Technology has made it easier for individuals with profitable side-gigs to boost their earnings than ever. And while the most significant rewards are being earned by U.S. workers of all ages, young freelancers across Asia are quick to get into the act.
According to a new report from Payoneer’s digital payment platform, which highlighted the fastest-growing freelance markets in the world and how they reshape the nature of work.
According to the Global Gig Economy Index, America’s gig economy saw the biggest growth in 2019, with freelancer earnings rising 78 percent year-on-year. The study draws data from the network of Payoneer from more than 300,000 freelancers.
The U.K. and Brazil followed the world’s largest economy, each of which saw a gig-worker earnings jump over the past year, increased by 59% and 48% respectively. However, the most significant regional growth was recorded in Asia, with earnings rising 138% across four countries.
Pakistan led that charge, which in the past year saw a 47% increase in freelancer revenues. Philippines, India, and Bangladesh joined it in the top 10.
Here is the list of top 10 freelance markets in 2019 based on revenue growth year-on-year.
Top 10 countries for freelancers in 2019
- United States – 78%
- United Kingdom – 59%
- Brazil – 48%
- Pakistan – 47%
- Ukraine – 36%
- Philippines – 35%
- India – 29%
- Bangladesh – 27%
- Russia – 20%
- Serbia – 19%
A shifting workforce According to Iain McNicoll, vice president and regional head for the Americas at Payoneer, revenue boost over the past year is partly due to improved perceptions about the viability of such freelance work.
“We’re seeing more and more professionals joining the gig economy leaving their jobs,” McNicoll said.
“Whether it’s the flexible hours, the desire to build your own business, employees no longer feel the need to be tied to their offices.” Interestingly, though, while the gig economy attracts professionals of all ages in the U.S., in other markets, it tends to skew towards younger generations that may be more technically minded or used. For example, Pakistani freelancers under 35 generated 77 percent of revenue, largely due to improved tech education over the past few years.
Overall, according to Payoneer, workers aged 35 to 44 are expected to gain the most from freelance work. That group contributed 32 percent of the global freelance earnings over the past year, despite representing only 23 percent of the world’s freelancers.
According to Payoneer, overall workers aged 35 to 44 are expected to gain the most from freelance work. That group contributed 32% of the global freelance earnings over the past year, despite representing only 23% of freelancers worldwide.
Meanwhile, workers between the ages of 18 and 35 made up 64 percent of the largest cohort, yet their earnings were relatively lower.
The gap reflects the increased levels of experience and networks among more established professionals, the report noted.
According to Carisa Miklusak, CEO of the skills-based recruitment platform Tilr, there are a number of techniques that can help younger workers to stand out in the freelance market.
- Highlight skills, not just past titles.
- Include references and contacts from past employers.
- For example, take advantage of your professional network to market your services, such as LinkedIn.
“Traditional employees tend to think of their previous title(s) as their main source lever and apply for jobs. To think about their skills as the main building blocks of their appeal to employers, the successful gig worker must change this mindset, “Miklusak told CNBC Make It.
“For the gig workers, this can be very liberating,” she continued. “When one is seen as a combination of all their skills from previous roles, they are always more qualified to do a number of opportunities than they realized when relying solely on the title.”