Freelance work via the gig economy has exploded in recent years, offering new nontraditional work opportunities in cities across the US, according to a report from Fiverr.
As of 2016, there were 15 million independent workers in the US, with that number steadily growing since 2000, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found.
Specialized freelance workers generate more than $110 billion in the 15 largest metropolitan areas for these workers, representing between 1-2% of the GDP on average of each area, the report found. And demand for these professionals is growing: The self-employed specialized knowledge worker population in these 15 areas rose an average of 7% from 2013-2015. Average revenue growth during that time period was 11%, according to the report.
While freelance workers have been around for decades, three trends have increased both the size and the potential client base of gig economy workers. These include the rise of the internet, and platforms such as Fiverr, Udemy, and LinkedIn that help freelancers connect with customers.
SEE: IT jobs 2018: Hiring priorities, growth areas, and strategies to fill open roles (Tech Pro Research)
A rapidly changing skill set and a shortage of technology professionals in the workforce at large has led companies to seek contract workers to fill gaps. And the nature of the full-time workforce has changed, with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, a shift from a manufacturing-based to a service-based economy in many areas, and the increasing outsourcing of tech jobs leaving many skilled workers with limited full-time job options, according to the report.
"For many of these workers, self-employment or a mix of part-time employment and entrepreneurial work is an attractive option," the report stated.
About half of the specialized independent workforce provides professional services, while about one-third offers technical services, the report found. Creative arts professionals make up the remainder.
Not surprisingly, San Francisco has the largest share of technical services freelancers (35%), followed by San Diego, Seattle, and Phoenix, the report found. The 10 highest paid gig economy jobs are all in tech, another report found.
Here are the 15 top markets for specialized freelance workers, and their total revenue for 2017.
1. New York
2. Los Angeles
6. San Francisco
SEE: Hiring kit: Python developer (Tech Pro Research)
13. San Diego
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- The top markets for freelancers are New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. — Fiverr, 2018
- Specialized freelance workers generate more than $110 billion in the 15 largest metropolitan areas for these workers, representing between 1-2% of the GDP on average of each area. — Fiverr, 2018
- Special report: IT Jobs in 2020: A leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- No, AI won't eat your job, say tech chiefs, and here's why (ZDNet)
- Cheat sheet: How to become a data scientist (TechRepublic)
- Five tech jobs that AI and automation will make radically more efficient (ZDNet)
- Report: Why women work in the gig economy (TechRepublic)
- The 10 highest-paying gig economy jobs are all in tech (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.