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Top 10 Freelancing Countries

Payoneer’s List of the Top Freelancing Countries

Richard ClaytonRichard Clayton
February 25, 2023

As a leading payment solutions provider for freelancers worldwide, Payoneer is proud to introduce you to the ten top freelancing countries. These countries offer a favorable environment for freelancers, with a combination of high demand, supportive policies, and easy access to payment solutions like Payoneer.

The United States and the United Kingdom are two of the top destinations for freelancers, with their large and diverse markets offering ample opportunities across industries. Brazil, Pakistan, Ukraine, and the Philippines are also incredibly popular locations, with large and skilled workforces that cater to the global market.

Asia, India, and Bangladesh are fast-growing freelancer markets with a large pool of talented workers and a burgeoning tech industry. Russia and Serbia are also increasingly attractive locations for freelancers, with a growing number of businesses seeking freelance services. Our up-to-date guide features the latest stats and data from the top freelancing countries around the world.

No matter where you are based, Payoneer’s payment solutions make getting paid for your freelance work easy. With Payoneer, you can easily receive payments from clients worldwide without the hassle of high fees or complicated currency conversions. So, if you’re looking to start your freelance career or expand your existing business, Payoneer is here to support you every step of the way. 

Learn more about getting paid easily, wherever you are

Let’s begin with our freelancing ranking of countries!

rate by region

Source: Payoneer Blog

Our research shows that the U.S. remains the largest freelancer market, with solid growth in emerging markets like India and the Philippines.
We’re dedicated to empowering freelancers worldwide with tailored payment solutions and resources, regardless of location or specialty.
So whether you’re a digital nomad or a writer, we’re here to support your success in the gig economy.

As a top-tier payment solutions provider for freelancers, Payoneer has identified the top freelancing countries. These countries offer a favorable freelancer environment, high demand, supportive policies, and easy access to payment solutions. The top freelancing countries include the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Pakistan, Ukraine, Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Russia, and Serbia. No matter where you are based, Payoneer’s payment solutions make getting paid for your freelance work easy, enabling you to succeed in the global gig economy.

capitals of freelancingSource: Payoneer

Let’s delve deeper into the top freelancing countries for 2022 and beyond. We’ll briefly examine what’s going on in these countries to drive the freelancing revolution in the 2020s.  We begin with the USA. 

#1. USA

freelance forward

Freelancer earnings in the U.S. grew 3% year-on-year between 2021 and 2022. The U.S. Independence Workforce Report found that 60M Americans freelanced in 2022, comprising 39% of the U.S. workforce. The freelance economy is growing, with 60 million Americans freelancing and contributing $1.35 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2022.

This growth is fueled by the desire for flexible work arrangements and is attracting young professionals. Knowledge services are the most common freelance work, and diversified workers and highly educated professionals also choose to freelance. Payoneer is committed to empowering freelancers with the resources and support they need to succeed in this evolving job market.

*See the VentureBeat Report on the US Freelancer Workforce for 2022.

#2. UK

Source: Statista

Freelancing has become an increasingly popular option in the U.K., with 4.2 million people identifying it as their main job.
While this is down from over 5 million in January 2020, it’s still a significant increase from 20 years ago when the number was around 3.3 million in November 2002.
U.K. freelancers continue significantly contributing to the economy despite the decrease in numbers.
It’s estimated that they contribute £162 billion to the overall U.K. economy, underscoring their vital role in the country’s economic success.

In 2021, freelancers  in the U.K., contributed £147 billion to the economy.
Business support is the most popular sector, and artistic, literary, and media occupations are common.
London and the South East are prominent regions for freelancers, while Manchester is the best city due to its Wi-Fi hotspots and low property costs. However, the number of freelancers decreased by 11% in 2021, possibly due to COVID-19’s impact. Despite this, freelancers enjoy flexible working hours and the ability to work from anywhere.

Learn more about getting paid easily, wherever you are

3. Brazil

In Brazil, the gig economy has grown steadily, with over 25 million self-employed workers (2021/22).
Many Brazilians turned to freelancing in recent years due to company closures, unemployment, and economic uncertainty.
Despite challenges such as language barriers and unfamiliarity with international markets, 83% of Brazilian freelancers plan to offer their services to new countries, with France and Germany being the most popular.

Half of the freelancers have experienced a significant increase in demand, and 90% are optimistic about the industry’s future.
However, freelancers face challenges such as accounting and regulatory knowledge and finding new clients when exporting services to other countries. Nonetheless, many are willing to learn new skills to overcome these challenges. Get the 
Payoneer report on Brazil – one of the ten top freelancing countries.

