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EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 1
Freelancing in America:
2019
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Study Objectives
Upwork and Freelancers Union commissioned Edelman Intelligence, an independent research firm, to conduct their
sixth annual study of the U.S. freelance workforce with these objectives:
1. Size the freelance workforce, assess how it fits within the overall U.S. economy and investigate dynamics within it
2. Examine the reasons people freelance and the impacts of this way of working
3. Assess the challenges that freelancers encounter and how freelancers address them
4. Consider the types of education and training that are valuable as our workforce evolves
5. As we approach a new decade, look ahead to the role this workforce will play
This deck is organized in sections to detail results per objective.
2
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Methodology
• An online survey of 6,001 U.S. adults who have done paid work in the past 12 months
• Data collected June 7, 2019 – July 3, 2019 by independent research firm Edelman Intelligence
• This is the sixth year the survey has beenconducted,allowing for trend data. Data collected in the summers of 2014-2018is
referenced throughout the analysis and indicates the percentage point change over the past five years.
• Percentage point differences betweenwaves are noted where applicable and noteworthy in the report.
• Results were weighted to ensure demographic representation in line with the United States Bureau of Labor
Statistics’ 2018 Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey
• Margin of error: Overall: ±1.2% at the 95% level of confidence. Freelancers: ±2.1%, Full-time Freelancers: ±4.0%,
Full-time Non-freelancers: ±1.9%.
• Audiences surveyed: U.S. Workers Overall
U.S. adults 18+ who have earned
income from work within the past
12 months, including both
freelancers and non-freelancers
Freelancers
Individuals who have engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or
contract-based work, within the past 12 months
Non-freelancers
Individuals who earned income through work but have not engaged in
supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past
12 months.N=6,001
N=2117
N=3884
3
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
U.S. workers overall: U.S. adults 18+ who have earned income from work within the past 12 months,
including both freelancers and non-freelancers.
Freelancers: Individuals who have engaged in supplemental,temporary, project- or contract-based
work, within the past 12 months.
Full-time freelancers: Individuals who describe their current freelance work status as “full-time
freelancer.”
Part-time freelancers: Individuals who describe their current freelance work status as “part-time
freelancer.”
Skilled freelancers: Individuals who indicate that their current freelance work entails selling skilled
services (e.g., computer programming, writing, design, IT, marketing, business consulting, etc.)
Non-skilled freelancers: Individuals who did not indicate that their current freelance work entails selling
skilled services; their work includes a combination of selling unskilled services/labor or selling goods.
Non-freelancers: Individuals who earned income through work but have not engaged in supplemental,
temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past 12 months.
Glossary – Audiences
4
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Freelance
Workforce
Composition
57 million Americans freelanced
this year, representing 35% of the
U.S. workforce.
The share of full-time freelancers
increased from 17% in 2014 to
28% in 2019.
Key Findings
The most common type of
freelance work is skilled services,
with 45% of freelancers providing
skills such as programming,
marketing and consulting.
60% of freelancers say they
started freelancing by choice.
For the first time, as many
freelancers view freelancing as a
long-term career choice as they
do a temporary way to make
money (50% each). Since 2014,
those saying they’re freelancing
long-term grew from 18.5M to
28.5M.
Younger generations are more
likely to freelance, especially
Gen Z (ages 18-22). 53% of
workers ages 18-22
freelance -- the highest
freelance participation rate of
any age bracket since this
study launched in 2014.
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The Impacts of
Freelancing:
Lifestyle,
Geographic,
Economic
71% of freelancers agree freelancing
gives them the opportunity to do their
work from anywhere they choose.
Many freelancers would consider
moving, with 7 in 10 interested in
options other than a large city.
Key Findings
Freelancers contribute nearly $1 trillion
in freelancing income to the economy
-- nearly 5% of GDP (similar to the size
of the information industry).
46% of freelancers agree
freelancing gives them
flexibility they need because
they're unable to work for a
traditional employer due to
personal circumstances.
Freelancing enables flexible
lifestyles with the main
reason people freelance full-
time being flexibility, while
part-time freelancers are
most driven by earning extra
income.
LIFESTYLE
GEOGRAPHIC
ECONOMIC
6
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Freelancing
Challenges
Freelancers and non-freelancers share most of the same list of top
concerns, including access to affordable healthcare, a healthy
savings account, retirement funds and being paid fairly.
Freelancers are more likely to have college loans or other debt to pay
off (46% of freelancers compared to 36% of non-freelancers), and
they are more likely to say they feel like they live “paycheck to
paycheck” (59% of freelancers compared to 53% of non-freelancers).
Key Findings
With next year’s Presidential election looming, freelancers are 18
percentage points more politically active than non-freelancers (51%
of freelancers self-identified as politically active compared to 33%
of non-freelancers). Freelancers are most interested in politicians
focusing on making healthcare more affordable and available.
7
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Freelancers’
Perspectives
on Skills and
Training
Key Findings
81% of freelancers find
freelance business skills
important to their work and
would like additional training.
The top three training areas
they would like are: 1)
networking 2) new skills in their
field and 3) how to start and
grow a freelance career.
78% of freelancers agree that
soft skills are at least equally as
important as technical skills to
succeed in their work.
Freelancers are more likely to
participate in training, with
54% ​having done so in the last
six months versus only 40% of
non-freelancers.
Skilled freelancers are even
more likely, with 65% having
done training the last six
months.
89% of freelancers wish
education better prepared them
for freelance work.
If they could go back, 52% say
they would replace their college
education entirely with training
tailored to their current work.
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Looking
Ahead
Key Findings
Among the 96% who say the
freelance job market has changed in
the past 3 years:
• 77% say technology has made it
easier to find freelance work.
• 71% say perceptions of
freelancing as a career are
becoming more positive.
• 64% say professionals who are
the top in their industry are
increasingly choosing to work
independently.
91% of freelancers say the
best days are ahead for
freelancing, a 14 percentage
point increase since 2014.
51% of freelancers say there
is no amount of money where
they would definitely take a
traditional job.
59% of non-freelancers say
it is likely that they will do
freelance work in the future.
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Freelance
Workforce
Composition
10
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To understand the freelance workforce, we must first assess the
overall job market – non-employment is at its lowest in a decade
11
U.S. Non-employment Rate
[Ages 25-54]
16%
17%
18%
19%
20%
21%
22%
23%
24%
25%
26%
Non-employmentRate
Data sourced fromBureau of Labor Statistics
Full
Employment
19%
Composition
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Despite a tightening labor market, we continue to see 35% of
workers freelancing
12
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
53M
53.7M
55M
56.7M
57.3M 57M
Number of American workers who freelance
+4 million
since 2014
35%
of American
workers freelance
Composition
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
40%
60%
Freelancers
Q36: Which is closer to how you view freelancing? Options: A temporary w ayto make money; A long-term career choice
Q48: Which is closer to the reason you originally started freelancing? Options: Choice; Necessity
Which is closer to the reason you originally
started freelancing?
[Freelancers]
NECESSITY
CHOICE CHOICE
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
34.5M
30.1M
29.7M
29.2M 29.4M
28.5M
18.5M
23.6M
25.3M
28.1M 27.2M
Long term:
+10M since
2014
Which is closer to how you view freelancing?
[Freelancers]
With a tight labor market, those freelancing are doing so by choice,
with more seeing freelancing as their long-term career
13
Freelancing
out of
choice:
+7 points
since 2014
Temporary Long-term
Composition
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
31%
29%
10%
14%
4% 5%
2%
4%
Daily Weekly Bi-weekly Monthly Every other
month
3-4 times a
year
1-2 times a
year
Once a year or
less
While the overall size of the freelance workforce has stabilized, the
frequency of freelancing within it is growing
14
How often do you engage in freelancing?
[Freelancers]
+5 points
since 2014
Q24: How often do you engage in freelancing?
Composition
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
17%
26% 25%
29% 28%
28%
59%
50% 51%
53%
50%
44%
19%
20% 19%
16%
20%
25%
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Full-time freelancer Part-time freelancer Full-time employee who earns extra income from freelance work
+6 points
15
Q31:Which of the follow ing best describes your current freelance work? Options: Full-time freelancer, part-time freelancer, full-time employee w ho earns extra income fromfreelance w ork
The share of freelancers who do it full-time has increased
11 points since 2014
-15 points
+11 points
Composition
Term to describe your freelancing?
[Freelancers]
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
53%
40%
31% 29%
Gen Z (18-22) Millennial (23-38) Gen X (39-54) Baby Boomers (55+)
Percentage of workers in each age group who freelance
(i.e., 53% of Gen Z workers freelance)
Q2: What is your current age?
Younger generations freelance more:
53% of workers ages 18-22 freelanced this year –
the highest participation of any age bracket since the study's
2014 launch
16
Composition
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Among types of work, providing services is most common,
especially skilled services
17
30%
Sell unskilled
services/labor
45%
Sell skilled
services/labor
26%
Sell goods
29%
Do other activities
Q22b_19: What does your freelance workentail? (Multiple responses accepted)
Examples given for “sell skilled services”: computer programming, w riting, design, IT, marketing, business consulting, etc.,Examples given for “sell goods”: at consignment shops, flea markets, or
online via sites like eBay; renting property via Airbnb, etc., Examples given for “sell unskilled services/labor”: dog w alking, cleaning, ridesharing, deliveries, personaltasks, etc.
Composition
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Freelancers participate in a diverse range of work and often
engage in multiple types
18
Q22b_19: What does your freelance workentail? (Multiple responses accepted)
Note: Total % w ho do this type does not alw ays add up because of rounding
30%
15%
11%
23%
14%
15%
15%
7%
Selling skilled
services/labor
Selling unskilled
services/labor
Selling goods Other activities
Do this type of freelancing only
(i.e., Exclusively)
Do this type of freelancing
along with at least 1 other type
(i.e., Multiple types)
30%
45%
26%
29%
Total % of freelancers
who do this type of
work
What does your freelance work entail?
[Freelancers,multiple responses accepted]
Composition
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Freelancers get paid in various ways, while also working with a
large portfolio of clients
19
Paid on a
fixed fee
48%
Paid hourly
29%
Q31_2b_19: How do you typically get paid for your w ork?
Q31_8: Approximately, how many different clients have you had in the past six months as part of your freelance w ork?
Paid both
fixed/
hourly
23%
Median number of
clients freelancers
have worked with in
the past six months
5
Composition
How do you typically get paid for your work?
[Freelancers]
How many different clients have you had in the
past six months as part of your freelance work?
