Freelancing is a popular career choice all over the world, but some countries stand out among the rest as being the top freelancing countries. Whether you want to know which country has the most freelancers or where the best freelancers come from, this article will give you all the stats you need!
The top 10 freelancing countries are:
Below, I’ll go through why these are the top freelancing countries, taking into account the number of freelancers, wages in those countries, and the potential for further growth.
Note: Many sources report incorrect figures here. For example, some say 78% of the US workforce is made up of freelancers, while others say this is how much freelancer earnings increased in the past year. I’ve even seen one source say the US freelance workforce has grown by 78% and then immediately below that say that is actually the figure for year-over-year earnings growth rates instead!
In this article, I’ve put together the most reliable figures I could find, and I have linked directly to the sources of the numbers I’ve used. Many other articles are just linking to other articles that link to other articles and so on, and I think this has led to a lot of confusion about what some of the numbers actually mean.
Anyway, let’s get into it!
Which Country Has The Most Freelancers?
The USA is the country with the most freelancers, with an estimated total of 60 million people in the freelance workforce. This is almost 40% of the American workforce.
However, it’s important to note that the number of freelancers can vary depending on how they are defined and measured. Freelancers encompass a wide range of professionals who work independently, including consultants, contractors, gig workers, and self-employed individuals.
The classification and identification of freelancers can differ across countries, making it difficult to pinpoint a single country with the most freelancers. Some sources suggest all self-employed people are freelancers, while others separate them. Check out our guide on freelancing vs self-employment for more details on how we define them.
Ultimately, the number of freelancers in a country is influenced by factors such as economic conditions, labor market dynamics, technological advancements, and cultural attitudes towards self-employment.
The gig economy continues to evolve globally, and freelancing is becoming an increasingly popular choice for individuals seeking flexibility, autonomy, and diverse professional opportunities.
Which Country Has The Best Freelancers?
Determining which country has the ‘best’ freelancers is subjective and can depend on various factors such as expertise, skill sets, and even personal preferences. Freelancers from different countries excel in different fields, and what may be considered the best can vary based on individual requirements and project demands.
With that said, several countries are renowned for producing highly skilled freelancers across various industries. Here are just a few notable examples:
- United States: The United States is home to a vast pool of talented freelancers known for their expertise in fields like technology, design, marketing, and creative services. The country’s emphasis on innovation, advanced education, and entrepreneurial spirit contribute to the high quality of freelancers available.
- Germany: Known for its precision and engineering prowess, Germany has a reputation for producing exceptional freelancers in sectors like the automotive, engineering, and manufacturing industries. German freelancers are often valued for their attention to detail, technical skills, and reliable work ethic.
- Ukraine: Ukraine has gained recognition for its highly skilled IT freelancers. With a strong focus on computer science education, Ukrainian freelancers excel in software development, web development, cybersecurity, and related tech fields. They are often sought after for their technical expertise and cost-effectiveness.
- Canada: Canada boasts a thriving freelance community known for its professionalism, versatility, and cultural diversity. Canadian freelancers offer a wide range of skills across industries such as technology, creative services, writing, and consulting.
- Philippines: The Philippines is renowned for its English proficiency and skilled freelancers in areas like virtual assistance, content writing, customer service, and graphic design. Filipino freelancers often excel in communication skills and provide reliable support to clients worldwide, often at comparably lower costs.
Now let’s get into my list of the top 10 freelancing countries. I’ve used various metrics to order this list, including the number of freelancers in the country and the average freelancer’s earnings. Other sources may vary in how they’ve ordered their lists.
Top 10 Freelancing Countries
Number of Freelancers: 60 million | Average Freelancer Earnings: $50,293/year
As I mentioned earlier, an Upwork study suggested there are around 60 million freelancers in the USA. This is a massive proportion of the population never mind the workforce, and it shows just how popular this career path is in the country.
A Talent.com report suggests the average freelancer’s yearly salary is $50,293 for those in the US. Clearly this will vary a lot depending on the specific industry, but it’s a very lucrative salary nonetheless.
Number of Freelancers: 1.9 million | Average Freelancer Earnings: £65,093/year ($81,700)
Freelancer earnings are high in the UK, with Totaljobs.com suggesting it’s around £65,093 per year. However, this is going to depend a lot on your industry. For example, freelance writers in the UK make around £10.91 per hour, but web developers charge between £40 and £70.
IPSE conducted a report that found 1.9 million people in the UK are freelancers, which is a much smaller number than the USA figure. However, other sources put this figure much higher, such as Payoneer, who put the figure at more than 4 million.
Regardless, the UK’s massive talent pool in industries ranging from journalism to finance make it a hot spot for those seeking freelance talent, and therefore an excellent place to start freelancing if you’re interested in the career path.