4. Pakistan

Pakistan’s gig economy has seen significant growth in recent years, with freelancers in the country attracting export remittances of almost $400 million during the 2021-22 fiscal year. This accounts for nearly 15% of the total ICT export remittances of $2.616 billion recorded by Pakistan during the same period.

Experts have suggested that the country should educate its youth about the sector to ensure further growth in the tech-enabled gig market. This could include organizing short courses in colleges and universities and using the media to promote freelancing opportunities.

Vocational training and technical courses could also help guide the country’s youth. Additionally, the government could expedite efforts to bring official payment solutions and help freelancers avoid illegal payment channels.

  • Pakistani freelancers earned $396.243M in export revenue during FY2021-22.
  • I.T. exports saw a decline of 26.88% in comparison to the previous fiscal year.
  • Non-IT exports, including content writing, translation, virtual assistantship, sales, marketing, accounting, finance, and customer service, experienced a significant increase of 297.492%.
  • This emphasizes the potential of non-IT freelance services in Pakistan.
  • Pakistan is ranked 4th in the world for Software Development and Technology and consistently ranked among the top destinations for ICT outsourcing due to exponential growth in the I.T. sector.

*Sources: https://propakistani.pk/2022/08/22/pakistani-freelancers-earned-397-million-in-fy-2021-22/ ; https://www.erozgaar.pitb.gov.pk/Pakistan-4th-freelancing-country 

5. Ukraine

In the summer of 2022, the demand for freelance services in Ukraine surged by 30% compared to the previous year’s period. As a result, completed projects also increased by 31%, while the turnover of money for completed projects rose by 29.6%, according to research by the Freelancehunt service.

Experts believe that the market’s growth is due to businesses’ interest in quick and affordable recovery and adapting to new operational realities. Freelancers quickly responded to these needs, with 74% returning to work as early as mid-March and the figure increasing to 96-98% a month later. This analytics service anticipates a further increase in demand for Ukrainian freelancers’ services.

  • The total project budget grew by 22%, reaching $17 million.
  • The number of freelancers increased by 91,000 in 2021 compared to the previous year.
  • Programmers, designers, and copywriters are the most in-demand specialists.
  • The demand for programmers has slightly decreased, but this area remains trending as remote performer services are much cheaper for companies.
  • In 2021, programmers accounted for 41.8% of all projects on the service, and their budgets amounted to 55.2% for all projects.
  • The share of other categories has remained virtually unchanged compared to the past.
  • Designers are still the most popular category, followed by programmers and copywriters.

Sources: https://good-time-invest.com/blog/freelance-market-in-ukraine-in-2021/ https://ubn.news/experts-predict-a-boom-in-the-ukraines-freelance-market/ https://www.wired.com/story/gig-work-in-ukraine/

#6. Philippines

Source: Statista

Source: Payoneer GCash Philippines Freelance Report

As one of the top freelancing countries in the world, the Philippines has experienced substantial growth in recent years. The country is recognized as the sixth fastest-growing market in Payoneer’s 2019 Global Gig Economy Index. 

The pandemic has accelerated this trend, and the ranks of freelancers increased in 2020-21 as more Filipinos discovered the benefits of job flexibility and earning potential. 

GCash and Payoneer surveyed 5,560 GCash users nationwide to provide insights into the Philippines Freelancer Market, revealing what freelancers look like today, where they get their jobs, and key challenges and emerging opportunities. Here are the highlights:

  • 55% of Filipino freelancers are between 21 and 35 years old, with 28% aged 36-45.
  • 69% of freelancers run their businesses while taking on gigs simultaneously, while 18% take on multiple jobs from various clients.
  • Content creators comprise 35% of all freelancers in the Philippines who publish or upload and distribute their work on social media platforms.
  • Facebook is the biggest source of jobs for freelancers in the Philippines, followed by Instagram and other job sites or gig economy platforms.
  • Key challenges faced by Filipino freelancers include a lack of company-sponsored benefits, uncertainty about future income, and isolation from working alone.
  • Security is the primary consideration when selecting payment platforms for most freelancers, followed by transaction fees and the convenience of transferring to bank accounts.
  • Filipino freelancers seeking overseas opportunities are expanding in key markets such as the U.S., UK, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, and the UAE.
  • Filipino freelancers recognize a need to acquire and develop new skills for marketing and project management, graphic design, and proofreading to grow further.
  • Freelancers with a mix of overseas and local clients generate a 57% higher rate per hour than those with only local clients.

