Millennials and men turn to freelancing in ever greater numbers

November 30, 2016
Millennials and men turn to freelancing in ever greater numbers

A new survey from LinkedIn has provided insights into the state of the modern freelancing industry. Some 9,600 individuals on LinkedIn’s ProFinder service, which links freelancers with professionals looking to hire them, took part in the survey. 

Millennials and men

Millennials – those who reached young adulthood around the year 2000 – were found to be those who are most likely to turn to part-time freelance work to supplement their income. Men reported doing so in greater numbers than their female counterparts. 

With millennials now accounting for around 38% of the US workforce, freelancing is becoming an increasingly important part of the economy. now has around 15 million users, while Upwork has 3.6 million client users and nine million freelancers. 

According to Forbes, the importance millennials place on freedom and flexibility, combined with their talent for all things techy, mean they are well positioned to make the most out of modern freelancing opportunities. 

Freelancer earnings

Payoneer has found that part-time freelancers who take on 10 to 15 hours of client work per week in addition to their fulltime job can earn $12,000 or more each year in addition to their regular income. 

Students are also among those who are keen to earn money through freelancing. According to the University Herald, the average hourly wage in the food and beverage sector, which has long been the go-to industry for students looking to fund their studies, is $9.16. Compare this with the average earnings of $21 per hour reported by ProFinder and it’s easy to see why the appeal of freelancing is so strong. 

Freelancer roles

The number one job for freelancers is writing, based on Forbes’ research, with a lack of qualifications – other than excellent language skills – making this an open workplace for all those who like to write and want to earn some extra income. 

According to the LinkedIn survey, the activities carried out by freelancers range from financial services and insurance to entertainment. Tech and software roles were also regularly carried out by freelancers. 

Meanwhile, the University Herald has reported that students are also turning to the local gig economy to make a bit of money. There are all sorts of on-demand activities that modern students can participate in while also having plenty of time to study. TaskRabbit allows students to work running errands, while Postmates uses students to undertake deliveries. Nextdoor lists activities like gardening and yard work, while Uber and DoorDash also present possibilities. Income from such services ranges from $10 to $20 per hour, which is again more than students can earn through traditional retail roles or bar work. 

Then of course there is the freelance translation industry. Students, millennials and anyone else with a passion for linguistics and fluency in at least two languages have the option to try their hand at translation as a means of either supplementing their income or building a fulltime career. 

Professional translation is an excellent choice for freelancers looking to enjoy the benefits of working in a non-traditional way. Flexibility over working hours and location are among the most important aspects of freelancing for many translators, much as they are for other freelancers. While translation isn’t as easy to get into as writing (in very simple terms, translators need to be skilled in two languages, writers only in one!), it’s still a popular choice of career for those looking to work freelance while also doing something that they love. 

Final thoughts

What do you see happening to the freelancing industry in the future? Will it continue to grow as technology develops? Or is a return to a more traditional career structure on the horizon? Leave a comment to let us know your views. 

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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