Freelance Market Size
Hello! Thanks for your question about the size of the freelance market by the number of freelancers in the US, Europe, and Asia. The short version is that I have found the size of the freelance market by the number of freelancers in the US, Europe, and Asia. Also, I have found percentages of the workforce and the different segments of freelancers in the US.
Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.
To research your question, I searched exhaustively through corporate websites, industry reports, and trusted media sites in an attempt to locate the desired results. I have found all aspects by using a variety of methods and calculations. Some sources were older but I justified them with direct answers to your request. The most useful research sources were Forbes and LinkedIn.
According to Forbes, the number of US freelancers is 55 million this year, up from 53 million in 2014 and 53.7 million last year. Freelancers now make up 35% of US workers, that makes one-third of the workforce according to Freelancers Union Founder and Executive Director Sara Horowitz.
EFIP states that the number of independent professionals (freelancers) in the EU rose by 24% from 7.7 million to 9.6 million between 2008 and 2015. The EU workforce as a whole decreased in size from 223 million in 2008 to 218 million in 2015. Therefore, freelancers as a percentage of the labor force in Europe is 9.6 million / 218 million = 4.4% in 2015.
The McKinsey Study found that 20-30% of the labor force in both the US and the EU is now made up of independent workers. In Spain, McKinsey's analysis of official data showed the percentage of independent earners to be 15% of the population, compared to 25% in McKinsey's survey. In the UK, the percentage of independent workers is 14% in official data and was 26% in McKinsey's survey.
Truelancer Blog claims that the number of Asian freelancers is large. They contribute 15,000,000 freelancers, which is about 12.5% of their total workforce. The total Indian freelance workforce is 24% of the total Indian number.
This article breaks down different types of freelancers:
1. Independent Contractor — this encompasses any worker who doesn’t have one specific employer.
2. Moonlighters — they have a steady job and supplement their income with other independent work on the side.
3. Diversified Workers — have a mix of income. They differ from moonlighters in that the mix is more diverse than simply a “regular” job supplemented by a contracted project.
4. Temporary Workers — these workers have projects with a finite time frame.
5. Business Owners — these workers consider themselves freelance but have employees. This is a slightly more formal arrangement of freelancing.
a.) Independent contractors — 21 million;
b.) Moonlighters — 14 million;
c.) Diversified workers — 9 million;
d.) Temp workers — 6 million;
e.) Business owners (freelance) — 3 million;
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculates the number of citizens in the Civilian Labor Force (persons classified as Employed or Unemployed) at 157,833,000 (49% of the US population).
Using numbers from the QUARTZ, I was able to determine the percentage of freelancers in the US workforce:
Independent contractors — 21 million / 157 million = 13%
Moonlighters — 14 million / 157 million = 9%
Diversified workers — 9 million / 157 million = 5%
Temp workers — 6 million / 157 million = 4%
Business owners (freelance) — 3 million / 157 million = 2%
To wrap it up, I have found the size of the freelance market by the number of freelancers in the US, Europe, and Asia. Also, I have found percentages of the workforce and the different segments of freelancers in the US.
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