Remote Work and Freelancing Statistics: The Ultimate List

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Are you curious about the true state of home working? It can be hard to get a clear picture since so much has changed recently. On top of that, many articles use outdated statistics and fail to cite their sources.  So, we’ve curated, vetted, and categorized a list of the best, up-to-date remote work and freelancing statistics for you.

Click to jump to a category, or keep reading for our top home working statistics.

Top Home Working Statistics

These are the most interesting freelance and remote work statistics we could find:

  • 37% of people believe the Covid-19 pandemic has removed barriers to working remotely. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • 98% of remote workers (just prior to Covid-19) said they want to continue to work remotely at least for some of the time for the rest of their careers. (Buffer, February 2020)
  • 74% of CFOs plan to shift at least 5% of previously on-site employees to permanently remote positions post-Covid 19. (Gartner, March 2020)
  • 52% of employees believe they will continue to work from home more than they did pre-COVID-19, even after social distancing measures lift. (Lenovo, July 2020)
  • 1 in 2 people won’t return to jobs that don’t offer remote work after COVID-19. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 86% of all freelancers say the best days are ahead for freelancing. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • More experienced freelancers over the age of 55 earn more than twice as much as their 18-24-year-old peers. (Payoneer, May 2020)
  • Social media is currently used by 74% of the freelancers to promote their services, up from 65% two years ago. (Payoneer, May 2020)

Statistics on the Effect of Covid-19 on Work

Covid-19 restrictions have had a huge impact on the way we work and on the economy. Here are some of the key changes it has brought about:

  • 83% of employees were provided with little to no ability to work from home prior to the pandemic. (IBM Security, June 2020)
  • 88% of organizations have encouraged or required employees to work from home, regardless of whether or not they showed coronavirus-related symptoms. (Gartner, March 2020)
  • 97% of organizations cancelled work-related travel. (Gartner, March 2020)
  • 10% of the US workforce paused freelancing due to Covid-19 but 12% of the US workforce started freelancing for the same reason. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 70% of employees say they have purchased new technology to be able to navigate the new work from home requirements during COVID-19 (of these, 39% paid for the new tech partially or fully on their own). (Lenovo, July 2020)

Freelance Stats

Freelancing has increased significantly over the past few years and the economic impacts of the pandemic have only served to further speed the growth of this sector:

  • 71% of freelancers say that the perception of freelancing as a career is becoming more positive. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 96% of new freelancers are likely to do more freelance work in the future. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 45% of freelancers intend to increase their working hours in the next 12 months. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • 75% of the members of the US workforce who started freelancing in 2020 did so to find financial stability during this recession. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 61% of those in the US who freelanced before and during COVID-19 have the amount of work they want or more. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 91% of skilled freelancers who have used freelance websites before and during the pandemic would recommend them to anyone starting out. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 45% of skilled freelancers who were freelancing before and during COVID-19 say that they do more skilled work since the onset of the pandemic. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 20% of all freelancers have had to strengthen or learn how to rebuild their client network in a remote work environment. (Upwork, June-July 2020)

Image of man holding a tablet with freelance statistics

Freelance Workforce Statistics

  • 36% of the total US workforce freelanced in the past year. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 50% of US workers doing freelance work are from Generation Z (18-22 years old), and of these 36% see freelancing as a long-term career. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 26% of Us freelancers are 55+ years of age, primarily doing skilled and project-based work. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • New freelancers began freelancing due to major life events such as finishing their education (32%) or being laid off (22%). (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 72% of new freelancers are male vs. 62% always freelancers who are male. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 67% of new freelancers are caregivers vs. 38% always freelancers who are caregivers. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 43% of US freelancers live in an urban area, 41% in the suburbs, and only 16% in rural areas. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 82% of new freelancers are working remotely, as compared to 56% of those who have always been freelancers. (Upwork, June-July 2020)