Read the Payoneer GCash 2022 Report for details of the Philippines freelance market.

#7. India 

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global job market, leading to the overnight pivot to remote work and a sudden halt in many businesses. However, the pandemic also led to a paradigm shift in the ‘gig economy .’As businesses changed to accommodate a remote workforce, demand for freelancer workers increased.

Approximately 40% of freelance workers experienced increased rates after the pandemic, and many laid-off workers turned to freelancing to generate higher income. India saw a 46 percent increase in new freelancers from Q1 – Q2 2020, and the freelance community recorded a substantial rise of 42 percent in average hourly payments. The gig economy of India is thriving, and it has the potential to become one of the top freelancing countries in the world. Growth projections in the region of $20B to $30B are forecast by 2025.

India’s young workforce is highly creative and seeks flexible opportunities that do not infringe on their work-life balance. As a result, startups in the country have embraced freelancers and gig workers as alternatives to full-time employees, given their expertise, lower costs, and greater flexibility.

Additionally, the rise of online freelance platforms connects freelancers with companies and vice versa. As businesses and employees reap the benefits of remote work and flexible work arrangements, the freelance community is rising and empowering vulnerable groups to find suitable opportunities while generating new employment opportunities and facilitating economic recovery.

# 8. Bangladesh

Source Bangladesh Labor Force 2019

Based on the ‘Digital Economy Report-2019‘ of UNCTAD, Bangladesh is becoming an important player in the global freelancing sector, with approximately 650,000 freelancers earning over $100 million in foreign remittance annually.
In addition, the country’s large youth population presents an opportunity for economic growth through the digitization of its economy.
However, proper training and government support are needed to fully capitalize on the potential of the freelancing sector.

With a low labor cost, Bangladesh has become the second-largest country in online labor supply and is one of the top 10 countries in terms of income from freelancing, ranking eighth with a growth rate of 26%.
To reach the target revenue of $5 billion, the number of freelancers needs to increase fivefold, and both men and women need to contribute to the sector.
Outsourcing has the potential to generate significant foreign remittances, but the government needs to strengthen the sector to support this growth.

Source: https://freelancers.gov.bd/2021/01/02/freelancing-the-new-way-of-economic-prosperity/ ; https://unctad.org/publication/digital-economy-report-2019

#9. Russia

The Russian freelance market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. It was projected to reach 102 billion U.S. dollars by 2025, indicating a continuous upward trend over the next five years. For context, in 2020, the market size was valued at 41 billion U.S. dollars.

Freelancing is on the rise in Russia, with over 18 million people working as freelancers in 2021. The number of freelancers has been increasing steadily in recent years, contributing to a market size of 41 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.

The average monthly wage of freelance workers in Russia was higher for those involved in mobile development as well as programming in 2020. Architecture and engineering followed, with a mean salary of approximately 55.6 thousand Russian rubles.  Next, we wrap it up with the last country in the Payoneer freelancing ranking of countries.

# 10. Serbia

Serbian gig workers

Source: http://gigmetar.publicpolicy.rs/en/serbia-2022-1/

In Serbia, gig work is increasingly concentrated in urban areas, with 9 out of 10 new gig workers living or working in one of the 28 cities and towns in 2022.
As of 2022, 80.8 percent of Serbian gig workers commanded hourly rates lower than the global average of US$28, and the most frequent hourly wage for 13.9 percent was US$10. However, between 2021 and 2022, there was an increase in Serbian gig workers of up to 15.9 percent. 

Although the number of Serbian gig workers on the three most popular global platforms remained virtually unchanged, growth on the dominant platform was driven primarily by gig workers switching to that online marketplace.
The gig workforce’s growth is due to various factors, such as the rapid pace of technology development, demographic trends and preferences of younger generations, and disruptive changes to companies’ business models.

As a freelancer looking to get paid you can register at Payoneer and instantly access a global marketplace of opportunities.

Learn more about getting paid easily, wherever you are

The content provided in this article including any information relating to pricing, fees, and other charges is accurate and valid only as of the date it was published. In addition, changes in applicable regulations, policies, market conditions, or other relevant factors may impact the accuracy of the mentioned pricing and fees and other associated details. Accordingly, it is further clarified that any information regarding pricing, fees and other charges is subject to changes, and it is your responsibility to ensure you are viewing the most up to date content applicable to you. Payoneer will provide the most up to date and accurate information relating to pricing and fees as part of the account registration process. Registered customers can view this information via their online account.

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