[Freelancers]
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
2%
6%6%
12%
11%
21%
28%
13%
4%
7%
9%10%10%
17%
19%19%
MoonlighterGig workerOn-demand
worker
Small business
owner
ContractorFreelancerSelf-employedIndependent
worker
The vast majority don't describe themselves as “gig workers”
20
How freelancers describe themselves
[Freelancersand full-time freelancers]
Q21_12_19: Which of the follow ing terms best describes you?
Freelancers
Full-time freelancers
Composition
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Occupations vary, though creative skills lead the way
21
21%
25%
25%
27%
29%
29%
31%
32%
32%
35%
42%
42%
52%
55%
75%
79%
75%
75%
73%
71%
71%
69%
68%
68%
65%
58%
58%
48%
45%
25%
Production/Manufacturing
Healthcare support
Office work/Administrative support
Healthcare (practitioners, technical staff)
Food prep/service
Management (of any industry)
Finance/Business operations
Education
Retail/Sales
Transportation
Computers/Mathematics
Architecture/Engineering
Construction
Entertainment
Arts & Design
Freelancers Non-freelancers
Proportion of each occupation that freelance
[U.S. workers;onlyoccupations with >100 respondents shown]
Q6_19: Please select the type of w orkyou currently perform.
Composition
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
The Impacts of
Freelancing:
Lifestyle,
Geographic,
Economic
22
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8%
24%
39%
29%
13%
27%
28%
32%
None of the above
After realizing that freelancing was a
lifestyle I wanted (schedule flexibility,
autonomy, etc.)
After a major life event (graduation,
became a parent, health issue, job
loss, etc.)
After realizing that I could make more
money freelancing
Freelancer
Full-time freelancer
68%
of freelancers started
freelancing within the
last 5 years
Q47: How long ago did you start freelancing?
Q47a_19: Which best describes how you started freelancing?
More than 2 in 3 started freelancing in the past 5 years,
full-time freelancers often spurred by a major life event
23
Which best describes how you started
freelancing?
[Freelancersand full-time freelancers]
Lifestyle cLifestyle Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
79%
77% 74% 74% 73% 72% 71% 71% 71%
68%
73%
66% 65% 64% 66%
59%
62%
66%
75%
54%
To have
flexibility in my
schedule (i.e.,
what days or
times I work)
To be my own
boss
To work from the
location of my
choosing
To be able to
choose my own
projects
To have a
schedule that
enables me to
pursue my
personal
passions
To be in control
of my own
financial future
To have
independence
from things such
as office
dynamics
To be able to
pursue work I
am passionate
about or find
meaningful
To earn extra
money
To be able to
spend more time
with family
Full-time freelancer Part-time freelancer
Most full-timers freelance in order to have a more flexible lifestyle –
extra income is also a benefit, especially for part-timers
24
To what degree is each of the following a reason why you freelance?
[Freelancers,% who select4-5 “a majorreason”on a 5-pointscale]
Q35b: Please indicate the degree to w hich each of the follow ing is a reason w hyyou freelance?
Lifestyle cLifestyle Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
43% 40%
17%
Health issue(s) (physical
disease, disability,
mental health, etc.)
Family obligation(s)
(caregiving, childcare,
etc.)
Other
Why aren’t you able to work a traditional job?
[Freelancersunableto work for a traditional employer]
Freelancing enables an increasing number of people who
couldn’t work for a traditional employer
25
46% agree freelancing gives flexibility they need because they are unable to
work for a traditional employer due to personal circumstances
Q44_3a_19: Which of the follow ing is closest to w hy you said that you w eren’t able to w orkfor a traditionalemployer due to personalcircumstances?
Q44_2: Please indicate your agreement w ith the follow ing statements about freelancing. Statement: Because of personalcircumstances (health issues, childcare needs, etc.) Iam not able to w orkfor a traditionalemployer
on an ongoing basis, but freelancing gives me the flexibility I need
+4 points since 2018
represents
1 in 5
of all freelancers
Lifestyle cLifestyle Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
In freelancers' own words…
26
Please describe the personal circumstances you face, why you are unable to
work for a traditional employer on an ongoing basis, and how freelancing gives
you the flexibility you need
[Freelancerswho agree,not able to work for traditional employer]
“Freelancing gives me the bestchoice because,with back
issues,I can't work a regular job; I'm in pain mostdays.
This is a great way to make extra income.” – Female,30
“I have a child with specialneeds,and cannot find
affordable,trustworthy childcare for him.” – Female,45
“I was injured severelyin an automobile accidentyears ago.
Although I eventually recovered,I still sufferfrom residual pain,
migraines, back pains and arthritis. During that time I began to see
unforeseenissues could wipe you out financially. That's when I
started thinking of ways to take control of my own future.” – Male,39
Q44_3a_19. Which of the follow ing is closest to w hy you said you w eren’t able to w orkfor a traditionalemployer due to personalcircumstances?
Q44_3: You said that because of personalcircumstances (health issues, childcare needs, etc.) you are not able to w orkfor a traditionalemployer on an ongoing basis, but
freelancing gives you the flexibility you need. Please describe the personalcircumstances you face, whyyou are unable to w orkfor a traditional employer on an ongoing basis,
and how freelancing gives you the flexibility you need. (Reminder, responses are anonymous)
“I have an immune disorderthat makes me sick quite often so being
able to take care of myself at home & work from home remotely
makes it possible to work no matter what I'm dealing with physically or
health wise even working from a hospital if necessary.” – Female,25
“My wife and I had a baby a little over a year ago. Childcare is expensive,
and my wife works part time. Working freelance allows me to stay home
with our kid when she goes to work, but still also make some money for
our family.” – Male,30
Lifestyle Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Freelancers appreciate the increased location flexibility to work
from wherever they’d like
27
71%
of freelancers agree
“Freelancing gives me the
opportunity to do my work from
anywhere I choose”
Q44_4. Please indicate your agreement w ith these additional statements about freelancing.
46%
of freelancers agree
“I would consider moving to a
city that offered a significant tax
break for freelancers”
GeographiccGeographic Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
11%
12%
16%
21%
25%
28%
31%
34%
I'd become a digital nomad (i.e., work while
traveling and/or moving frequently)
Abroad (outside the U.S.)
A university town
A rural area
A small city/town with a population of 100,000 or
less
A suburban area outside a city
A medium-sized city, with a population of less
than a million people
A large city, with a population of more than a
million people
If opportunities for freelancing were the same, which of the following would you consider moving to?
[Freelancers]
Many freelancers would consider moving, with 7 in 10
interested in options other than a large city
28
Q44_5_19. If the opportunities w ere the same, w hich of the follow ing would you consider moving to?
GeographiccGeographic Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
73%
60%
27%
27%
40%
73%
Skilled freelancer Freelancer Non-freelancer
Does work remotely Does not do work remotely
Nearly 3 in 4 skilled freelancers work remotely; half do most or all
of their work remotely
29
What proportion of your work is done remotely?
[Skilledfreelancerswho do work remotely]
1%
18%
31%
22%
27%
None of my work
A little of my work
Some of my work
Most of my work
All of my work
Q23a_19: Do you do any w orkremotely?
Q23b_19: What proportion of your w orkis done remotely?
Do you do any work remotely?
[Skilledfreelancers,freelancers,non-freelancers]
GeographiccGeographic Impact
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Skilled freelancers report being very productive when working
remotely, even more so than when they are on site
30
63%
55%
Remotely
On-site in a traditional office
Q24_19: How productive are you w hen working in the follow ing settings?
How productive are you when working in the following settings?
[Skilledfreelancers;% very productive]
Geographic Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Freelancing contributes nearly a trillion dollars each year to
the U.S. economy – almost 5% of GDP
31
NEARLY
$1 trillion
in annual earnings from
freelancing
Q31_2: Over the past year, how much money did you earn in total from freelancing, before taxes or other deductions?
Annualearnings calculated by multiplying the total number of freelancers by the average annual income from freelance
w ork.
$28
Median hourly rate among
skilled freelancers
Among freelancers overall,
median hourly rate: $20
Economic Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Freelancing makes up nearly 5% of GDP – more than that
of other industries like construction, transportation and
mining
1.6%
3.2%
4.1%
4.8%
5.5%
7.6%
11.4%
Mining
Transportation and warehousing
Construction
Freelancing
Information
Professional, scientific, technical services
Manufacturing
Freelancers
Percent of GDP
[Selected industries]
Economic Impact
32
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Perceptions of income stability are changing, with multiple
sources seen as more secure for the majority of freelancers
33
Q44_2: Please indicate your agreement w ith the follow ing statements about freelancing.
Q77e_19: If there w ere a recession, would you consider freelancing?
Q77a_19: To w hat extent do each of the follow ing statements describe your current financialsituation?
non-freelancers would
consider freelancing if
there were a recession
(76%)
3 in 4
65%
“Having a diversified portfolio of income
from multipleclients is more secure
than having one employer”
[Full-time freelancers, % strongly/somewhat agree]
+12 points vs. 2016
93%
“If I ever need to, I can work more to
earn more money”
[Full-time freelancers, % applies]
Economic Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Most freelancers are proactive in preparing for
an economic downturn
34
77%
of full-time
freelancers are taking
steps to prepare for a
future economic
downturn
Some of the steps they are taking:
[Among all freelancers]
- Seeking out additional skill training or development to build a skill portfolio
- Considering seeking out a traditional full-time job
- Planning to transition careers to a more in-demand industry
- Returning to school for more education
Q77d_19: What steps, if any, are you taking to prepare for a future economic dow nturn?
68% of freelancers vs.
45% of non-freelancers
Economic Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
33%
24%
17%
12%
14%
60%
30%
10%
More Less The same
Freelancers who left a traditional job earn more, and most took
less than 6 months to do it
35
1 in 4
freelancers
quit or left a job with an
employer in order to
freelance (26%)
As a freelancer now,do you earn more or
less than when you had an employer?
[Freelancers who left an employer to freelance]
Q29a: In the past, did you quit or leave a job w ith an employer in order to freelance?
Q29b: As a freelancer now, do you earn more or less than w hen you had an employer?
How long did it take you to earn more as a
freelancerthan you did with an employer?
[Freelancers who make more after quitting a job in
order to freelance]
Immediately
Less than 6 Months
6 months – 1 Year
1-2 Years
Over 2 Years
Economic Impact
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Freelancing
Challenges
36
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Q78_1_19: Please indicate to w hat extent you are concerned about each of the follow ing issues.
