The Payoneer Freelancer Income Report reveals that while global unemployment reached historic highs triggered by the pandemic, freelancers have weathered the disruption relatively well. More than 30% of respondents reported higher demand for their services since the pandemic began, while 45% reported that demand stayed constant without slowing. The fields of programming, marketing, and finance showed the strongest growth.
Freelancers today get most of their business via online marketplaces. A large majority (71%) of the respondents find most of their work through online marketplaces, while only 10% rely on more traditional sources like word of mouth (often by way of email or social media introductions) and referrals.
Significant Increase in Global Hourly Freelance Rate
Compared with the previous report two years ago, there has been an increase in the average global hourly freelancing rate. Findings show the global average hourly freelance rate is now $28, significantly higher than the $21 average hourly rate reported in the 2020 Global Freelancer Income Report. With 40% of freelancers reporting that they are now charging more for their services than they did at the start of the pandemic, and demand continuing to rise, the opportunity for freelancers to succeed has never been greater. Younger freelancers were the biggest benefactors, reporting both an increase in hourly rates, and in demand.
Gender Pay Gap Persists, with a Silver Lining
The report highlights that the gender wage gap has unfortunately widened slightly since 2020. While there has been an increased number of women entering the world of freelancing, women freelancers’ pay remains behind their male counterparts, with that gap growing over the past two years. The gender pay gap amongst survey respondents is most pronounced in North America, with women reporting earnings of $37 per hour on average, compared to men who reported an average of $52per hour. Indeed, women reported earning less than men in every region of the 100 countries surveyed apart from South America, where women out-earn their male counterparts by $4/hour, likely influenced by the higher paid industries that are more in demand in these regions.
Freelancing Offers Greater Opportunities for Women
As confirmed by research from the World Economic Forum, the pandemic has set back women’s progress in the global workforce overall, in regard to both earnings and employment opportunities. However, one of the more optimistic findings from Payoneer’s report is that women’s participation in the freelance workforce continued to gain momentum and increased from 24% in the 2020 Global Freelancer Report to 29% in the 2022 report. Indeed, a less promising employment market may have opened the door for more women to enter the digital freelancing economy. In addition, women reported higher levels of satisfaction than their male counterparts, revealing the ongoing potential for freelancing to offer women an attractive alternative to the traditional workforce.