Sizing the Freelance Economy – Zaarly

An interesting infographic from the blog of US site Zaarly (“Buy and sell anything with people nearby”) which provides some stats on the (US) freelance market.

The top-line numbers are interesting:

  • 1in 10 workers is not an employee of the company they work for
  • 2/3 of those are independent contractors
  • in 2010, freelancers accounted for $473 billion of all personal income in the US.

However, the rest of the data feels a bit incomplete.  The analysis of freelance professions includes only 7 categories of: software developers, graphic designers, writers, photographers, journalists, 3d artists/animators and fine artists.  It appears to omit great swathes of freelancers who work in business (i.e. the Sovereign Professionals such as interim managers; independent accountants, marketers, lawyers etc.) or, of course, in trades (such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters etc.) who are traditionally mostly freelance.  The numbers of people in professions also seems low and skewed: are there really only 30,000 freelance software developers in the US?  10,000 freelance journalists?  It all feels a bit wrong.

However, its a cool graphic and the top-line figures look impressive and correct.

The footnotes state that most of the data comes from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics so it may be worth re-analysing these to get a breakdown which feels more complete.


About Andrew Munro

An independent business consultant, interim manager and writer, Andrew operates through his company, Burning Pine Ltd (
This entry was posted in Organisational Humanity and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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