The State of Freelancing: How Freelancing Is Helping Workers in Troubled Economies around the World Find Work

Freelancing Statistics on Earnings Worldwide

Freelancing is not just a growing trend in the U.S.; it’s a worldwide phenomenon that’s giving new hope to underserved groups and/or those who live in countries with struggling economies.

A quarterly online employment report released in December 2012 by E-consultancy underscored this; illustrating how “freelancers around the globe are thriving.” This report revealed how freelancers who work online, in particular, are changing not only their personal situations, but making the economies where they live practically irrelevant to their success.


Countries Where Unemployment Is High, Yet Freelance Earnings Continue to Rise

Following are statistics from a few countries . . .

The UK: Britain’s unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in the third quarter of this year, down from 8.0 percent in the previous three months and 8.2 percent a year earlier, official statistics showed on Wednesday. [Source: Xinhua — Britain’s unemployment rate drops to 7.8% in Q3]

*How British Freelancers on Elance Fared during This Period:  Freelancers in England saw a 62% spike in their earnings in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the year before.

Freelancing Statistics on Earnings Worldwide

SPAIN: Spain’s unemployment rate hit a record high in the third quarter, with one in four out of work and more expected to lose their jobs in 2013 as the next phase of government cutbacks kicks in. [Source: Reuters, Budget cuts push Spain jobless to 25 percent]

*How Spanish Freelancers on Elance Fared during This Period:  Freelancers in Spain saw a 48% rise in their earnings in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the year before.

GREECE: Greece’s unemployment rate increased notably in the third quarter . . . The unemployment rate increased to 24.8 percent in the third quarter from 23.6 percent in the second quarter. [Source: The Greek Reporter, Greek Unemployment Rate Rises To 24.8% In Q3]

*How Greek Freelancers on Elance Fared during This Period:  Freelancers in Greece saw an astounding 167% growth in their earnings in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the year before.

*Source: E-consultancy, State of the freelance nation: stats.

Freelancing Lifting Cultural Barriers to Benefit the Underserved

Nabbesh, a self-defined “skills marketplace,” connects employers with freelancers in various niches – everything from writers to fashion designers. It’s a Dubai-based company, providing mostly Middle Eastern talent. This is particularly important because not only is unemployment high in the region, cultural norms also keep a lot of women out of the workforce.

According to the Forbes.com article, Changing the World, One Freelance Gig At A Time, only a bit more than a quarter (26%) of women participate in the workforce, although they are more likely to have a university degree than their male counterparts. The article states:

Their [female] employment rate is significantly below the average rate of 39% in low- and middle-income countries.

“Increasingly, women are becoming more educated, yet they have cultural barriers to being able to leave the home and get a full time job . . . We believe providing women with virtual and remote work options would be a game changer in this part of the world.”

Conclusion: The Future of Work IS Freelancing

As these scenarios illustrate, if you’re a freelancer who works online, the world is practically your oyster. Factors like age, race, gender and education no longer have to be a stumbling block to success.

Are you prepared to take advantage?

Your Take on Freelancing?

Do you find it more fulfilling than working a 9 to 5? If you freelance, has your income risen or fallen in the last year or so? Do you worry about “financial security”? Please share in the comments section below.

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