75% of Freelancers Are More Hopeful Than Fearful of AI Impacting Their Jobs, and Women See a Clear Advantage to Freelance Work over Traditional Employment
Fiverr International Ltd. (NYSE: FVRR), the company that is revolutionizing how the world works together, today released its sixth annual Freelance Economic Impact Report. The comprehensive study identifies and profiles the largest markets in the United States for freelance workers. The report analyzes secondary data sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, to determine the size and revenues of U.S. based freelancers. This study specifically focuses on a skilled workforce, referred to as “independent professionals”, “independent workers” or “freelancers”. This group consists of individual business entities that earn income outside of traditional employment. Completed in partnership with Rockbridge Associates and the Freelancers Union, the study reveals that freelancers in the U.S. earned an estimated $286 billion in 2022 and feel financially secure with pursuing independent work despite economic uncertainty.
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Fiverr today released its sixth annual Freelance Economic Impact Report. The comprehensive study identifies and profiles the largest markets in the United States for freelance workers. (Photo: Business Wire)
“The U.S. workforce has evolved drastically over the past year and freelancing has remained a viable option for those who favor flexibility and autonomy over their careers,” said Gali Arnon, CMO at Fiverr. “As the 9-5 role under a single employer becomes less of the norm, skilled independent professionals are primed to withstand shifts in the economy and workforce by their natural adaptability and entrepreneurial spirit. This type of work has never been more crucial and this report continues to provide a thorough analysis into how local economies are thriving as a result of freelance work.”
Independent Worker Trends Across The U.S.
Independent work continues to be an influential economic driver, with freelancers poised for continued success even in an uncertain economy
- The U.S. independent workforce is comprised of 6.7 million individuals and are estimated to have earned $286 billion in 2022, up nearly 10% from 2021. They represent 4.1% of the U.S. labor force, and their earnings comprise 1.1% of total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022.
Professional services outrank all other areas of work by population and revenue
- Independent professionals offering professional services (legal, accounting, consulting) are increasingly feeling more confident about their job security and are seeing an increase in demand. In fact, 45% of those offering professional services are more likely to report increasing their rates as a result of increased demand, and those who charge by the hour are on average earning more than those offering technical or creative services ($103 an hour on average). In the top 30 markets, professional services comprise the largest share of skilled independent workers and their revenues, at half the workers (50%) and nearly half the revenues (47%) estimated for 2022.
Despite concerns that A.I. will significantly impact jobs, freelance workers are more hopeful than fearful
- The share of independent workers who are hopeful about A.I. outnumbers those that are fearful, with 75% of them leaning more optimistic on how this technology may impact their jobs. With technical independent workers most likely to feel the brunt of A.I., a little over a third believe their work will be replaced in the short or long run, but 24% believe their work will be complemented by A.I.
Independent workers with multiple revenue streams feel more secure than those working under a single employer
- Over 80% of independent workers strongly or somewhat agree that having multiple sources of income provides a greater level of security than relying on a single employer, and nine-in-ten (89%) agree having control over their work life allows them to adjust to changing economic conditions rather than being tied to the decisions of an employer. Among those who also hold a permanent job, six-in-ten (60%) believe they would be very likely to continue working as a freelancer and not look for another permanent job if they were to be laid off.
Women see a clear advantage to freelancing over traditional employment
- This year’s report reveals that women are pursuing freelance work for a number of reasons, including that they prefer to work from home (41% versus 31% men), want more flexibility in their schedule (39% versus 22% men), feel burned out (25% versus 17% men), want to avoid an unpleasant or toxic work environment (26% versus 15% men), and experience a lack of enjoyment in their work (22% versus 13% men).
The ability to “work from anywhere” remains a priority for freelancers and more plan to work and travel next year
- The ability to “work from anywhere” while traveling is a major factor or somewhat of a factor in the decision for nearly three-in-four (73%) freelancers who work independently to do so. Working remotely while traveling is becoming more common, with one-third (32%) of independent professionals reporting they did at least some work from remote locations in 2022 compared to only 23% in 2021.
Shake Ups Across Markets
The capital of country music is the fastest growing market for independent workers by both population and revenue
- Nashville ranks #1 for growth in population and revenue over the last two years. It’s estimated that this city saw nearly 40% growth in revenue and almost 25% growth in population. Creative independent professionals continue to thrive with earnings reaching over $1.5 billion in 2022.
Sunbelt havens continue to be among the top destinations for independent workers
- Over half a million independent workers are thriving in sundrenched markets like Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Phoenix, and have earned an estimated $24.3 billion in 2022, and have a higher than average proportion of those offering professional services. Individually, Miami ranks #3 by population and revenue for independent workers, and has seen over 30% growth in revenue and nearly 15% growth in population since 2020.
While the population of independent professionals in Big Tech centers is slowing in growth, they are still among the highest earners in the country for freelance work
- Notable tech centers like San Jose, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, have seen the slowest growth in population for independent professionals. These markets experienced lower than average growth in independent workers and revenues in the past 5 years, and the recent downturn in the technology sector coupled with high costs of living was likely a major driver. San Francisco has seen negative growth in population among creative, technical, and professional workers since 2017. That said, these workers are still among the highest earners in the country, with independent professionals in San Francisco and San Jose earning just under $60,000 on average in 2022.
For more detailed information and to view the full report visit fiverr.com/freelance-impact.
Fiverr’s mission is to revolutionize how the world works together. We exist to democratize access to talent and to provide talent with access to opportunities so anyone can grow their business, brand, or dreams. From small businesses to Fortune 500, over 4 million customers worldwide worked with freelance talent on Fiverr in the past year, ensuring their workforces remain flexible, adaptive, and agile. With Fiverr’s Talent Cloud, companies can easily scale their teams from a talent pool of skilled professionals from over 160 countries across more than 600 categories, ranging from programming to 3D design, digital marketing to content creation, from video animation to architecture. Don’t get left behind - come be a part of the future of work by visiting fiverr.com, read our blog, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.