Number of Freelancers: 25.5 million (self-employed) | Average Freelancer Earnings: R$208,890/year ($42,963)
There are 25+ million freelancers in Brazil, with many working remotely on projects overseas. Earnings vary greatly, with remote freelancer salaries estimated to be around R$208,890 per year, equivalent to about $43,000. However this is many times the average salary for Brazilians ($7,236), so I would estimate this figure is skewed majorly by those working on projects for high-paying clients in other countries.
That will be a common theme as we continue down this list, and it is what makes freelancing such a lucrative opportunity for many around the world. Having access to markets with higher wages can allow people in poorer countries to earn more money. However, this isn’t always true, as many clients will look to these countries for cheaper work, so there is a balance to strike.
Number of Freelancers: 3 million | Average Freelancer Earnings: Rs 524,393/year ($1,850)
There are an estimated 3 million freelancers in Pakistan, earning about Rs 524,393 per year. However, as for many other countries on this list, finding exact figures for freelancers is tough, as many sources simply total up the number of self-employed people.
There is a key distinction to make though, as if you’re interested in hiring freelancers, you’re not looking for those registered as self-employed that actually run their own lawncare service or 20-person team (even though they may be registered as self-employed).
Nonetheless, Pakistan is an excellent place to source fairly low cost freelancing talent, but it’s important to still pay a fair wage. If you’re looking to become a freelancer in Pakistan, it’s definitely a popular choice, and there are even dedicated freelance marketplaces, like WorkChest.
Number of Freelancers: 3 million (self-employed) | Average Freelancer Earnings: ₴1,516,075/year ($41,029)
It’s hard to find a figure for the number of freelancers in Ukraine, especially since the war broke out in 2022, displacing many from their homes. However, Trading Economics estimates there are 3 million self-employed people in Ukraine, and another study suggested there were 500,000 freelancers online in Ukraine in 2018.
It’s therefore likely the number is somewhere between 500,000 and 3 million. Salaries vary widely, with estimates of around ₴1,516,075 per year.
Number of Freelancers: 1.5 million (online) | Average Freelancer Earnings: ₱309,203/year ($5,534)
There are at least 1.5 million freelancers in the Philippines, but that number only represents the number Payoneer found to be ‘online’ freelancers. The average salary a freelancer in the Philippines can expect to earn is equivalent to $5,534 per year.
Many businesses turn to the Philippines for virtual assistant jobs and other similar roles. High education levels and English literacy rates make it a hotspot for foreign businesses looking for cheaper talent overseas.
Number of Freelancers: 15 million | Average Freelancer Earnings: ₹4.0L/year ($4,856)
The number of freelancers in India is widely touted as 15 million, but there are no definitive sources for this. However, it’s not hard to imagine the number being this large. As for salary, it’s equivalent to about $4,850 per year.
Wages in India are low compared with much of the world, making it another popular outsourcing destination. Content marketing, web development and digital marketing are popular freelancing roles in India.
Number of Freelancers: 200,000+ | Average Freelancer Earnings: ৳4,259,257/year ($39,292)
Just like for India, there is no definitive source for the number of freelancers in Bangladesh, but estimates suggest it’s at least 200,000. One report stated there were around 500,000 freelancers in the country back in 2017.
Salaries for remote freelancers in Bangladesh are equivalent to around $39,292, but this, as I’ve mentioned before, is likely only accurate for those with global clients. Low labor costs in the country make it a very popular destination for businesses looking to outsource tasks.
Number of Freelancers: 1.5 million | Average Freelancer Earnings: €48,611/year ($52,482)
There are around 1.5 million freelancers in Germany per a Forbes quote, and this lines up with data from Statista, which suggests there are about 1.46 million freelancers in the European country. Salaries are estimated to be around the equivalent of $52,482, or €48,611 per year.
Shortages of skills and changes in the demographics have led to big shifts in the German job market, and many CEOs in the country are turning to freelancing talent to fill in the gaps.
Number of Freelancers: 2.7 million (self-employed) | Average Freelancer Earnings: CA$27,444/year ($20,554)
It’s hard to find solid data on the number of freelnacers in Canada, with some sources suggesting there are 1.7 million in the country. However, we can see there are at least 2.7 million self-employed people in Canada, so 1.7 million wouldn’t be an unreasonable estimate.
Canadian freelancers can expect to earn about $27,444 on average, equivalent to just over $20,000 USD. 3D design and animation are the fastest growing freelance jobs in Canada, with photoshop and logo design also on the rise.
Freelancing is a popular career path all over the world, but these are some of the top freelancing countries for workers and businesses. If you’re interested in becoming a freelancer, check out our guide to the pros and cons of freelancing to see if it’s the right career for you.
Chris is the creator of Freelance Ready. He originally started freelancing (on Fiverr) while at university, writing and editing website content. He created this website to share his freelancing experience and help others on their own self-employed journeys. He is now a freelance SEO consultant and content editor. You can learn more about Chris here.
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