With people showing an increased interest in a freelancing career, the gig-economy has witnessed significant growth. The recent years have seen rapid technological changes, multiple workplace expectations, and the latest trends of remote work.
Traditional work models are no longer the single route to employment.
Earlier this year, when the world was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of freelancers got impacted severely. However, the pandemic forced companies to shut down their physical space and work remotely.
Freelancers around the world initially witnessed a decrease in demand due to the slowdown of the global economy.
However, they were optimistic about their future demand. Reports have shown that many countries experienced an actual surge in demand for freelancers.
Let us study the four hottest markets for freelancers globally to understand how the gig-economy benefited in light of the pandemic.
Remote work became the newly accepted norm as a result of strict social distancing rules and global lockdowns. During March, when the pandemic started spreading its wings across the world, the freelancing industry also underwent a slowdown.
Freelancers with a European and North American client base got impacted substantially. Those with Australian and Asia-based clients witnessed a decrease in demand.
53% of freelancers across the world reported that they expect an increase in the work levels than what it was before the pandemic. In contrast, 21% expected the work demand to stay the same.
Several reports have shown that the freelancers were correct about their optimism. The demand for freelancers now shows a significant growth in the notable gig economies.
The month of June witnessed a 28% growth in freelancing revenues since the beginning of the year. The Philippines is the fastest-growing freelancing company, with a growth rate of 208% in 2020.
India ranks the second-fastest developing freelance country in the world. India, as of 2020, consists of about 15 million freelancers. However, with the onset of the global pandemic, India faced a 35% increase in unemployment.
Indian freelancing market also witnessed a temporary demand slowdown, with the work rate decreasing from 13% to 9% in May. Nevertheless, freelancers experienced a fast recovery from the beginning of June, with a boost of 28% in revenue, as compared to January 2020.
The freelancing market also got flooded with a 46% increase in the labor force from quarter one to quarter two of 2020.
A study conducted by Bengaluru-based Refrens suggested that about 64% of freelancers received more projects in June. It proved that the freelancers were right at expecting a hike in demand.
Ukraine is the most popular country for IT outsourcing. Ukrainian freelancers experienced less impact from the global pandemic.
Reports suggested that 50% of Ukrainian freelancers didn’t face a loss of assignments from their European clients. In contrast, 56% stated that the demand for work from North American clients also remained the same.
Ukrainian workers serving the U.S. faced a 14% loss of unemployment during the pandemic. 60% of IT companies in Ukraine provides various software development services in Western Europe and the U.S.
The revenues from freelancing merely faced a slight impact due to the pandemic. The freelancing revenues in Ukraine declined by 4% from April to May.
However, the loss quickly got recovered with an increase of 3% in June. Ukrainian freelancers are still in high demand irrespective of the pandemic.
The reports collected from various sources suggest that Ukrainian freelancers are still highly appealing and cost-effective to U.S. companies.
With the slowdown of the worldwide economy, businesses were in a hurry to cut down their costs. Most were halting new assignments and reducing outsourcing costs.
Reports suggest that 64% of freelancers in Pakistan faced a drop in their earnings. The freelancing revenues reduced from 21% to 16% in April. However, 82% of freelancers were confident about a rise in demand once the pandemic crisis subsided.
Revenues soared as high as 36% in May, proving their optimism correct. The local government authorities in Pakistan decided to shut down all educational institutes to prevent the spread of the virus. The government organized training programs to enable people to boost their professional capabilities.
Programs like E-Rozgaar enhanced freelancing skills for hundreds and thousands of Pakistani people. The rush to discover new skills increased the demand for freelancers and online instructors.
The latest government initiatives caused the freelance industry to flourish despite the pandemic.
The U.S. employment rate witnessed a sharp decline, with about 40 million Americans left unemployed. The U.S. freelancer sector formed approximately 35% of the total workforce until 2019.
During 2020, many professionals let go off by their employers turned to freelance. The global pandemic period injected hundreds of skilled people into the U.S. gig economy.
Similarly, many U.S. companies were willing to take in temporary freelancers by replacing full-time employees. Freelancers offered a scope to cut down their costs effectively. The U.S. economy witnessed a surge of 19% in freelancing revenues from May to June.
The U.S. second quarter experienced a sharp 41% rise in freelance job postings. The companies found far-flung talent more attractive during 2020. Freelancers support the budget cut of companies and offer a more flexible solution. The freelance workforce in the U.S. is rapidly becoming popular with a continuous rise in revenues.
The freelancers experienced a tumultuous year. However, various data and reports show that this global pandemic will have a positive impact on outsourcing and remote work.
In the initial months of 2020, the demand for freelancers fell, but they were confident about a fast rebound. In many countries, the gig-economy witnessed a real surge. Many businesses and talented professionals turned to this remote mode of work.
Gig workers enjoy more freedom over their employment conditions and working methods. In 2020, while other employment sectors got negatively impacted, the freelancing economy grew steadily.