Scale: Very concerned, somewhat concerned, not very concerned, not concerned at all
U.S. workers share similar concerns regardless of whether they
freelance or not
37
Please indicate to what extent you are concerned about each of the following issues
[Showing issues with highest% of very/somewhatconcern]
Freelancers Non-
freelancers
Unpredictable income
High taxation rates
Accessto affordable
healthcare
Being able to put enough
money into savings
Saving for retirement
4 of the top 5 issues for freelancers and non-freelancers are the same
Being paid a fair rate
Challenges
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
53%
55%
57%
59%
59%
60%
62%
63%
63%
65%
70%
72%
72%
72%
72%
75%
76%
Access to loans
Competition from large businesses
Competition from other freelancers
Complying with (or knowing) legal regulations
Finding information about benefit options
Non-payment or late payment for work
Having opportunities for career growth
Forgoing the purchase of things I need
Difficulty finding work
Debt
An economic downturn in the next few years
High taxation rates
Access to affordable healthcare
Being paid a fair rate
Unpredictable income
Saving for retirement
Being able to put enough money into savings
38
Top concerns for freelancers are related to finances,
especially savings and income predictability
Q78_1_19: Please indicate to w hat extent you are concerned about each of the follow ing issues.
Scale: Very concerned, somewhat concerned, not very concerned, not concerned at all
Challenges
Please indicate to what extent you are concerned about each of the following issues
[Freelancers,% very/somewhatconcerned]
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Freelancers are better prepared to cover short-term emergencies
but more likely to struggle with debt and managing daily expenses
39
Q77a_19: To w hat extent do each of the follow ing statements describe your current financialsituation?
.
[% applies somewhat/completely]
Challenges
“I have college loans or other debts to pay off”
“I feel like I live ‘paycheck to paycheck’”
“I have enough money to cover emergencies”
Freelancers Non-freelancers
“I have enough money to go without 2 weeks' pay”
36%46%
53%59%
44%52%
31%43%
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Full-time freelancers deal with the “downs” of freelancing by
expanding their outreach and finding additional work
As a freelancer, how do you deal with the “downs” of freelancing? (Top 3 methods)
[Among full-time freelancers, % selected as one of top 3 Methods]
8%
20%
20%
22%
23%
27%
34%
None of the above
I consult with other freelancers for additional leads or contacts to
find more work
I do nothing differently – I'm confident that my work situation will
stabilize over time
I turn to freelancer organizations/websites to find additional
freelance opportunities
I dip into my savings to cover any financial responsibilities I have
I find additional temporary gigs (i.e., rideshare, seasonal work,
etc.)
I expand my efforts and time dedicated to finding more work
Q77c_19: As a freelancer, how do you deal w ith the “dow ns”of freelancing (i.e., having difficulty finding clients/sourcing w ork, having pay issues)?
Challenges
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
33%
51%
Non-freelancers Freelancers
59% 59% 64%
Millennial
freelancers
Skilled
freelancers
Full-time
freelancer
Q70_3: How politically active are you? (e.g., volunteering for a candidate/political organization, attending rallies, engaging in politically-related socialmedia activity, etc.)?
Scale: Very active, somew hat active, not very active, not active at all
% Who are politically active
[Very/somewhatactive]
+18 points
freelancers
are more
active
Freelancers are more politically active, especially younger,
skilled and full-time freelancers
41
Challenges
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Q107a: What factors should politicians most focus on to encourage more freelancers to move to their city/state? [Multiple Response Allow ed]
1
2
3
What factors should politicians most focus on to encourage more freelancers to
move to their city/state?
[Freelancers]
45%
Make healthcare more
affordableand
available
4 5
23%
Offertraining and
resources to support
people in building
freelance careers
Above all else, freelancers want politicians to focus on making
healthcare more affordable and available
42
31%
Tax incentives to help
freelancers save for
retirement
24%
Rent control and
housing programs to
help improve costof
living
24%
Better protections to
ensure freelancers
get paid on time and
in full fortheir work
Challenges
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Q78_5: Do you currently have health insurance? [Yes/No]
Q78_6. How do you get your health insurance?
Q78_7: Do you currently pay more or less in health insurance premium than you did last year?
2%
7%
25%
12%
18%
17%
19%
2%
7%
12%
15%
19%
21%
24%
Other
Through my parents’ plan
Through my employer’s plan
Through my spouse’s plan
Medicare
Medicaid
Through a plan that I purchase
myself
Full-time freelancers
Freelancers
Source of health insurance
[Freelancersand full-time freelancers]
47% of full-time
freelancers (and
35% of freelancers
overall) that
purchased their own
plan reported
paying more in
health insurance
premiums than
they paid last
year.
83%
of full-time freelancers
indicate they currently
have health insurance
The vast majority of freelancers have health insurance, and many
are paying for it on their own
43
Challenges
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Q78_9: When it comes to benefits, w hich of the following options w ould you prefer? Options: Taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on your ow n,
Taking home less pay and receiving a benefits package from your employer or clients
33%
When it comes to benefits, which of the following
options would you prefer?
[Freelancers]
67%
Taking home more pay
and purchasing benefits
on your own
Taking home less pay
and receiving a benefits
package from your
employeror clients
Among freelancers, two-thirds prefer to take home more pay and
purchase benefits for themselves
44
81% of full-time
freelancers would prefer
to take home more pay
Challenges
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Freelancers’
Perspectives
on Training
and Skills
45
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Being a freelancer means owning and growing a small business
46
22%
What percentage of your time on freelance work is
spent on the following?
[Freelancers]
53%
Business building activities
(marketing your services,
networking, prospecting
new clients)
Billable work (i.e.,
client work)
Administrative activities (i.e.,
invoicing, paperwork, managing
finances)
Q25a. What % of your time on freelance w orkis spent on the follow ing?
25%
Training
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Freelancers crave more training on freelance business skills
47
23%
31%
31%
28%
31%
29%
34%
39%
38%
37%
42%
41%
25%
27%
28%
28%
30%
30%
33%
35%
36%
36%
39%
40%
How to transition to a new field
Training on protecting your work with contracts
Project management and productivity
How to be productive when working remotely
Negotiation
New skills outside my field
Financial management and budgeting
Marketing
How to find work
How to start and grow a freelance career
New skills in my field
Networking skills
Freelancers
Skilled
freelancers
On which topics would you like additional education or training to
improve your skills and make you more competitive?
[% select as top 3 reason]
Q21_19: How important are the follow ing skills for your work?
Q21_13: On w hich topics would you like additional education or training to improve your skills and make you more competitive?
of freelancers find
freelance business skills
are important to their work
81%
Training
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Freelancers, especially compared to non-freelancers, recognize
cost as a barrier to skill-training and education
48
Does cost get in the way of getting the skill-
related education or training you want or need?
[Freelancers]
57%of freelancers say yes
(vs. 40% of non-freelancers)
64% of full-time freelancers
and 60% of skilled
freelancers say cost gets in
way
Freelancers
Non-freelancers
Q21_10: Does cost get in the w ay of getting skill-related education or training you w ant or need?
Training
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Soft skills are extremely important, on par with hard skills
29% 32%
61% 58%
Hard Skills Soft Skills
90% 90%
How important are the
following skills to your work?
[Freelancers]
78%of freelancersagree
there should be more
education available on the
soft skills necessary to be
successful professionally
92%of freelancersagree
Q21_19. How important are the follow ing skills for your work?
Q22_12. How usefulw asthe skill-related education or training you have received to the w orkyou do now ?
Q21d_19. Please indicate w hether you agree or disagree w ith the follow ing statements?
Very
Important
Somewhat
Important
soft skills are at least equally
as important as technical
skills to succeed in my work
Training
49
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4 in 5 skilled freelancers recognize the value of skill training to
their work and future opportunities
50
57%
66%
71%
73%
I am updating my skills to
ensure I'm marketable as
the job market evolves
Skill training has been
essential to my work
Freelancers
Non-freelancers
[Strongly/somewhatagree]
[Strongly/somewhatagree]
Q22_12: Please indicate how much you agree w ith each of the follow ing statements about your w ork.
Training
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5%
11%
17%
21%
26%
32%
9%
8%
11%
19%
17%
18%
24%
19%
14%
22% 18%
8%
Skilled freelancers Freelancers Non-freelancers
Within the last week
Within the last month
Within the last 6 months
Within the last year
Over a year ago
Never
More than half of freelancers had skill training in the past 6
months, compared to 2 in 5 non-freelancers
51
When was the last time you participated in any skill-related education or training?
[Freelancers,non-freelancers,and skilled-freelancers]
Q21_3: When w as the last time you participated in any skill-related education or training?
54%
participated
in the last 6
months
40%
participated
in the last 6
months
65%
participated
in the last 6
months
Training
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Freelancers are looking to keep their skills up-to-date in their
field and expand their earning potential
Q21_5_19: Which of the follow ing are the top three reasons why you participate in skill-related education or training?
16%
21%
36%
38%
40%
43%
46%
To transition to a new field
To learn how to manage a freelance business
To expand my professional network
To learn the basic skills necessary for my
work
To earn more by learning higher-paying skills
To keep up with changing technologies
To stay up-to-date with developments in my
field
Freelancers
Which of the following are the top three reasons why you participate
in skill-related education or training?
[Freelancers; % selectas top 3 reason]
Training
52
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45%
36%
36%
38%
Freelancers Non-freelancers
*Among those w ho graduated fromcollege
Q21_12: How usefulw asthe skill-related education or training you have received to the w orkyou do now ? Q21_7: Thinking back, how usefulwasthe education you got in college to the w orkyou do now ?
While largely attributing positive value to their college education,
freelancers find skill-training more useful to the work they do now
53
57%
45%
35%
43%
Freelancers Non-freelancers
92%
88%
How useful was this type of education to the work you do now?
% very
useful
% somewhat
useful
% useful
Skill-related
education
College
education*
82%
75%
Training
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Most freelancers wish education would be adaptable for freelance
work; college-educated freelancers would make changes to their
college education
54
89%
“As people increasingly do
freelance work, I wish education
better prepared us for this way
of working”
(91% of skilled freelancers)
of freelancers agree
If I could go back….
[% strongly/somewhatagree;freelancerswith
collegeeducation (bachelor’s degree+)]
62%
52%
I would change the focus of
my college education to
something closer to what I
do now
I would replace my college
education entirely with
training tailored to my
current work
Q21c_19. To w hat extent do you agree w ith the follow ing statements regarding your college
education.
Q21d_19. Please indicate w hether you agree or disagree w ith the follow ing statements
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Training
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LOOKING
AHEAD
55
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Freelancers have seen positive changes in their job market, with
more people respecting freelancing as a career choice
56
63%
of freelancers say that the freelance
job market has changed significantly
compared to 3 years ago
(96% say it has changed at all)
69%
71%
77%
80%
64%
66%
71%
77%
Professionals who are the
top in their industry are
increasingly choosing to
work independently
There is greater demand for
freelancers
Perceptions of freelancing
as a career are becoming
more positive
Technology has made it
easier to find freelance work
Freelancers Skilled freelancers
Q52: How much has the freelance job market today changed compared to 3 years ago? 9 point scale, w here 1 means has not changed at all and 9 means completely changed. Show ing 6-9 for significant change, 2-9 for any change.
