Upwork and Freelancers Union recently published the results of “Freelancing in America: 2017” (FIA), a comprehensive measure of the U.S. independent workforce. The fourth annual study estimates that 57.3 million Americans are freelancing (36 percent of the U.S. workforce) and contribute approximately $1.4 trillion annually to the economy, an increase of almost 30% since last year. Full study results are available here.
|Area of focus
|Artificial intelligence (AI)/Deep learning||$115.06/hour|
|Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda coding||$51.00/hour|
|Virtual reality (VR)||$50.18/hour|
|Final Cut Pro editors||$37.12/hour|
Notable findings of the report reveal:
- Freelancers are better prepared for the future – As work changes, 54 percent of the U.S. workforce said they’re not very confident that work they do will exist in 20 years. Reskilling is therefore critical. 55 percent of freelancers participated in skill-related education in the last six months versus only 30 percent of non-freelancers.
- The majority of the U.S. workforce will soon freelance – At its current growth rate, we will reach this milestone by 2027.
- People are increasingly freelancing by choice – Asked whether they started freelancing more by choice or necessity, 63 percent of freelancers said by choice — up 10 points (from 53 percent) since 2014.
- Stability is being redefined – Freelancers increasingly think that having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than one employer (63 percent agree, up 10 points since 2016) and have an average of 4.5 clients per month.
- While finances are a challenge for all, freelancers experience a unique concern — income predictability. The study found that, with the ebbs and flows of freelancing, full-time freelancers dip into savings more often (63 percent at least once per month versus 20 percent of full-time non-freelancers).