The freelance workforce market is growing at an astonishing pace. According to a CNBC report on US freelancers: “An estimated 57 million of the American labor population are engaged in some kind of freelance activity.”
That’s more than a third of the working population. Back in 2014, the figure was just over 53 million. That’s a 3.7 million jump in five years.
The Lure of the Gig Economy
Technological advances, particularly in the internet, real-time communications, mobile technology, and cloud computing have enabled the rise of many freelance platforms such as FreeeUp.
These online hubs for freelancers provided the avenue for professionals to find high-paying clients, even if they are based in remote locations and different time zones. Aside from financially-rewarding pay, freelancers have cited the flexibility of work hours and being in charge of their routines as the primary factors why they decided to freelance full-time.
The majority of popular freelancing websites do not implement filtering or vetting processes for freelance professionals. A few more discriminating marketplaces such as FreeeUp and TopTal pre-vet or screen applicants before allowing them to look for work through their platform. In most cases, only those in the top 1-3% qualify, which means companies get to hire from a selection of high-class specialists.
From a company’s perspective, hiring freelancers brings quite a few benefits to the organization. These include affordable costs for high-quality work and access to a vastly diverse collection of talent.
The demand for freelancers is growing considerably loud. And the following notable industries are making the most noise.
1. Computer and IT
The majority of high-paying freelance gigs require extensive proficiency in computers and information technology. These include both short-term and long-term projects in a variety of areas including cloud computing, computer programming, IT maintenance and management, software development, web development, cybersecurity, website management, and mobile app development. Some companies hire by the hour for small projects and others have roles requiring 40 hours or more per week, usually critical roles that are involved in crucial business operations.
Professionals in this sector are among the highest paid in the freelance market. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The hourly rate for an entry-level software developer in the United States in 2018 was $50.77 per hour.
In contrast, legitimate freelance online platforms can recommend talented US-based developers for as low as $35 an hour.
2. Retail and E-Commerce
The retail and e-commerce industry is one of the largest patrons of freelance professionals. These freelancers are comprised mostly of virtual assistants, digital marketers, e-commerce website managers, content creators, and social media marketing managers. The usual tasks assigned to freelancers in this industry include market research, e-commerce store management, website management, and online marketing.
The increasing popularity of online marketplaces and e-commerce stores such as eBay, Amazon, Rakuten, and Shopify, along with the growing use of mobile technology by their target consumers are among the many factors that drive retail and e-commerce companies to tap into the freelance workforce.
Even if they are located in various countries, digital marketing freelancers are able to provide top-class services and deliver desirable results. There’s a long list of online collaboration tools, project management systems, and other applications that enable communication and collaboration between remote hires and store owners.
By hiring freelance professionals to take care of the nuances of the retail and e-commerce businesses, companies are able to get the best talent at affordable costs. Such a setup allows them to address all the important facets of their operations while keeping their expenses down and giving their profitability a huge boost.
3. Accounting and Finance
There is a huge demand for freelance accountants and bookkeepers all over the world. Small and medium-sized businesses, online enterprises, and individuals who run small scale operations comprise the bulk of freelance accounting clients.
Hiring freelance accountants proves to be very cost-effective as opposed to investing in accounting software, contracting the services of an accounting firm, or getting a full-time accountant, especially when most accounting work is on an as-needed basis.
Many clients hire freelance accounting professionals to do routine accounting tasks such as bookkeeping, taxation, and general compliance. But because gig work is demand-motivated, more sophisticated accounting services will be offered on the freelance level as the need arises.
4. Customer service
Customer service remains a top sector for freelancers. The rising costs of running an in-office customer service team is a major factor why small and medium-sized businesses, as well as corporate enterprises, are opting to hire freelance customer support professionals.
The expenses of a customer support facility are astronomical. The real estate needed to house a team represents a huge chunk of the budget. Then there’s the computers, headsets, office tables, and chairs, not to mention the network. Hiring and training employees is expensive as well. Even outsourcing to agencies can be costly, and then there’s the issue of quality assurance and control over processes.
Compare all that to hiring a couple competent, remote-based customer service professionals who have their own equipment, internet connection, and space. One can easily comprehend why there is a huge shift to outsourcing customer support operations to remote freelancers. It’s cheaper. It’s effective. It works.
5. Medical and Healthcare
While most people think that doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals don’t have the time or the energy to enter the gig market, the reality is that they are among the largest demographic in the freelance workforce.
Of course, they have to tend to their patients physically to render the best medical care and treatment. But that doesn’t mean they can’t generate revenue from doing online and remote-based projects.
Most doctors who do gig work online use their expertise and knowledge to create specialized content for medical journals and health magazines. Others are recruited in a consultation capacity, such as research collaboration. There are also cases where doctors and nurses communicate with patients through online channels for initial assessment and advice.
Other freelancers in the medical and healthcare sector include medical transcriptionists. They are tasked with converting voice recordings of physicians into documents for record-keeping purposes. Similarly, non-healthcare professionals who find work in the larger medical industry include accountants, software developers, and customer support specialists.
A Tidal Wave of Freelancers
Freelance professionals are huge revenue generators for their economies. In the US, American freelancers were responsible for contributing $1.28 trillion to the US economy in 2018 according to the MBO State of Independence study.
The freelance economy is not without its troubles, however. There are major concerns that trouble the freelance market. Late and non-payments by clients and the lack of standard protocols for the security of work are chief among these issues. The good news is that steps have been made at the marketplace level to address these concerns and more. Tech companies have also developed freelance management systems such as Time Doctor to help clients monitor and evaluate freelance work.
The number of freelance associations is also growing rapidly, which is a good sign for members of the freelance workforce. Groups such as Freelancers Union cater to freelance professionals in their respective areas, offering advice, services and support.
These are just the 5 industries that freelance platforms benefit. Business owners and corporate HR can find freelance candidates for almost any task imaginable, as long as it can be done remotely.
The internet is a wild world, however, and anyone looking to hire is encouraged to conduct a thorough evaluation before outsourcing tasks to remote freelancers. Reading an expert guide on outsourcing is a good way to start. Choosing a reliable freelance hiring partner is crucial.
If you’re ready to enter the world of remote hiring, sign up on FreeeUp today – it’s free and there are no minimum requirements.
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