Q53: (Among those reporting any change) What do you think is different about the freelance job market today compared to 3 years ago?
70% of skilled freelancers
report significant change
Looking Ahead
[Among those who report any change in the freelance job market]
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Technology is increasingly enabling freelancing, though personal
networks remain the main source of work
57
of skilled freelancers currently
obtain freelance project(s)
online
66%
68%
29%
3%
Increased Stayed the
same
Decreased
How has the percentage of your
freelancing work obtained online
changed in the past year?
[Skilledfreelancers]
Previous client (freelance) 41%
Friends and family 38%
Professional contacts 37%
Social media 37%
General freelance websites (i.e., Upwork, Guru, Fiverr) 29%
Online ads/classifieds (i.e., Craigslist) 24%
Online job boards (i.e., LinkedIn, Monster.com) 21%
Previous employer (full-time) 20%
Specialized freelance websites (i.e., 99designs, Rev.com) 18%
Sharing economy websites or apps (i.e., Uber, Airbnb) 13%
Local newspaper 12%
Employment agency / staffing firm 12%
Where did you find freelance work?
[Skilledfreelancers]
Q60_19. Do you currently obtain freelance project(s)online?
Q61_1. How has the percentage of your freelancing w orkobtained online
(w ebsites, apps, etc.) as compared to offline, changed in the past year?
Q59. Where do you typically go to find freelance w ork?
Looking Ahead
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
29%
2%
4%
5%
5%
4%
51%
$50,000-
$99,999
$100K+
Q50e. How much more w ould a traditional job w ith an employer need to pay in order for you to definitely take that traditional job and stop freelancing? Options: None; $4,999 or less; $5,000-9,999; $10,000-19,999;
$20,000-49,999; $50,000-99,999; $100,000+; There is no amount of money w here Iw ould definitely take a traditional job.
There is no amount
of money where I
would definitely
take a traditional job
>$5,000
$5,000-
$9,999
$10,000-
$19,999
$20,000-
$49,000
<$5,000
How much more would a traditional job with an employer need to pay in order
for you to definitely take that traditional job and stop freelancing?
[Freelancers]
Over half of freelancers say no amount of money would compel
them to switch back to traditional employment
58
Looking Ahead
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Best days
are ahead
77%
Best days
are ahead
91%
23%
9%
Q57. How do you see the future of freelancing in general? Options: Best days are ahead, Best days are behind
In 2014, question w as asked: How do you see the future of the freelancing job market?
Q44_2: Please indicate your agreement w ith the follow ing statements about freelancing.
2014
How do you see the future of freelancing in general?
[Freelancers]
+14 points
since 2014
Freelancers are optimistic about the future of their work and
its financial viability
59
2019
67%
“I expect my income from
freelancing to increase in
the coming year”
[Full-time freelancers, % strongly/somewhat agree]
Looking Ahead
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Yes
40%No
60%
14.8 million
moonlighters
If these moonlighters quit their
jobs, that would be nearly
5.9 million
new independent
contractors
Have you considered quitting your job in
order to work completely independently?
[Moonlighters]
Many moonlighters say they'd like to work full-time independently
60
Q11: Do you have an employer (i.e., a company that employs you)? [Yes/No]
Q12: Do you have more than one employer, job, or contract project? [Yes/No]
Q13: Do you do any w orkoutside of your primary position to supplement your income or earn additional money? [Yes/No]
Q37. Have you ever considered quitting your primary job in order to w orkcompletely independently? [Yes/No]
Looking Ahead
“Traditional” freelancers who don't have an
employer and instead do freelance,
temporary or supplemental work on a
project-to-project basis.
Workers with a primary employer who have
done work outside of their main job to earn
additional money within the past year
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Freelancing is already mainstream; even the majority of non-
freelancers expect to freelance at some point
61
6 in 10non-freelancers say it is
likely that they will do any
freelance work in the
future (59%)
8 in 10
non-freelancers would be
willing to do additional
work if it was available and
enabled them to make
more money (80%)
Q21: Would you be w illing to do additional w orkoutside of your primary job(s) if it w as available and enabled you to make more money?
Q21da_19: How likely are you to do any freelance w orkin the future?
Looking Ahead
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To get started freelancing, current freelancers recommend doing
research and starting with side projects
62
The most important things a freelancer starting out should do…
[Freelancers; only top 5 steps shown]
Q47d_19: Thinking back, w hat is the most important thing a freelancer just starting out should do? [Single select] Options: Participate in skill training or educational courses related to the w orkthey want to do, Seek out mentors and/or
coaches, Join a cow orking space, Reach out and talk to other freelancers, Join a freelancing community or professionalorganization, First start freelancing on the side before diving in fully, Seek out freelance w ebsites (i.e., Fiverr, Upw ork,
etc.) to find w ork, Research the demand for your skills/services
1 2 3
Research the
demand for your
skills/services
4
Seek out
mentors and/or
coaches
5
First start
freelancing on
the side before
diving in fully
Participate in
skill training or
educational
courses related
to the work they
want to do
Reach out and
talk to other
freelancers
Looking Ahead
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DEMOGRAPHICS
63
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5 Segments of Freelancers
Starting with the general U.S. workforce, each respondent ran through a series of questions that carefully qualified their
employment status and income in order to detect freelancing activity that might otherwise go unrecorded. The following
definitions and examples explain the 5 segments of freelancers captured:
1. Independent contractors (33% of the independent workforce / 18.8 million professionals) – “Traditional”
freelancers who don't have an employer and instead do freelance, temporary or supplemental work on a project-to-
project basis.
2. Diversified workers (30% / 17.1 million) – People with multiple sources of income from a mix of traditional
employers and freelance work. For example, someone who works part-time at a start-up, manages an Airbnb and
does freelance coding.
3. Moonlighters (26% / 14.8 million) – Professionals with a primary, traditional job who also moonlight doing freelance
work. For example, a corporate-employed web developer who does projects for non-profits in the evening.
4. Freelance business owners (5% / 2.8 million) – Freelancers who have one or more employees and consider
themselves both a freelancer and a business owner. For example, a social marketing guru who hires a team of
other social marketers to build a small agency, but still identifies as a freelancer.
5. Temporary workers (6% / 3.4 million) – Individuals with a single employer, client, job, or contract project where
their employment status is temporary. For example, a data entry worker employed by a staffing agency who is
working on a three-month assignment.
In order to qualify, freelancers had to have earned freelance income within the past 12 months.
Demographics
*Numbers do not add to 57.0 million due to rounding
64
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Independent contractors remain the largest freelancer segment,
though it was smaller than in 2014
65
30%
17.1 M 26%
14.8 M
33%
18.8 M
5%
2.8 M
6%
3.4 M
Independent
contractors
Diversified
workers
Moonlighters
Temporary
workers
Freelance
business owners
5 Segments of Freelancers
Demographics
-7pts from 2014
+12pts from 2014
-5pts from 2014
+1pt from 2014
-1pt from 2014
*Numbers do not add to 57.0 million due to rounding
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
45% 45%
10%
41%
51%
9%
42%
53%
7%
37%
58%
6%
37%
57%
6%
39%
56%
5%
Self-employed freelancer (independent
contractor, freelance business owner)
Multiple job-holder (diversified worker,
moonlighter)
Temporary worker
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
The proportion of freelancers who hold multiple jobs has grown
since 2014
66
-6pts from
2014
+11pts from
2014
-5pts from
2014
22.2M
31.9M
2.9M
Demographics
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Freelancers roughly mirror the education of the workforce overall,
but post-grads are slightly more likely to freelance
34%
26%
24%
16%
34%
26% 25%
14%
HS grad or less Some college + associate degree Bachelor's degree Post grad
What is the highest level of school you have completed?
(How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who have each education level)
Freelancers U.S. workers overall
Q68: What is the highest level of schoolyou have completed or the highest degree you have received?
Demographics
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Freelancers continue to be slightly more diverse than the general
population of U.S. workers
62%
16%
12%
5% 4%
66%
15%
10%
5% 3%
White Hispanic or Latino African or African descent Asian-American/ Asian All others
Which of the following best describes your ethnicity, racial background or heritage?
(How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who are each race/ethnicity)
Freelancers U.S. workers overall
Q3A_Which of the follow ing best describes your ethnicity, racialbackground or heritage?
Demographics
68
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
Freelancers skew more male than U.S. workers overall
59%
40%
<1%
53%
46%
<1%
Male Female Gender non-conforming; transgender; do
not identify with listed options
What gender do you more closely identify with?
(How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who identify as each gender)
Freelancers U.S. workers overall
Q1a_19: Are you…
Demographics
69
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Freelancers skew younger; more than half of freelancers are
younger than 38
11%
41%
29%
20%
7%
36%
33%
24%
18-22 23-38 39-54 55+
What is your current age?
(How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who are each age)
Freelancers U.S. workers overall
Q2: What is your current age?
Average age:
Freelancers: 40
U.S. workers overall: 42
Demographics
70
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Freelancers live all over the country, though a slightly higher
proportion live in urban areas
17%
18%
38%
26%
18%
21%
37%
24%
Northeast Midwest South West
What region do you live in?
Freelancers U.S. workers overall
36%
44%
20%
31%
49%
21%
Urban Suburban Rural
What type of area do you currently live in?
Freelancers U.S. workers overall
44% of full-time freelancers live
in urban areas
Q70: What state do you live in? Note: Answersrecoded into regions
Q71: What type of area do you currently live in? Options: Urban, Suburban, Rural
(How to read: Show ing the % of Freelancers and U.S. Workers Overall w ho live in each area)
Demographics
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A higher proportion of freelancers are parents and caregivers
compared to U.S. workers overall
46%
40%38%
35%
Caregivers (to child, parent, elderly relative, or someone else) Parents with children under 18 at home
Caregiving
(How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who are caregivers and parents)
Freelancers U.S. workers overall
Q79: Do you have any children under the age of 18 living at home?
Q79_1: Do you serve as a caregiver to any family members (children, parents, or otherw ise)?
Demographics
72
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Post-grads are most likely to freelance
35% 35%
33%
41%
HS grad or less Some college + associate
degree
Bachelor's degree Post grad
Percentage of workers among each education group who freelance
(i.e., 41% of post graduates are freelancers)
Q68: What is the highest level of schoolyou have completed or the highest degree you have received?