Statistics on the Freelance Economy

  • Freelancers have contributed $1.2 trillion to the Us economy in annual earnings, a 22% increase in contributed earnings since 2019. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • The fastest-growing freelancing countries are the Philippines (208%), India (160%), Japan (87%), Australia (86%), and Hong Kong (79%). (Payoneer, May 2020)
  • The median hourly rate is $20 among freelancers and $25.00 among skilled freelancers. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 65% of freelancers who left an employer to freelance earn more than when they had an employer. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 57% of skilled freelancers say they set their own prices. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • Only 52% of freelancers time is spent on billable freelance work, with the rest of their time being divided between admin and business-building activities. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 66% of freelancers choose to freelance to be in control of their own financial future. (Upwork, June-July 2020)

Freelancing Pros and Cons Stats

  • 60% of freelancers feel that the best thing about freelancing is the ability to set their own hours. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • 72% of freelancers with a disability in their household say freelancing gives them flexibility to address their personal, mental, or physical needs. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 89% of freelancers say that they are likely to continue freelancing in the future because “working remotely has made me a more productive worker”. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 64% of freelancers choose to freelance to be able to pursue work they are passionate about or find meaningful. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 65% of Boomers who freelance agree that freelancing is a good way to transition into retirement. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 23% of freelancers say that the worst thing about freelancing is the Inconsistent income.(HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)

Remote Working Statistics

The movement towards remote work has arguably been the biggest beneficiary of this extremely chaotic year. Exposure to remote work, albeit under the worst possible conditions, has opened the eyes of many workers to the benefits it can bring:

  • Just prior to Covid-19, 97% of remote workers said they would recommend remote work to others. (Buffer, February 2020)
  • On average, remote employees worked an extra 26 hours each month during COVID (nearly an extra day every week). (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 48% of tech professionals in North America are even more interested in remote work than they were before Covid-19. (Hired, April 2020)
  • 80% of full-time workers expect to work from home at least three times per week after COVID-19 guidelines are lifted. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 41% of UK employees would be likely to resign from their job if they were forced to return to the office against their will. (Owl Labs, UK, June-July 2020)
  • Just prior to Covid-19, only 30% of remote workers said that everyone in their company works remotely. (Buffer, February 2020)
  • 70% of full-time workers agree that there should be a day each week without video meetings. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • Remote workers are happiest when they spend more than 76% of their time working remotely. (Buffer, February 2020)

Remote Work Economic Statistics

  • 23% of full-time employees are willing to take a pay cut of over 10% in order to work from home at least some of the time. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • There has been a 65% increase in remote workers making over $100K since 2019. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 53% of remote workers said their income had gone up compared to last year and 44.71% expect it to go up over the next year. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • During COVID-19, on average, people in the US are saving $479.20 per month by working from home. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • Only 20-25% of companies pay or share the cost of home office equipment, furniture, cable, chair. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 50% of UK employees believe their companies should contribute to WiFi and phone bills, and 48% to electricity bills when working from home, something not regularly supported by companies. (Owl Labs, UK, June-July 2020)

Tech and Security in Remote Work

  • 43% would be unhappy or leave if their company started monitoring their activity as a way to track productivity while they work at home. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 79% think video conferencing is at the same level or more productive than in-person meetings. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 32% of organizations have introduced new tools for virtual meetings. (Gartner, March 2020)
  • Over 70% of tech workers are open to joining a new company after an entirely remote interview process. (Hired, April 2020)
  • The top concern of tech workers during remote video interviews is not gaining a true understanding of a company’s culture. (Hired, April 2020)
  • 40% of those working remotely due to Covid-19 restrictions are using a VPN while working from home. (PC Matic, May 2020)
  • 93% of those newly working from home are confident in their company’s ability to keep personal identifiable information (PII) secure while working remotely, yet 52% are using their personal laptops for work. (IBM Security, June 2020)
  • 93% of those working remotely due to Covid-19 restrictions said their employers did not provide them with an antivirus solution to install on their personal device that was being used for work purposes. (PC Matic, May 2020)

Remote Work and Relocation

Couple relocating due to remote work

  • 1 in 2 people would move if they were able to WFH all or most of the time. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 71% of employees said it would be unfair to adjust their salaries if they moved to a less expensive area and worked solely at home. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 44% would still move or consider it even if they had to take a cost of living salary adjustment or reduction. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)

