Empowering the Freelance Economy

Study reveals countries with the best paid freelancers

Tim Lee, founder and CEO of Bookipi Group, juggling running a startup with parenting
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Study reveals Australia has some of the best-paid freelancers, UK ranks 9th

New research has shed light on the countries where freelancers are paid on average the most per job, with Australia taking the top spot. The study, conducted by Australian invoicing software company Bookipi, analysed data from freelancing platform Upwork to determine average freelancer rates across 40 countries.

  • Australia has the “most expensive” freelancers, with an average price of $594.56 (USD) per freelance job. 
  • India and Morocco have the second and third most expensive freelancers, respectively. 
  • Columbia is the cheapest country to hire a freelancer, at an average of $72.13 per job. 

Methodology

A data scrape of the freelance site Upwork was carried out, to find which countries are charging the most money for freelancing services. A total of 119 countries were initially included in the analysis, but due to data limitations, this left 40 countries that could be compared and ranked fairly, according to Bookipi.

This scrape gathered pricing data on freelancer projects which fell into one of the following ten categories; Logo Design, Video Editing, Data Entry, Virtual Assistant, SEO, Social Media Management, Resume Writing, Creative Writing, Web Programming, Mobile Apps. The starting price and ending price for each project was gathered, and a median price for each project was calculated based on these two figures. The country location of the freelancer hosting the project was also gathered.  

For the overall country ranking, the median price of freelance services was based on a minimum of 10 projects for each country, to avoid any anomalies. For the category-specific rankings, a minimum of three project listings were used. 


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Australian freelancers make more per job on average

Australia emerged as the clear leader, with freelancers charging an average of $594.56 per job. This price tag extends to creative fields like writing, web programming, and mobile app development.

India came in second with an average freelancer rate of $501. Interestingly, India also holds the title of the most expensive country for data entry services, with freelancers averaging $75.92 per project.

That said, not all India-based freelancers can command higher rates without a few awkward questions from international clients.

“Do Indians really charge this much?” This was a question freelance marketing specialist Saheli Chatterjee would often get when she started working with global clients.

“Somewhere, I internalised it,” she said in a LinkedIn post. “Truly believing that maybe because I am Indian, I should give more affordable rates, and discounts, and overcompensate for being from a third-world country.”

“It took me years to realise how wrong I was. Being Indian does not mean you deserve less,” she said.

Chatterjee, having worked in the US and India, said heritage shouldn’t diminish her worth. She said like many freelancers from India she offers a strong work ethic, impactful skills, and a blend of creativity and logic that’s changing global companies.

Morocco snagged the third spot with an average freelance rate of $402.03, boasting the second-highest video editing costs at $122.35 per job.

UK freelancers averaging less per job

Saudi Arabia and Turkey completed the top five most expensive freelancing destinations, averaging $401.64 and $393.88 per job, respectively.

However, the study placed the United Kingdom at number nine, with freelancers averaging $343.52 per project – significantly lower than the top contenders. The UK freelance economy has been impacted by the cost of living crisis, IR35 and off-payroll working costs and slashes in rates as a result of all three.

However, other freelance platforms such as Yuno Juno see UK freelancers charging higher rates as per their latest rates report. There are pros and cons of working through platforms versus engaging client work independently, which we go into detail in this Freelance Informer report.

Female freelancers must also keep on top of the gender pay gaps within not only their chosen market but specialist areas otherwise they could be earning as much as 20 to 30% less.

Where are freelancers charging the least?

Columbia emerged as the market where freelancers are charging or making the least amount per job on Upwork as per the methodology. Here, freelancers charge an average of just $72.13 per job – a stark contrast to the high fees of Australia.

Brazil and Argentina followed closely behind, averaging $79.81 and $80.84 per freelance project, respectively.

Understanding the data

Commenting on the findings, Tim Lee, CEO and founder of Bookipi, highlighted the connection between a country’s economic strength and freelancer rates: “Typically, countries with robust economies and high living standards tend to host the most expensive freelancers,” Lee said, referencing Australia’s top ranking

However, that is not always the case. Lee acknowledged India’s unique position, where specialised skills in certain sectors allow freelancers to command higher prices for clients in markets such as Australia, the US and the UK.

Empowering Freelancers

Lee expressed hope that the data would empower freelancers worldwide: “We hope this ranking will help empower freelance workers around the world to know their worth and be more confident in fairly pricing their services,” he said.

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