Demographics
73
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APPENDIX
74
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This study is commissioned by:
Upwork
Upwork is the largest freelancing website. It enables businesses to find and work with highly skilled freelancers. As an
increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, knowledge work—like software, shopping and content
before it—is shifting online as well. This shift is making it easier for clients to connect and work with talent in near real-
time and is freeing professionals everywhere from having to work at a set time and place. Our company’s mission is to
create economic opportunities so people have better lives.
Upwork is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., with offices in San Francisco and Chicago. For more information, visit
our website at www.upwork.com, join us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Freelancers Union
With 450,000 members nationwide, Freelancers Union is the fastest-growing labor organization representing the
independent workforce. We believe all workers should have the freedom to build meaningful, connected, and
independent lives – backed by a system of mutual and public support. Freelancers Union members join together to
build community, access benefits and educational resources, and form a powerful political constituency. For more
information, visit www.freelancersunion.org.
75
EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
For more details go to:
https://www.upwork.com/i/freelancing-in-america/2019/
76

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Freelancing in America: 2019

  • 1. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 1 Freelancing in America: 2019
  • 2. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Study Objectives Upwork and Freelancers Union commissioned Edelman Intelligence, an independent research firm, to conduct their sixth annual study of the U.S. freelance workforce with these objectives: 1. Size the freelance workforce, assess how it fits within the overall U.S. economy and investigate dynamics within it 2. Examine the reasons people freelance and the impacts of this way of working 3. Assess the challenges that freelancers encounter and how freelancers address them 4. Consider the types of education and training that are valuable as our workforce evolves 5. As we approach a new decade, look ahead to the role this workforce will play This deck is organized in sections to detail results per objective. 2
  • 3. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Methodology • An online survey of 6,001 U.S. adults who have done paid work in the past 12 months • Data collected June 7, 2019 – July 3, 2019 by independent research firm Edelman Intelligence • This is the sixth year the survey has beenconducted,allowing for trend data. Data collected in the summers of 2014-2018is referenced throughout the analysis and indicates the percentage point change over the past five years. • Percentage point differences betweenwaves are noted where applicable and noteworthy in the report. • Results were weighted to ensure demographic representation in line with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey • Margin of error: Overall: ±1.2% at the 95% level of confidence. Freelancers: ±2.1%, Full-time Freelancers: ±4.0%, Full-time Non-freelancers: ±1.9%. • Audiences surveyed: U.S. Workers Overall U.S. adults 18+ who have earned income from work within the past 12 months, including both freelancers and non-freelancers Freelancers Individuals who have engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past 12 months Non-freelancers Individuals who earned income through work but have not engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past 12 months.N=6,001 N=2117 N=3884 3
  • 4. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 U.S. workers overall: U.S. adults 18+ who have earned income from work within the past 12 months, including both freelancers and non-freelancers. Freelancers: Individuals who have engaged in supplemental,temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past 12 months. Full-time freelancers: Individuals who describe their current freelance work status as “full-time freelancer.” Part-time freelancers: Individuals who describe their current freelance work status as “part-time freelancer.” Skilled freelancers: Individuals who indicate that their current freelance work entails selling skilled services (e.g., computer programming, writing, design, IT, marketing, business consulting, etc.) Non-skilled freelancers: Individuals who did not indicate that their current freelance work entails selling skilled services; their work includes a combination of selling unskilled services/labor or selling goods. Non-freelancers: Individuals who earned income through work but have not engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work, within the past 12 months. Glossary – Audiences 4
  • 5. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelance Workforce Composition 57 million Americans freelanced this year, representing 35% of the U.S. workforce. The share of full-time freelancers increased from 17% in 2014 to 28% in 2019. Key Findings The most common type of freelance work is skilled services, with 45% of freelancers providing skills such as programming, marketing and consulting. 60% of freelancers say they started freelancing by choice. For the first time, as many freelancers view freelancing as a long-term career choice as they do a temporary way to make money (50% each). Since 2014, those saying they’re freelancing long-term grew from 18.5M to 28.5M. Younger generations are more likely to freelance, especially Gen Z (ages 18-22). 53% of workers ages 18-22 freelance -- the highest freelance participation rate of any age bracket since this study launched in 2014. 5
  • 6. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 The Impacts of Freelancing: Lifestyle, Geographic, Economic 71% of freelancers agree freelancing gives them the opportunity to do their work from anywhere they choose. Many freelancers would consider moving, with 7 in 10 interested in options other than a large city. Key Findings Freelancers contribute nearly $1 trillion in freelancing income to the economy -- nearly 5% of GDP (similar to the size of the information industry). 46% of freelancers agree freelancing gives them flexibility they need because they're unable to work for a traditional employer due to personal circumstances. Freelancing enables flexible lifestyles with the main reason people freelance full- time being flexibility, while part-time freelancers are most driven by earning extra income. LIFESTYLE GEOGRAPHIC ECONOMIC 6
  • 7. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancing Challenges Freelancers and non-freelancers share most of the same list of top concerns, including access to affordable healthcare, a healthy savings account, retirement funds and being paid fairly. Freelancers are more likely to have college loans or other debt to pay off (46% of freelancers compared to 36% of non-freelancers), and they are more likely to say they feel like they live “paycheck to paycheck” (59% of freelancers compared to 53% of non-freelancers). Key Findings With next year’s Presidential election looming, freelancers are 18 percentage points more politically active than non-freelancers (51% of freelancers self-identified as politically active compared to 33% of non-freelancers). Freelancers are most interested in politicians focusing on making healthcare more affordable and available. 7
  • 8. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers’ Perspectives on Skills and Training Key Findings 81% of freelancers find freelance business skills important to their work and would like additional training. The top three training areas they would like are: 1) networking 2) new skills in their field and 3) how to start and grow a freelance career. 78% of freelancers agree that soft skills are at least equally as important as technical skills to succeed in their work. Freelancers are more likely to participate in training, with 54% ​having done so in the last six months versus only 40% of non-freelancers. Skilled freelancers are even more likely, with 65% having done training the last six months. 89% of freelancers wish education better prepared them for freelance work. If they could go back, 52% say they would replace their college education entirely with training tailored to their current work. 8
  • 9. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Looking Ahead Key Findings Among the 96% who say the freelance job market has changed in the past 3 years: • 77% say technology has made it easier to find freelance work. • 71% say perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive. • 64% say professionals who are the top in their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently. 91% of freelancers say the best days are ahead for freelancing, a 14 percentage point increase since 2014. 51% of freelancers say there is no amount of money where they would definitely take a traditional job. 59% of non-freelancers say it is likely that they will do freelance work in the future. 9
  • 10. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelance Workforce Composition 10
  • 11. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 To understand the freelance workforce, we must first assess the overall job market – non-employment is at its lowest in a decade 11 U.S. Non-employment Rate [Ages 25-54] 16% 17% 18% 19% 20% 21% 22% 23% 24% 25% 26% Non-employmentRate Data sourced fromBureau of Labor Statistics Full Employment 19% Composition
  • 12. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Despite a tightening labor market, we continue to see 35% of workers freelancing 12 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 53M 53.7M 55M 56.7M 57.3M 57M Number of American workers who freelance +4 million since 2014 35% of American workers freelance Composition
  • 13. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 40% 60% Freelancers Q36: Which is closer to how you view freelancing? Options: A temporary w ayto make money; A long-term career choice Q48: Which is closer to the reason you originally started freelancing? Options: Choice; Necessity Which is closer to the reason you originally started freelancing? [Freelancers] NECESSITY CHOICE CHOICE 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 34.5M 30.1M 29.7M 29.2M 29.4M 28.5M 18.5M 23.6M 25.3M 28.1M 27.2M Long term: +10M since 2014 Which is closer to how you view freelancing? [Freelancers] With a tight labor market, those freelancing are doing so by choice, with more seeing freelancing as their long-term career 13 Freelancing out of choice: +7 points since 2014 Temporary Long-term Composition
  • 14. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 31% 29% 10% 14% 4% 5% 2% 4% Daily Weekly Bi-weekly Monthly Every other month 3-4 times a year 1-2 times a year Once a year or less While the overall size of the freelance workforce has stabilized, the frequency of freelancing within it is growing 14 How often do you engage in freelancing? [Freelancers] +5 points since 2014 Q24: How often do you engage in freelancing? Composition
  • 15. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 17% 26% 25% 29% 28% 28% 59% 50% 51% 53% 50% 44% 19% 20% 19% 16% 20% 25% 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Full-time freelancer Part-time freelancer Full-time employee who earns extra income from freelance work +6 points 15 Q31:Which of the follow ing best describes your current freelance work? Options: Full-time freelancer, part-time freelancer, full-time employee w ho earns extra income fromfreelance w ork The share of freelancers who do it full-time has increased 11 points since 2014 -15 points +11 points Composition Term to describe your freelancing? [Freelancers]
  • 16. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 53% 40% 31% 29% Gen Z (18-22) Millennial (23-38) Gen X (39-54) Baby Boomers (55+) Percentage of workers in each age group who freelance (i.e., 53% of Gen Z workers freelance) Q2: What is your current age? Younger generations freelance more: 53% of workers ages 18-22 freelanced this year – the highest participation of any age bracket since the study's 2014 launch 16 Composition
  • 17. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Among types of work, providing services is most common, especially skilled services 17 30% Sell unskilled services/labor 45% Sell skilled services/labor 26% Sell goods 29% Do other activities Q22b_19: What does your freelance workentail? (Multiple responses accepted) Examples given for “sell skilled services”: computer programming, w riting, design, IT, marketing, business consulting, etc.,Examples given for “sell goods”: at consignment shops, flea markets, or online via sites like eBay; renting property via Airbnb, etc., Examples given for “sell unskilled services/labor”: dog w alking, cleaning, ridesharing, deliveries, personaltasks, etc. Composition
  • 18. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers participate in a diverse range of work and often engage in multiple types 18 Q22b_19: What does your freelance workentail? (Multiple responses accepted) Note: Total % w ho do this type does not alw ays add up because of rounding 30% 15% 11% 23% 14% 15% 15% 7% Selling skilled services/labor Selling unskilled services/labor Selling goods Other activities Do this type of freelancing only (i.e., Exclusively) Do this type of freelancing along with at least 1 other type (i.e., Multiple types) 30% 45% 26% 29% Total % of freelancers who do this type of work What does your freelance work entail? [Freelancers,multiple responses accepted] Composition
