, with 76% concluding that they have more contracts available today than were available before the coronavirus shutdown.

The perceived increase in opportunities to work probably explains why Freelancers have a positive outlook regarding their income potential and contract opportunities. 77% of Freelancers feel optimistic about their anticipated 2023 earnings and 80% are optimistic about this year’s contract assignment opportunities. Moreover, 61% said that they make as much as or more money than they would if working for a traditional employer. 43% of Freelancers have increased their hourly rates or project fees over the last year, in response to increased demand or economic conditions.

Freelancers pivotal for small business

You may be happy to know that Freelancers are a great resource for small businesses. We provide on demand, only when needed, cost-effective expertise and assistance that helps small business owners to operate more efficiently and maximize revenue and profitability.

Survey results verify that small business owners and leaders are pleased with their experiences working with Freelance professionals and many plan to continue or increase their hiring of Freelancers in the future. In fact, 48% of U.S. businesses of every size hired at least one Freelancer in 2018.

  • 70% of SMBs in the U.S. have worked with freelancers at least once
  • 81% of these companies plan to hire freelancers again
  • 83% agree that freelancers have greatly helped their business

Major Global Freelancing Platforms

Below see a list of popular Freelancing platforms that are a conduit for your hard work, expertise and resourcefulness, wherever a good internet signal exists.

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