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The best jobs for freelancers

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In April 2021, more than 2.6 million people in the UK were seeking either jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit. This is largely due to the millions of jobs eliminated at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting nationwide lockdowns. 

Many people chose to become self-employed freelancers as a direct response to the widespread instability of the job market. The benefits of freelancing often include increased income, the opportunity to be your own boss, the freedom to choose which clients you do and don’t work with and greater flexibility.

The option to work remotely from anywhere in the world also presents self-employed people with exponentially more opportunities to find freelance jobs.

Remote is diving into the world of freelance work to uncover the best jobs for freelancers in the UK and US, the most valuable skills for self-employed people, and the best countries in the world for freelancers to live and work.

What are the best jobs for freelancers?

Based on average hourly salaries, the amount of freelancers currently in the market and the average monthly search volume for each role, our research has uncovered the best jobs for freelancers.

#1. Freelance job: copywriter

The top freelance job for self employed people in the UK and USA is a copywriter, a creative role which requires you to write clear, engaging material to serve a variety of purposes and audiences, from adverts to websites. Copywriters in the UK and USA can earn an average of £39 per hour. There are 2,084 monthly searches on Google in the UK for this role and 49,500 in the US, which shows there is plenty of opportunity for freelancers to find work in this field. However, from an employers perspective, this could denote a highly competitive market for talent as there are only 2,084 freelance copywriters in the UK and 572 in the US to meet the demand.

#2. Freelance job: therapist

The second best job is a therapist, which pays an average of £44 an hour in the UK or £37 an hour in the USA. Therapists support clients in making positive changes to their lives by teaching them the tools they need to develop healthier mental wellbeing. There is an average of 49,500 searches each month for therapists in the UK and 368,000 in the USA, which illustrates how sought after freelancers with this skillset are in these countries. But, with just 17 freelance therapists in the UK and six in the USA, employers seeking self-employed workers with this skill set will find the market highly competitive.

#3. Freelance job: creative director

In third place is a freelance creative director. This role earns self-employed people the highest average salary out of all the jobs we analyzed with £81 per hour. A creative director is responsible for leading creative teams and overseeing the creation of assets such as advertising campaigns, photography shoots, video games, and more.

Most lucrative job roles for freelancers

The UK and USA’s most lucrative job roles for freelancers are listed in the table below from best to worst, based on our analysis of 23 jobs in the healthcare, fintech, technology, marketing & advertising, and logistics industries.

Table of lucrative job roles for freelancers

The most valued skill set in 2022

Our analysis of popular freelancer platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, TaskRabbit, and PeoplePerHour found the following skills to be highly sought after in 2022:

  • Consulting
  • Administrating
  • Bookkeeping
  • Copywriting
  • Photography and Videography
  • Web app development
  • Graphic design
  • Data analytics
  • Translating
  • Social media management

Skills such as photography and videography, web app development, graphic design and social media management are a reflection of the digital age we are in. Now, more than ever, businesses are seeking to interact with their customers in new, innovative ways, and freelancers with these skill sets are helping them manage this transition.

Freelancers with data analytics skills are sought after by growth-focused businesses in every sector to help make better-informed strategic decisions, improve productivity, and achieve overarching business goals.

Translating is another valuable skill in the digital age, supporting global communication and collaboration between business partners that are culturally different and geographically separated. 

Bookkeeping and administrating are highly valuable skills to any employers small or large, as they are integral elements of a business’ day-to-day operations.

The best countries for freelancers to live and work

Not only is a strong, stable internet connection crucial for successful remote work, freelancers also consider how much they’ll be paid, the level of demand for the services they offer, and the country’s economic stability when choosing a location to work from.

Because of this, we based our ranking of the best countries for freelancers to work from remotely on the average broadband speed, average freelancer salary, the competitiveness of the market, and the rate of inflation.

#1. United States

According to our analysis, the best country for freelancers to work from is the United States, which has one of the average fastest broadband speeds and the second highest number of active freelancer job advertisements with 17,075 at the time of writing. The average freelancer salary in the US is a reasonable £29,547 and the country has an inflation rate of 1.5%.

Learn more about employment in the United States with Remote’s Country Explorer.

#2. Germany

In second place is Germany. Germany is teeming with freelancer job ads, the most out of all the locations in our analysis with 22,157. Not only is there more work available, freelancers working remotely from Germany can potentially earn over £7k more than those in the United States, with an average salary of £36,684.

Learn more about employment in Germany with Remote’s Country Explorer.

#3. Switzerland

In Switzerland, the third best country for freelancers, the broadband internet speed averages 229.96 megabits per second, which is the fastest internet connection in our list. Freelancers also have the potential to earn the most money living in this destination, with the average freelancer receiving a salary of £62,012 per year. However, freelance work is highly competitive with only 246 active freelancer job advertisements. This country also has the lowest inflation rate out of every destination we analyzed, with -0.5%, which indicates economic stability.

Learn more about employment in Switzerland with Remote’s Country Explorer.

Top 20 freelancer country rankings 

The 20 best countries in our analysis for freelancers to live and work in are shown in the table below, ranked from best to worst.

Top 20 freelancer country rankings table

You can go into even more detail about the best cities and towns to work from as a freelancer with Remote’s Best Destinations for Remote Work guide. We searched the globe to find the best destinations for remote workers. In our research, we evaluated thousands of locations across seven key factors to find out which places in the world are the most welcoming for remote workers. Find out which locations made the cut.

The UK’s best regions for freelancers to live and work

To find out where it is best for UK-based freelancers to work remotely, we looked at the average salary for freelancer jobs in 20 areas across the UK, the salary range, and the number of freelance jobs available.

Looking at the UK specifically, our research found that freelancers living in West, South West, Central, and East London, as well as Maidstone, have the highest potential earnings, compared with the rest of the country.

The city of London as a whole is the area with the most available freelance jobs with 79, and the salaries here range between £41,570​ and £80,746.

The top 20 UK regions our analysis found to be best for freelancers to live and work in are shown in the table below, ranked from best to worst.

UK's best regions for freelancers table

Learn more about employment in the United Kingdom with Remote’s Country Explorer.

Thanks to the growing popularity of remote work policies, freelancers and self-employed people can now work from almost anywhere in the world, without losing access to desirable salaries or the career opportunities that matter most to them.

Employers should consider what they can do to provide a positive experience for self-employed people, and build a healthy reputation as a freelance employer of choice so that they can access top talent in an increasingly competitive market.

Some ways a company might do this include:

  • Always paying freelance contractors a fair rate for their work on-time
  • Putting processes in place to streamline communication and collaboration with your internal teams
  • Maintaining a respectful, professional working relationship 
  • Offering supportive, constructive feedback to help advance their skills growth

Remote makes managing international freelancing simple for both self-employed people and businesses, so that companies across the world can scale their teams smoothly and efficiently with the best talent. You can hire, onboard, manage, and pay contractors with Remote in over 100 currencies all over the world.

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