  • 19. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers get paid in various ways, while also working with a large portfolio of clients 19 Paid on a fixed fee 48% Paid hourly 29% Q31_2b_19: How do you typically get paid for your w ork? Q31_8: Approximately, how many different clients have you had in the past six months as part of your freelance w ork? Paid both fixed/ hourly 23% Median number of clients freelancers have worked with in the past six months 5 Composition How do you typically get paid for your work? [Freelancers] How many different clients have you had in the past six months as part of your freelance work? [Freelancers]
  • 20. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 2% 6%6% 12% 11% 21% 28% 13% 4% 7% 9%10%10% 17% 19%19% MoonlighterGig workerOn-demand worker Small business owner ContractorFreelancerSelf-employedIndependent worker The vast majority don't describe themselves as “gig workers” 20 How freelancers describe themselves [Freelancersand full-time freelancers] Q21_12_19: Which of the follow ing terms best describes you? Freelancers Full-time freelancers Composition
  • 21. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Occupations vary, though creative skills lead the way 21 21% 25% 25% 27% 29% 29% 31% 32% 32% 35% 42% 42% 52% 55% 75% 79% 75% 75% 73% 71% 71% 69% 68% 68% 65% 58% 58% 48% 45% 25% Production/Manufacturing Healthcare support Office work/Administrative support Healthcare (practitioners, technical staff) Food prep/service Management (of any industry) Finance/Business operations Education Retail/Sales Transportation Computers/Mathematics Architecture/Engineering Construction Entertainment Arts & Design Freelancers Non-freelancers Proportion of each occupation that freelance [U.S. workers;onlyoccupations with >100 respondents shown] Q6_19: Please select the type of w orkyou currently perform. Composition
  • 22. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 The Impacts of Freelancing: Lifestyle, Geographic, Economic 22
  • 23. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 8% 24% 39% 29% 13% 27% 28% 32% None of the above After realizing that freelancing was a lifestyle I wanted (schedule flexibility, autonomy, etc.) After a major life event (graduation, became a parent, health issue, job loss, etc.) After realizing that I could make more money freelancing Freelancer Full-time freelancer 68% of freelancers started freelancing within the last 5 years Q47: How long ago did you start freelancing? Q47a_19: Which best describes how you started freelancing? More than 2 in 3 started freelancing in the past 5 years, full-time freelancers often spurred by a major life event 23 Which best describes how you started freelancing? [Freelancersand full-time freelancers] Lifestyle cLifestyle Impact
  • 24. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 79% 77% 74% 74% 73% 72% 71% 71% 71% 68% 73% 66% 65% 64% 66% 59% 62% 66% 75% 54% To have flexibility in my schedule (i.e., what days or times I work) To be my own boss To work from the location of my choosing To be able to choose my own projects To have a schedule that enables me to pursue my personal passions To be in control of my own financial future To have independence from things such as office dynamics To be able to pursue work I am passionate about or find meaningful To earn extra money To be able to spend more time with family Full-time freelancer Part-time freelancer Most full-timers freelance in order to have a more flexible lifestyle – extra income is also a benefit, especially for part-timers 24 To what degree is each of the following a reason why you freelance? [Freelancers,% who select4-5 “a majorreason”on a 5-pointscale] Q35b: Please indicate the degree to w hich each of the follow ing is a reason w hyyou freelance? Lifestyle cLifestyle Impact
  • 25. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 43% 40% 17% Health issue(s) (physical disease, disability, mental health, etc.) Family obligation(s) (caregiving, childcare, etc.) Other Why aren’t you able to work a traditional job? [Freelancersunableto work for a traditional employer] Freelancing enables an increasing number of people who couldn’t work for a traditional employer 25 46% agree freelancing gives flexibility they need because they are unable to work for a traditional employer due to personal circumstances Q44_3a_19: Which of the follow ing is closest to w hy you said that you w eren’t able to w orkfor a traditionalemployer due to personalcircumstances? Q44_2: Please indicate your agreement w ith the follow ing statements about freelancing. Statement: Because of personalcircumstances (health issues, childcare needs, etc.) Iam not able to w orkfor a traditionalemployer on an ongoing basis, but freelancing gives me the flexibility I need +4 points since 2018 represents 1 in 5 of all freelancers Lifestyle cLifestyle Impact
  • 26. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 In freelancers' own words… 26 Please describe the personal circumstances you face, why you are unable to work for a traditional employer on an ongoing basis, and how freelancing gives you the flexibility you need [Freelancerswho agree,not able to work for traditional employer] “Freelancing gives me the bestchoice because,with back issues,I can't work a regular job; I'm in pain mostdays. This is a great way to make extra income.” – Female,30 “I have a child with specialneeds,and cannot find affordable,trustworthy childcare for him.” – Female,45 “I was injured severelyin an automobile accidentyears ago. Although I eventually recovered,I still sufferfrom residual pain, migraines, back pains and arthritis. During that time I began to see unforeseenissues could wipe you out financially. That's when I started thinking of ways to take control of my own future.” – Male,39 Q44_3a_19. Which of the follow ing is closest to w hy you said you w eren’t able to w orkfor a traditionalemployer due to personalcircumstances? Q44_3: You said that because of personalcircumstances (health issues, childcare needs, etc.) you are not able to w orkfor a traditionalemployer on an ongoing basis, but freelancing gives you the flexibility you need. Please describe the personalcircumstances you face, whyyou are unable to w orkfor a traditional employer on an ongoing basis, and how freelancing gives you the flexibility you need. (Reminder, responses are anonymous) “I have an immune disorderthat makes me sick quite often so being able to take care of myself at home & work from home remotely makes it possible to work no matter what I'm dealing with physically or health wise even working from a hospital if necessary.” – Female,25 “My wife and I had a baby a little over a year ago. Childcare is expensive, and my wife works part time. Working freelance allows me to stay home with our kid when she goes to work, but still also make some money for our family.” – Male,30 Lifestyle Impact
  • 27. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers appreciate the increased location flexibility to work from wherever they’d like 27 71% of freelancers agree “Freelancing gives me the opportunity to do my work from anywhere I choose” Q44_4. Please indicate your agreement w ith these additional statements about freelancing. 46% of freelancers agree “I would consider moving to a city that offered a significant tax break for freelancers” GeographiccGeographic Impact
  • 28. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 11% 12% 16% 21% 25% 28% 31% 34% I'd become a digital nomad (i.e., work while traveling and/or moving frequently) Abroad (outside the U.S.) A university town A rural area A small city/town with a population of 100,000 or less A suburban area outside a city A medium-sized city, with a population of less than a million people A large city, with a population of more than a million people If opportunities for freelancing were the same, which of the following would you consider moving to? [Freelancers] Many freelancers would consider moving, with 7 in 10 interested in options other than a large city 28 Q44_5_19. If the opportunities w ere the same, w hich of the follow ing would you consider moving to? GeographiccGeographic Impact
  • 29. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 73% 60% 27% 27% 40% 73% Skilled freelancer Freelancer Non-freelancer Does work remotely Does not do work remotely Nearly 3 in 4 skilled freelancers work remotely; half do most or all of their work remotely 29 What proportion of your work is done remotely? [Skilledfreelancerswho do work remotely] 1% 18% 31% 22% 27% None of my work A little of my work Some of my work Most of my work All of my work Q23a_19: Do you do any w orkremotely? Q23b_19: What proportion of your w orkis done remotely? Do you do any work remotely? [Skilledfreelancers,freelancers,non-freelancers] GeographiccGeographic Impact
  • 30. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Skilled freelancers report being very productive when working remotely, even more so than when they are on site 30 63% 55% Remotely On-site in a traditional office Q24_19: How productive are you w hen working in the follow ing settings? How productive are you when working in the following settings? [Skilledfreelancers;% very productive] Geographic Impact
  • 31. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancing contributes nearly a trillion dollars each year to the U.S. economy – almost 5% of GDP 31 NEARLY $1 trillion in annual earnings from freelancing Q31_2: Over the past year, how much money did you earn in total from freelancing, before taxes or other deductions? Annualearnings calculated by multiplying the total number of freelancers by the average annual income from freelance w ork. $28 Median hourly rate among skilled freelancers Among freelancers overall, median hourly rate: $20 Economic Impact EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
  • 32. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancing makes up nearly 5% of GDP – more than that of other industries like construction, transportation and mining 1.6% 3.2% 4.1% 4.8% 5.5% 7.6% 11.4% Mining Transportation and warehousing Construction Freelancing Information Professional, scientific, technical services Manufacturing Freelancers Percent of GDP [Selected industries] Economic Impact 32
  • 33. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Perceptions of income stability are changing, with multiple sources seen as more secure for the majority of freelancers 33 Q44_2: Please indicate your agreement w ith the follow ing statements about freelancing. Q77e_19: If there w ere a recession, would you consider freelancing? Q77a_19: To w hat extent do each of the follow ing statements describe your current financialsituation? non-freelancers would consider freelancing if there were a recession (76%) 3 in 4 65% “Having a diversified portfolio of income from multipleclients is more secure than having one employer” [Full-time freelancers, % strongly/somewhat agree] +12 points vs. 2016 93% “If I ever need to, I can work more to earn more money” [Full-time freelancers, % applies] Economic Impact
  • 34. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Most freelancers are proactive in preparing for an economic downturn 34 77% of full-time freelancers are taking steps to prepare for a future economic downturn Some of the steps they are taking: [Among all freelancers] - Seeking out additional skill training or development to build a skill portfolio - Considering seeking out a traditional full-time job - Planning to transition careers to a more in-demand industry - Returning to school for more education Q77d_19: What steps, if any, are you taking to prepare for a future economic dow nturn? 68% of freelancers vs. 45% of non-freelancers Economic Impact
  • 35. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 33% 24% 17% 12% 14% 60% 30% 10% More Less The same Freelancers who left a traditional job earn more, and most took less than 6 months to do it 35 1 in 4 freelancers quit or left a job with an employer in order to freelance (26%) As a freelancer now,do you earn more or less than when you had an employer? [Freelancers who left an employer to freelance] Q29a: In the past, did you quit or leave a job w ith an employer in order to freelance? Q29b: As a freelancer now, do you earn more or less than w hen you had an employer? How long did it take you to earn more as a freelancerthan you did with an employer? [Freelancers who make more after quitting a job in order to freelance] Immediately Less than 6 Months 6 months – 1 Year 1-2 Years Over 2 Years Economic Impact
  • 36. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancing Challenges 36
  • 37. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Q78_1_19: Please indicate to w hat extent you are concerned about each of the follow ing issues. Scale: Very concerned, somewhat concerned, not very concerned, not concerned at all U.S. workers share similar concerns regardless of whether they freelance or not 37 Please indicate to what extent you are concerned about each of the following issues [Showing issues with highest% of very/somewhatconcern] Freelancers Non- freelancers Unpredictable income High taxation rates Accessto affordable healthcare Being able to put enough money into savings Saving for retirement 4 of the top 5 issues for freelancers and non-freelancers are the same Being paid a fair rate Challenges