Remote Working Pros

  • 75% of people are the same or more productive during COVID-19 while working from home. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 29% of remote workers say that one of the best things about working remotely is having more family/leisure time. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • 74% want to work remotely to reduce stress. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • Just prior to Covid-19, 32% of remote workers said the biggest benefit to working remotely was the ability to have a flexible schedule. (Buffer, February 2020)
  • 77% of employees report that working remotely would make them better able to manage work-life balance. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 74% of employees would be less likely to leave their employer if they were able to work remotely some of the time. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)

Remote Working Cons

  • 47% of remote workers say that one of the worst things about working remotely is feeling disconnected from colleagues. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • Just prior to Covid-19, 20 % of remote workers identified loneliness as their biggest struggle with remote work. (Buffer, February 2020)
  • 62% said that one of the top challenges from working from home during COVID-19 is interruptions/being talked over. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • 28% reported having children at home as one of the biggest difficulties in working from home during COVID-19. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)
  • Almost 60% of managers feel they are missing out on opportunities for informal leadership development and grooming of their direct reports. (Owl Labs, June-July 2020)

Home Working and Education Stats

Evidence shows that those involved in home working are increasingly dedicated to their ongoing education:

  • 45% of US post-grads are freelancers. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • While most freelancers feel the education they received in college was useful to the work they do now, 81% agree that they would prioritize more specialized education or training. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 76% of those interested or involved in home working say that they will read articles in order to ensure personal development over the next year. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • 59% of US freelancers have participated in skills training in the last 6 months vs. 36% of non-freelancers. (Upwork, June-July 2020)
  • 65% of employees globally believe they could do their jobs better if they had better tech skills. (Lenovo, July 2020)

Working Women and Stay at Home Mom Statistics

Stay at home working mom helping her son with homework

It is important to note that gender differences have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 restrictions:

Freelancing vs. Remote Working vs. Traditional On-site Jobs

This year has caused many to consider which is the best type of work arrangement. While we believe this will depend primarily on the individual and their needs, the freelance and remote work statistics show that some clear trends are emerging:

  • Just prior to Covid-19, 43% of remote workers said that in their workplace part of the team was full-time remote and part of the team worked out of the same office. (Buffer, February 2020)
  • 63% of the global workforce surveyed feel they are more productive working from home than when they were in the office. (Lenovo, July 2020)
  • 86% of those interested or involved in home working said they have no intention of working in an office full-time in 10 years’ time. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • In India, 50% say they would be happy if working from home replaced offices completely. (Lenovo, July 2020)
  • 94% of remote workers say they will likely switch to freelancing in the next year. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • 60% of new freelancers agree that there is no amount of money that would convince them to take a traditional job. (Upwork, June-July 2020)

Future of Work Statistics

The future of work will be determined by employees, companies, and government policies but it does seem like worker preferences are driving change:

  • 82% of those interested or involved in home working believe that the working world has changed forever. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • 67% of organizations expect expanded or universal work from home policies implemented in response to the coronavirus outbreak will remain in place long-term or permanently. (S&P Global, June 2020)
  • 80% of those interested in home working who don’t currently work freelance or remotely plan to change their industry in the next year so that they can do so. (HomeWorkingClub, July 2020)
  • 56% of businesses are expanding their technology budgets in anticipation of new requirements stemming from fully remote or hybrid workplace arrangements. (Xerox, May 2020)
  • 82% indicate their employers encounter barriers as they endeavour to keep up to date with new and emerging tech. (Lenovo, July 2020)
  • 47% of organizations with office space say they expect to reduce their physical office footprint as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. More than 20% expect to reduce it by more than 25%. (S&P Global, June 2020)

Conclusion

This year has brought about major changes in the way we work. Accurately tracking those changes can be difficult. Nevertheless, this curated list of the best freelance and remote work statistics should hopefully give you a better idea of where we stand as 2020 draws to a close.

1 thought on “Remote Work and Freelancing Statistics: The Ultimate List”

  1. Wow that’s a lot of stats! I was quite impressed at the number of people who interested in working from home, but giving the current situation, it is not surprising at all. I’m also working remotely, which is a little boring as I don’t get to talk with my favorite co-workers a lot, but I do have to agree that my productivity is boosted!

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