The freelancer economy has grown exponentially in recent years, as more and more businesses look to cut costs and maximize efficiency by hiring international contractors and freelance workers. But what does the freelance landscape really look like going into 2023?
Remote has surveyed 3,000 business owners, freelancers and employees in the US and UK to reveal the benefits and challenges of freelance work (from both a business and worker perspective), how freelance work schedules differ from those of traditional employees, and what we can expect to see from freelancing in the coming years.
Nearly three in ten employees plan to do freelance work in the next five years
Remote’s survey revealed that almost three in 10 (28%) current employees in the US and UK plan to do freelance work in the next five years, and another 21% want to do it in the next 11 months.
Young people aged 25-34 are the most motivated of all, with 40% aiming to go freelance and over half (52%) saying they would consider it on a part-time basis.
The top five motivations for going freelance, according to employees
According to Remote’s survey, the top five biggest motivations driving current employees to consider going freelance are being in charge of when they choose to work (67%), their number of working hours (66%), and the type of work they do (64%); location flexibility (63%); and work-life balance (62%).
The top five challenges holding people back from going freelance
Although many people understand the appeal of freelance work, most also recognize that it’s not without its own challenges. The top five areas of concern for employees are finding enough work (66%), managing irregular income (62%) irregular work (60%), managing clients’ expectations (60%), and clients not paying (59%).
Freelancers work over two hours more unpaid overtime than employees
Both employees and freelancers work five days a week on average with a similar number of contracted hours, however freelancers are more likely to work overtime than employees.
The survey revealed that freelancers work an average of 13.3 hours of paid overtime and 9.7 hours unpaid overtime per week, whereas employees work 8.8 paid and 7.4 unpaid overtime hours on average.
Freelancers do however also benefit from more vacation days, reporting an average of 23.5 days of vacation per year compared to an average of 19.6 for employees. Over half (54%) of freelancers also said they take more vacation as a freelancer than they did as an employee.
The top five business benefits of hiring freelancers
28% of employers Remote spoke with said they have had a positive experience working with freelancers. The survey revealed the biggest benefits of hiring independent contractors are that it saves time (65%), is cost-effective (62%), offers a fresh perspective (61%), doesn’t need long-term commitment (60%), and offers a larger pool of talent to choose from (60%).
The top five challenges businesses face when hiring freelance workers
Working with freelancers isn’t always easy; it comes with its fair share of challenges for business owners. According to Remote’s survey, the top five challenges are freelancer knowledge of the company (53%), communication (52%), inconsistent availability (52%) and pricing (50%), and high costs (50%).