  • 38. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 53% 55% 57% 59% 59% 60% 62% 63% 63% 65% 70% 72% 72% 72% 72% 75% 76% Access to loans Competition from large businesses Competition from other freelancers Complying with (or knowing) legal regulations Finding information about benefit options Non-payment or late payment for work Having opportunities for career growth Forgoing the purchase of things I need Difficulty finding work Debt An economic downturn in the next few years High taxation rates Access to affordable healthcare Being paid a fair rate Unpredictable income Saving for retirement Being able to put enough money into savings 38 Top concerns for freelancers are related to finances, especially savings and income predictability Q78_1_19: Please indicate to w hat extent you are concerned about each of the follow ing issues. Scale: Very concerned, somewhat concerned, not very concerned, not concerned at all Challenges Please indicate to what extent you are concerned about each of the following issues [Freelancers,% very/somewhatconcerned]
  • 39. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers are better prepared to cover short-term emergencies but more likely to struggle with debt and managing daily expenses 39 Q77a_19: To w hat extent do each of the follow ing statements describe your current financialsituation? . [% applies somewhat/completely] Challenges “I have college loans or other debts to pay off” “I feel like I live ‘paycheck to paycheck’” “I have enough money to cover emergencies” Freelancers Non-freelancers “I have enough money to go without 2 weeks' pay” 36%46% 53%59% 44%52% 31%43%
  • 40. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 40 Full-time freelancers deal with the “downs” of freelancing by expanding their outreach and finding additional work As a freelancer, how do you deal with the “downs” of freelancing? (Top 3 methods) [Among full-time freelancers, % selected as one of top 3 Methods] 8% 20% 20% 22% 23% 27% 34% None of the above I consult with other freelancers for additional leads or contacts to find more work I do nothing differently – I'm confident that my work situation will stabilize over time I turn to freelancer organizations/websites to find additional freelance opportunities I dip into my savings to cover any financial responsibilities I have I find additional temporary gigs (i.e., rideshare, seasonal work, etc.) I expand my efforts and time dedicated to finding more work Q77c_19: As a freelancer, how do you deal w ith the “dow ns”of freelancing (i.e., having difficulty finding clients/sourcing w ork, having pay issues)? Challenges
  • 41. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 33% 51% Non-freelancers Freelancers 59% 59% 64% Millennial freelancers Skilled freelancers Full-time freelancer Q70_3: How politically active are you? (e.g., volunteering for a candidate/political organization, attending rallies, engaging in politically-related socialmedia activity, etc.)? Scale: Very active, somew hat active, not very active, not active at all % Who are politically active [Very/somewhatactive] +18 points freelancers are more active Freelancers are more politically active, especially younger, skilled and full-time freelancers 41 Challenges
  • 42. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Q107a: What factors should politicians most focus on to encourage more freelancers to move to their city/state? [Multiple Response Allow ed] 1 2 3 What factors should politicians most focus on to encourage more freelancers to move to their city/state? [Freelancers] 45% Make healthcare more affordableand available 4 5 23% Offertraining and resources to support people in building freelance careers Above all else, freelancers want politicians to focus on making healthcare more affordable and available 42 31% Tax incentives to help freelancers save for retirement 24% Rent control and housing programs to help improve costof living 24% Better protections to ensure freelancers get paid on time and in full fortheir work Challenges
  • 43. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Q78_5: Do you currently have health insurance? [Yes/No] Q78_6. How do you get your health insurance? Q78_7: Do you currently pay more or less in health insurance premium than you did last year? 2% 7% 25% 12% 18% 17% 19% 2% 7% 12% 15% 19% 21% 24% Other Through my parents’ plan Through my employer’s plan Through my spouse’s plan Medicare Medicaid Through a plan that I purchase myself Full-time freelancers Freelancers Source of health insurance [Freelancersand full-time freelancers] 47% of full-time freelancers (and 35% of freelancers overall) that purchased their own plan reported paying more in health insurance premiums than they paid last year. 83% of full-time freelancers indicate they currently have health insurance The vast majority of freelancers have health insurance, and many are paying for it on their own 43 Challenges
  • 44. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Q78_9: When it comes to benefits, w hich of the following options w ould you prefer? Options: Taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on your ow n, Taking home less pay and receiving a benefits package from your employer or clients 33% When it comes to benefits, which of the following options would you prefer? [Freelancers] 67% Taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on your own Taking home less pay and receiving a benefits package from your employeror clients Among freelancers, two-thirds prefer to take home more pay and purchase benefits for themselves 44 81% of full-time freelancers would prefer to take home more pay Challenges
  • 45. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers’ Perspectives on Training and Skills 45
  • 46. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Being a freelancer means owning and growing a small business 46 22% What percentage of your time on freelance work is spent on the following? [Freelancers] 53% Business building activities (marketing your services, networking, prospecting new clients) Billable work (i.e., client work) Administrative activities (i.e., invoicing, paperwork, managing finances) Q25a. What % of your time on freelance w orkis spent on the follow ing? 25% Training
  • 47. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers crave more training on freelance business skills 47 23% 31% 31% 28% 31% 29% 34% 39% 38% 37% 42% 41% 25% 27% 28% 28% 30% 30% 33% 35% 36% 36% 39% 40% How to transition to a new field Training on protecting your work with contracts Project management and productivity How to be productive when working remotely Negotiation New skills outside my field Financial management and budgeting Marketing How to find work How to start and grow a freelance career New skills in my field Networking skills Freelancers Skilled freelancers On which topics would you like additional education or training to improve your skills and make you more competitive? [% select as top 3 reason] Q21_19: How important are the follow ing skills for your work? Q21_13: On w hich topics would you like additional education or training to improve your skills and make you more competitive? of freelancers find freelance business skills are important to their work 81% Training
  • 48. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers, especially compared to non-freelancers, recognize cost as a barrier to skill-training and education 48 Does cost get in the way of getting the skill- related education or training you want or need? [Freelancers] 57%of freelancers say yes (vs. 40% of non-freelancers) 64% of full-time freelancers and 60% of skilled freelancers say cost gets in way Freelancers Non-freelancers Q21_10: Does cost get in the w ay of getting skill-related education or training you w ant or need? Training
  • 49. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Soft skills are extremely important, on par with hard skills 29% 32% 61% 58% Hard Skills Soft Skills 90% 90% How important are the following skills to your work? [Freelancers] 78%of freelancersagree there should be more education available on the soft skills necessary to be successful professionally 92%of freelancersagree Q21_19. How important are the follow ing skills for your work? Q22_12. How usefulw asthe skill-related education or training you have received to the w orkyou do now ? Q21d_19. Please indicate w hether you agree or disagree w ith the follow ing statements? Very Important Somewhat Important soft skills are at least equally as important as technical skills to succeed in my work Training 49
  • 50. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 4 in 5 skilled freelancers recognize the value of skill training to their work and future opportunities 50 57% 66% 71% 73% I am updating my skills to ensure I'm marketable as the job market evolves Skill training has been essential to my work Freelancers Non-freelancers [Strongly/somewhatagree] [Strongly/somewhatagree] Q22_12: Please indicate how much you agree w ith each of the follow ing statements about your w ork. Training
  • 51. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 5% 11% 17% 21% 26% 32% 9% 8% 11% 19% 17% 18% 24% 19% 14% 22% 18% 8% Skilled freelancers Freelancers Non-freelancers Within the last week Within the last month Within the last 6 months Within the last year Over a year ago Never More than half of freelancers had skill training in the past 6 months, compared to 2 in 5 non-freelancers 51 When was the last time you participated in any skill-related education or training? [Freelancers,non-freelancers,and skilled-freelancers] Q21_3: When w as the last time you participated in any skill-related education or training? 54% participated in the last 6 months 40% participated in the last 6 months 65% participated in the last 6 months Training
  • 52. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers are looking to keep their skills up-to-date in their field and expand their earning potential Q21_5_19: Which of the follow ing are the top three reasons why you participate in skill-related education or training? 16% 21% 36% 38% 40% 43% 46% To transition to a new field To learn how to manage a freelance business To expand my professional network To learn the basic skills necessary for my work To earn more by learning higher-paying skills To keep up with changing technologies To stay up-to-date with developments in my field Freelancers Which of the following are the top three reasons why you participate in skill-related education or training? [Freelancers; % selectas top 3 reason] Training 52
  • 53. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 45% 36% 36% 38% Freelancers Non-freelancers *Among those w ho graduated fromcollege Q21_12: How usefulw asthe skill-related education or training you have received to the w orkyou do now ? Q21_7: Thinking back, how usefulwasthe education you got in college to the w orkyou do now ? While largely attributing positive value to their college education, freelancers find skill-training more useful to the work they do now 53 57% 45% 35% 43% Freelancers Non-freelancers 92% 88% How useful was this type of education to the work you do now? % very useful % somewhat useful % useful Skill-related education College education* 82% 75% Training
  • 54. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Most freelancers wish education would be adaptable for freelance work; college-educated freelancers would make changes to their college education 54 89% “As people increasingly do freelance work, I wish education better prepared us for this way of working” (91% of skilled freelancers) of freelancers agree If I could go back…. [% strongly/somewhatagree;freelancerswith collegeeducation (bachelor’s degree+)] 62% 52% I would change the focus of my college education to something closer to what I do now I would replace my college education entirely with training tailored to my current work Q21c_19. To w hat extent do you agree w ith the follow ing statements regarding your college education. Q21d_19. Please indicate w hether you agree or disagree w ith the follow ing statements EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Training
  • 55. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 LOOKING AHEAD 55
  • 56. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers have seen positive changes in their job market, with more people respecting freelancing as a career choice 56 63% of freelancers say that the freelance job market has changed significantly compared to 3 years ago (96% say it has changed at all) 69% 71% 77% 80% 64% 66% 71% 77% Professionals who are the top in their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently There is greater demand for freelancers Perceptions of freelancing as a career are becoming more positive Technology has made it easier to find freelance work Freelancers Skilled freelancers Q52: How much has the freelance job market today changed compared to 3 years ago? 9 point scale, w here 1 means has not changed at all and 9 means completely changed. Show ing 6-9 for significant change, 2-9 for any change. Q53: (Among those reporting any change) What do you think is different about the freelance job market today compared to 3 years ago? 70% of skilled freelancers report significant change Looking Ahead [Among those who report any change in the freelance job market] EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9
