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11 Freelance Trends from Freelance Income Report 2020

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The number of freelancers is growing all over the world. Why? The world is always changing, and a lot of people are discovering that freelancing is the best way to support themselves. Not only because of the money but also because of the lifestyle.

If you’re not familiar with freelancing, you may have a lot of questions about who exactly freelancers are; exactly what types of work they do; and, very importantly, how much they earn. 

Even if you’re a freelancer yourself, you may wonder what the experience is like for others and what the current freelance trends are. 

Every year, financial services company Payoneer surveys freelancers worldwide to find out the answers to these questions. They have now released their Freelancer Income Report 2020, which surveyed over 7,000 freelancers from 150 different countries around the world. This study reveals some enlightening freelance statistics. 

I’ve written up 11 short takeaways from the Freelancer Income Report 2020 so you can get some quick insight into the world of freelancing and find out the answers to any questions you might have. 

Freelance Trends from the
Payoneer Freelancer Income Report 2020


What do current freelance trends reveal about ages of freelancers around the world? 

Not surprisingly, the freelance movement is led by younger workers. Almost 70% of freelancers surveyed are under the age of 35, and 21% are under 25. 

What age group earns the highest freelance income?

Baby Boomers. The hourly freelance rate of 55- to 64-year-olds is almost twice as high as Millennial 25- to 34-year-olds and and higher still than Gen Z freelancers. 

Which gender earns the highest freelance income?

Female freelancers earn an average of 84% of what male freelancers earn. This freelance gender pay gap is most noticeable in finance and project management. While this gap does exist, it is improving and already much smaller than the gender pay gap for all workers worldwide.

What are the most popular fields of freelance work around the world?

Web design and graphic design are the most popular fields of freelance work in the world. The least popular fields of freelance work are customer support, project management, sales and quality assurance.

Graph showing in red what percentage of freelancers work in several different freelance fields
From: Payoneer Freelancer Income Report 2020


What freelance jobs pay the best?

What freelance jobs pay the best depends on what gender you are. Male freelancers earn the most money doing project management. Female freelancers earn the highest freelance rates doing marketing and multimedia production. 

What are average freelance rates worldwide?

Freelancers worldwide charge an average of 21 USD per hour. This is an increase of 2 USD per hour from two years ago. In most countries where the survey respondents are based, this is well above the average hourly salary that employees earn.

Do most people freelance full time or work a “regular” job with a freelance side hustle?

Most people surveyed, 69%, freelance full time. Western Europe holds the most full-time freelancers, with 77% freelancing as their only source of income. The Middle East is home to only 41% full-time freelancers, with most Middle Eastern freelancers earning freelance money on the side. 

Do successful freelancers need to have degrees?

No. Actually, freelancers who have only a high school education earn more than their college-educated peers. This is because hirers care less about freelancers’ educations and more about their portfolios, ratings and experience.

Freelance trend depicted by red and yellow graph depicting how many freelancers there are for various levels of education
From: Payoneer Freelancer Income Report 2020


Where do freelancers like to get their work done? 

One of the many great aspects of freelancing is being able to work pretty much anywhere you desire. Not too surprisingly, though, most freelancers – 83% – prefer to work in the comfort of their homes. 

Do most freelancers have high job satisfaction?

Yes, they do. Not surprisingly, those earning the highest freelance income say they are more satisfied with their jobs than those earning the lowest. 

Do most people enjoy their freelance lifestyle?

Respondents gave satisfaction with their freelance lifestyle a very high four out of five ranking. Those who are part-time freelancers were not as satisfied with the freelance lifestyle as full-time freelancers.

The full Freelancer Income Report by Payoneer contains many more interesting findings. You can get the full report here

If you want to learn about freelancing trends for the United States, read these takeaways from the Freelancing in America 2019 report compiled by Freelancers Union and Upwork.


Cover image by Gerd Altmann


Sabina Lohr is a lifelong freelancer turned entrepreneur who created World of Freelancers to help others discover how to work for themselves online and live the freelance lifestyle. She’s always really enjoyed the freedom that freelancing brings, including several years on and off of working online while traveling and living abroad.

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