Upwork, the globe’s largest remote talent platform, posts three million jobs and transacts $1 billion of work each year. It recently released Freelance Forward 2020: The U.S. Independent Workforce Report, based on insights from 6,000 U.S. workers about the impact of COVID-19. It shows that 12% of the workforce started freelancing during the pandemic for the first time.
All up, 59 million people are freelancing – that’s more than a third of our total workforce. Some 36% of them freelance full time, which is eight percent up on last year. For those who left a job to freelance, only a quarter are making less income than previously. Half of freelancers are highly skilled, offering services such as in computer programming, marketing, IT and business consulting, etc. And it’s not just Millennials who freelance. Half of Gen Z, 44% of Millennials, 30% of Gen X, and 26% of Boomers choose freelancing.
Freelance gigs obtained through global online job platforms often get a bad rap. Some say such platforms recall disadvantaged workers in developing countries eking out a paltry living as a virtual assistant, software developer, or social media content writer, for example. Others say a job through this type of platform is simply a race to the bottom when it comes to potential earnings. But this isn’t always the case – global online job platforms have proven to be useful, as many people use such platforms to post tasks, projects, and even ongoing part-time or permanent roles. The key for freelancers is learning how to navigate these sites and present themselves attractively to those hiring, while the key for employers and recruiter is to comb through a multitude of candidates and effectively identify qualified freelancers with the exact skills they are looking for.
One entrepreneur looking to hire skills told me how she found it particularly helpful when pivoting and scaling up her business. There is no question, the ability to tap into a global talent pool at will, plus name your price and deadline, is desirable to many.
Some platforms, such as Upwork, claim it takes an average of three days to hire because the employer has a job, knows what they need, and are ready to hire now. (There are alternatives such as this site lists, too).
If you’re a professional looking for a side hustle through to ongoing work and everything in between, your profile on an online jobs platform may well be a standout. That’s if they accept your application – it can be competitive, particularly in some categories, so the more niched you are, the better. These are the skills that earn an average of $200 or more per hour on Upwork: legal entity structure, blackline, bitcoin, international accounting standards, and software licensing.
As a little-known Indian entrepreneur, Venkatesh Rao writes on his blog, The Art of Gig; there’s an assumption out there that people shouldn’t have to work