  • 57. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Technology is increasingly enabling freelancing, though personal networks remain the main source of work 57 of skilled freelancers currently obtain freelance project(s) online 66% 68% 29% 3% Increased Stayed the same Decreased How has the percentage of your freelancing work obtained online changed in the past year? [Skilledfreelancers] Previous client (freelance) 41% Friends and family 38% Professional contacts 37% Social media 37% General freelance websites (i.e., Upwork, Guru, Fiverr) 29% Online ads/classifieds (i.e., Craigslist) 24% Online job boards (i.e., LinkedIn, Monster.com) 21% Previous employer (full-time) 20% Specialized freelance websites (i.e., 99designs, Rev.com) 18% Sharing economy websites or apps (i.e., Uber, Airbnb) 13% Local newspaper 12% Employment agency / staffing firm 12% Where did you find freelance work? [Skilledfreelancers] Q60_19. Do you currently obtain freelance project(s)online? Q61_1. How has the percentage of your freelancing w orkobtained online (w ebsites, apps, etc.) as compared to offline, changed in the past year? Q59. Where do you typically go to find freelance w ork? Looking Ahead
  • 58. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 29% 2% 4% 5% 5% 4% 51% $50,000- $99,999 $100K+ Q50e. How much more w ould a traditional job w ith an employer need to pay in order for you to definitely take that traditional job and stop freelancing? Options: None; $4,999 or less; $5,000-9,999; $10,000-19,999; $20,000-49,999; $50,000-99,999; $100,000+; There is no amount of money w here Iw ould definitely take a traditional job. There is no amount of money where I would definitely take a traditional job >$5,000 $5,000- $9,999 $10,000- $19,999 $20,000- $49,000 <$5,000 How much more would a traditional job with an employer need to pay in order for you to definitely take that traditional job and stop freelancing? [Freelancers] Over half of freelancers say no amount of money would compel them to switch back to traditional employment 58 Looking Ahead
  • 59. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Best days are ahead 77% Best days are ahead 91% 23% 9% Q57. How do you see the future of freelancing in general? Options: Best days are ahead, Best days are behind In 2014, question w as asked: How do you see the future of the freelancing job market? Q44_2: Please indicate your agreement w ith the follow ing statements about freelancing. 2014 How do you see the future of freelancing in general? [Freelancers] +14 points since 2014 Freelancers are optimistic about the future of their work and its financial viability 59 2019 67% “I expect my income from freelancing to increase in the coming year” [Full-time freelancers, % strongly/somewhat agree] Looking Ahead
  • 60. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Yes 40%No 60% 14.8 million moonlighters If these moonlighters quit their jobs, that would be nearly 5.9 million new independent contractors Have you considered quitting your job in order to work completely independently? [Moonlighters] Many moonlighters say they'd like to work full-time independently 60 Q11: Do you have an employer (i.e., a company that employs you)? [Yes/No] Q12: Do you have more than one employer, job, or contract project? [Yes/No] Q13: Do you do any w orkoutside of your primary position to supplement your income or earn additional money? [Yes/No] Q37. Have you ever considered quitting your primary job in order to w orkcompletely independently? [Yes/No] Looking Ahead “Traditional” freelancers who don't have an employer and instead do freelance, temporary or supplemental work on a project-to-project basis. Workers with a primary employer who have done work outside of their main job to earn additional money within the past year
  • 61. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancing is already mainstream; even the majority of non- freelancers expect to freelance at some point 61 6 in 10non-freelancers say it is likely that they will do any freelance work in the future (59%) 8 in 10 non-freelancers would be willing to do additional work if it was available and enabled them to make more money (80%) Q21: Would you be w illing to do additional w orkoutside of your primary job(s) if it w as available and enabled you to make more money? Q21da_19: How likely are you to do any freelance w orkin the future? Looking Ahead
  • 62. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 To get started freelancing, current freelancers recommend doing research and starting with side projects 62 The most important things a freelancer starting out should do… [Freelancers; only top 5 steps shown] Q47d_19: Thinking back, w hat is the most important thing a freelancer just starting out should do? [Single select] Options: Participate in skill training or educational courses related to the w orkthey want to do, Seek out mentors and/or coaches, Join a cow orking space, Reach out and talk to other freelancers, Join a freelancing community or professionalorganization, First start freelancing on the side before diving in fully, Seek out freelance w ebsites (i.e., Fiverr, Upw ork, etc.) to find w ork, Research the demand for your skills/services 1 2 3 Research the demand for your skills/services 4 Seek out mentors and/or coaches 5 First start freelancing on the side before diving in fully Participate in skill training or educational courses related to the work they want to do Reach out and talk to other freelancers Looking Ahead
  • 63. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 DEMOGRAPHICS 63
  • 64. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 5 Segments of Freelancers Starting with the general U.S. workforce, each respondent ran through a series of questions that carefully qualified their employment status and income in order to detect freelancing activity that might otherwise go unrecorded. The following definitions and examples explain the 5 segments of freelancers captured: 1. Independent contractors (33% of the independent workforce / 18.8 million professionals) – “Traditional” freelancers who don't have an employer and instead do freelance, temporary or supplemental work on a project-to- project basis. 2. Diversified workers (30% / 17.1 million) – People with multiple sources of income from a mix of traditional employers and freelance work. For example, someone who works part-time at a start-up, manages an Airbnb and does freelance coding. 3. Moonlighters (26% / 14.8 million) – Professionals with a primary, traditional job who also moonlight doing freelance work. For example, a corporate-employed web developer who does projects for non-profits in the evening. 4. Freelance business owners (5% / 2.8 million) – Freelancers who have one or more employees and consider themselves both a freelancer and a business owner. For example, a social marketing guru who hires a team of other social marketers to build a small agency, but still identifies as a freelancer. 5. Temporary workers (6% / 3.4 million) – Individuals with a single employer, client, job, or contract project where their employment status is temporary. For example, a data entry worker employed by a staffing agency who is working on a three-month assignment. In order to qualify, freelancers had to have earned freelance income within the past 12 months. Demographics *Numbers do not add to 57.0 million due to rounding 64
  • 65. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Independent contractors remain the largest freelancer segment, though it was smaller than in 2014 65 30% 17.1 M 26% 14.8 M 33% 18.8 M 5% 2.8 M 6% 3.4 M Independent contractors Diversified workers Moonlighters Temporary workers Freelance business owners 5 Segments of Freelancers Demographics -7pts from 2014 +12pts from 2014 -5pts from 2014 +1pt from 2014 -1pt from 2014 *Numbers do not add to 57.0 million due to rounding
  • 66. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 45% 45% 10% 41% 51% 9% 42% 53% 7% 37% 58% 6% 37% 57% 6% 39% 56% 5% Self-employed freelancer (independent contractor, freelance business owner) Multiple job-holder (diversified worker, moonlighter) Temporary worker 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 The proportion of freelancers who hold multiple jobs has grown since 2014 66 -6pts from 2014 +11pts from 2014 -5pts from 2014 22.2M 31.9M 2.9M Demographics
  • 67. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers roughly mirror the education of the workforce overall, but post-grads are slightly more likely to freelance 34% 26% 24% 16% 34% 26% 25% 14% HS grad or less Some college + associate degree Bachelor's degree Post grad What is the highest level of school you have completed? (How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who have each education level) Freelancers U.S. workers overall Q68: What is the highest level of schoolyou have completed or the highest degree you have received? Demographics 67
  • 68. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers continue to be slightly more diverse than the general population of U.S. workers 62% 16% 12% 5% 4% 66% 15% 10% 5% 3% White Hispanic or Latino African or African descent Asian-American/ Asian All others Which of the following best describes your ethnicity, racial background or heritage? (How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who are each race/ethnicity) Freelancers U.S. workers overall Q3A_Which of the follow ing best describes your ethnicity, racialbackground or heritage? Demographics 68
  • 69. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers skew more male than U.S. workers overall 59% 40% <1% 53% 46% <1% Male Female Gender non-conforming; transgender; do not identify with listed options What gender do you more closely identify with? (How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who identify as each gender) Freelancers U.S. workers overall Q1a_19: Are you… Demographics 69
  • 70. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers skew younger; more than half of freelancers are younger than 38 11% 41% 29% 20% 7% 36% 33% 24% 18-22 23-38 39-54 55+ What is your current age? (How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who are each age) Freelancers U.S. workers overall Q2: What is your current age? Average age: Freelancers: 40 U.S. workers overall: 42 Demographics 70
  • 71. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Freelancers live all over the country, though a slightly higher proportion live in urban areas 17% 18% 38% 26% 18% 21% 37% 24% Northeast Midwest South West What region do you live in? Freelancers U.S. workers overall 36% 44% 20% 31% 49% 21% Urban Suburban Rural What type of area do you currently live in? Freelancers U.S. workers overall 44% of full-time freelancers live in urban areas Q70: What state do you live in? Note: Answersrecoded into regions Q71: What type of area do you currently live in? Options: Urban, Suburban, Rural (How to read: Show ing the % of Freelancers and U.S. Workers Overall w ho live in each area) Demographics 71
  • 72. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 A higher proportion of freelancers are parents and caregivers compared to U.S. workers overall 46% 40%38% 35% Caregivers (to child, parent, elderly relative, or someone else) Parents with children under 18 at home Caregiving (How to read: Showing the % of freelancers and U.S. workers overall who are caregivers and parents) Freelancers U.S. workers overall Q79: Do you have any children under the age of 18 living at home? Q79_1: Do you serve as a caregiver to any family members (children, parents, or otherw ise)? Demographics 72
  • 73. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 Post-grads are most likely to freelance 35% 35% 33% 41% HS grad or less Some college + associate degree Bachelor's degree Post grad Percentage of workers among each education group who freelance (i.e., 41% of post graduates are freelancers) Q68: What is the highest level of schoolyou have completed or the highest degree you have received? Demographics 73
  • 74. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 APPENDIX 74
  • 75. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 This study is commissioned by: Upwork Upwork is the largest freelancing website. It enables businesses to find and work with highly skilled freelancers. As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, knowledge work—like software, shopping and content before it—is shifting online as well. This shift is making it easier for clients to connect and work with talent in near real- time and is freeing professionals everywhere from having to work at a set time and place. Our company’s mission is to create economic opportunities so people have better lives. Upwork is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., with offices in San Francisco and Chicago. For more information, visit our website at www.upwork.com, join us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Freelancers Union With 450,000 members nationwide, Freelancers Union is the fastest-growing labor organization representing the independent workforce. We believe all workers should have the freedom to build meaningful, connected, and independent lives – backed by a system of mutual and public support. Freelancers Union members join together to build community, access benefits and educational resources, and form a powerful political constituency. For more information, visit www.freelancersunion.org. 75
  • 76. EDEL M A N I NT EL L I GENC E / © 2 0 1 9 For more details go to: https://www.upwork.com/i/freelancing-in-america/2019/ 76