As 2023 comes into full swing, small and large businesses around the world are still recovering from the lingering effects of COVID-19. To help them do so, consultants, agencies and freelancers continue to play a critical role in keeping the global economy humming.
With the new year, however, comes new challenges. Rapidly rising costs of living, massive employee layoffs, and fears of a global recession are adding new dimensions of uncertainty for many. With these challenges as a backdrop, we set out to understand how freelancers around the globe are faring in the current business climate.
The fifth edition of the Freelancer Insights Report is a compilation of responses from over 2,000 freelancers across 122 countries. Once again, our survey shows that freelancers are extremely resilient in the face of new challenges.
Almost every freelancer surveyed has had to make some adjustments in response to the rising cost of living. 55% of our survey respondents have taken on more work, and 32% have expanded their client base to new countries. Many have also raised their rates (41%) and cut back on personal expenses (39%).
Meanwhile, freelancers of all genders continue to be highly satisfied with their lifestyle and remain highly optimistic about the future of their work. Over two-thirds of the respondents believe demand will continue to grow, and close to half of the respondents expect the business to grow significantly (>50% year over year). Young freelancers under 35 are more optimistic about growth for next year, while older ones are less certain about the future.
This doesn’t come as a surprise. Businesses have come to recognize the value of the flexibility offered by freelancers during the rapidly shifting conditions they have been experiencing during these unpredictable times. With change and uncertainty becoming the rule rather than an exception, we can expect the role of freelancers in the global workforce to continue to expand.
Some key findings:
- Demand for freelance work remains highly resilient in the face of economic slowdown fears, with 46% of the respondents seeing an increase in demand and 29% reporting no change.
- 38% reported an increase in hourly rates over the past year, while only 15% saw rates decrease.
- While women made up close to 30% of the survey participants, the gender pay gap for freelancers persists. Women earned $22/hour on average to men’s $24/hour, or 92 cents for every $1 earned by men.
- Freelancers that mix hourly and project-based fees are able to command a higher average rate than those that stick to one method or the other.
- In response to the rising cost of living, 55% of the freelancers have taken on more work, 41% raised their rates, and 32% expanded their client base to new countries.
For more trends and insights into how freelancers and the businesses that hire them feel about the industry, download our 2023 Freelancer Insights Report, today.\