Freelance Statistics: Income and Financial Life

What occupation do you think about when you hear the term “commission-paid jobs”? Undoubtedly, freelancing is one of the first things that spring to mind. 

The income and financial life – whether it be good or not so good – can vary a great deal from country to country. That is why we have chosen to feature three countries from very different parts of the world, to give you a closer view of how much freelancers work, and what their financial upsides or challenges are. 

U.S.

A study by Payoneer discovered that if you take the average income of U.S. freelancers, it comes down to around $30 per hour. The overall average pay, meanwhile, is closer to $26 per hour. 

The numbers differ a lot between different professions, though. Whereas a legal services freelancer earns an average of $60 per hour, a customer agent freelancer earns around $30. 

According to an article about freelancing on CNBC, skilled freelancers have a higher income than three-fourths of American workers, and are quite opposed to normal jobs. They seem to be hyperaware of the lifestyle benefits they receive from not working the dreaded 9-5 office job. They can stay at home in their bed or couch, or they can go on a vacation, earning good money while doing so. That’s life! And if they can even earn more money than most other workers, then that’s a good bonus. 

India

India is one of the countries with the largest freelance workforces, numbering 15 million. Globally, Indian freelancers earn less for the same work than in many other countries. They work for an average hourly rate of $18, while globally the average hourly rate is $21. But since the costs are so low in India, freelancers are quite well off in relation to the rough hourly wage of $2.5 for the country’s citizens in total.

It’s largely because of this disparity in country-to-country expenses that appeals to many people who work online. If they can earn an income that is considered OK in their own country, but they live in a country where things are a lot cheaper – like someone coming to Bali or India from the U.S. or Scandinavia – then they will, as the popular phrase goes, “live like kings.” 

On the flipside, Indians working for U.S. and Scandinavian companies will also reap the benefits of this global cooperation, since these businesses are used to paying a lot for freelancing services. What might be considered a very high charge for Indians might feel like a steal for Americans and Scandinavians. Who would, for example, not be surprised that you can get a decent logo tailored for $5 at Fiverr these days?

Norway

Up to the north, Norwegians are also catching onto the freelancing wave. There are not as many statistics to go around regarding their wage; it can be up to 113$ per hour for skilled computer programmers, but in general, it’s “higher” than that of the average worker, which is around $25-35. How much higher, we can’t say for sure, given the limited source material. 

When we look at parts of the Norwegian freelancer’s lifestyle, they seem to have much the same mindset as the Americans. “How great isn’t it to be able to work from home, working whenever I want?” 

There are also some challenges for freelancers, though. For one, it can be hard to find well-paying jobs, an important detail in one of the most expensive countries in the world. The Norwegian government recently developed new, detailed resource pages to better help freelancers as it’s becoming more and more normal, explaining how sick leave, “sykepenger,” works, and more. 

Also, If their income varies a lot, loan opportunities can sometimes be limited for freelancers in Norway. This is unfortunate, but a reality a lot of them have to face, especially in the beginning when their income can be a bit unstable. A result of this is an increase in what the Norwegians call billig forbrukslån på dagen, which essentially is what we in the U.S. know of as cheap consumer loans that can be given quickly. 

The reason they are “forced” into these kinds of loans is because the banks deem them as less secure to loan money out to, which depending on how you look at it, freelancers can be. These types of loans have their use, but are generally more expensive as it’s unsecured. 

We should point out that a varied income doesn’t have to mean that one can’t take up more regular loans in Norway. But a safe and steady income, and low monthly costs, will often ensure a better interest rate and better opportunities. A low or varied income, on the other hand, might be seen as a greater risk for the bank, and will often make them increase the interest rate.

 

That’s all we had for today on statistics about the income and financial life of freelancers, from three very different parts of the world. 

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