Thinking about freelancing? Turns out, it pays great.
Freelancers in the U.S. make an average of $31 an hour, which comes out to 17% more than the typical full-time employed worker, according to a survey from Payoneer. The digital payment company polled about 1,000 freelancers in a range of finance, tech, and creative roles, and found that the burgeoning population of gig workers in the U.S. is a well paid one, pretty much across the board.
Compared to the rest of the world, freelancing in the U.S. is particularly lucrative. In a larger survey published in October, Payoneer found that, globally, average freelancer pay is $19 — and more than half of the 21,000 freelancers polled (57%) charge under $15 an hour for their work.
In the U.S., the average freelance rate outpaces a traditional 9 to 5 by a long shot. As of October 2017, median weekly earnings for full time U.S. workers was just shy of $45,000 a year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. For freelancers, $31 an hour works out to about $64,000.
So what are these great gigs? It's not driving for Uber.
Payoneer’s survey drew from a pool of freelancers in traditional “desk jobs" like writing, design, and marketing work, as opposed to newer gig work like ride sharing. Other fields that are providing lucrative freelance opportunities include finance and human resources, IT and programming, as well as engineering and legal work. A third of the respondents offer a range of services, like administrative, content and design work, rather than specializing in one field.
There are some caveats, of course. Female respondents to Payoneer’s poll made an average of $27 an hour, compared to $33 an hour for males.
Environment is another factor: Freelancers who work from home make an average of $31.67 an hour, compared to $28 for people who set up shop in a co-working space, and $34 for those who work out of a private office.
Payoneer's survey didn't include a breakdown of rates for each industry, but the high overall average should come as a vote of confidence to prospective freelancers — regardless of gender, or laptop location, it supports existing research that the gig economy is here to stay. By 2021, according to one study from Intuit and Emergent Research, the number of freelancers in the U.S. will double to 9.2 million.
“Freelancing is a growing part of how the American worker works,” says Payoneer CEO Scott Galit. "It cuts across industry types, ages, education level. The trend is more freelancing.”