I know I say it a lot, but I love being a career coach. Aside from helping people discover their core skill-set and values, one of my favorite things about my job is working with diverse clients— from graphic designers to accountants— because I get insight into industries that I probably wouldn’t have the same exposure to otherwise.
From my position as a career coach, I’ve noticed that the so-called “gig economy” has been growing for years, but in the wake of covid-19 especially, one of the most significant changes I noticed across the board, in all industries, was the boom of opportunities in the freelance economy.
In 2020, 2 million workers joined the freelance economy, raising the percentage of American workers engaged in freelancing full time by 8% to an astonishing total of 36%.
The freelance sector is especially popular amongst younger generations of workers. 50% of Gen-Z and 44% of Millennials work freelance, and this upward trend has a lot to do with the fact that people feel freelance offers flexibility that a 9 to 5 schedule in-office doesn’t. This has become all the more relevant with the increasing certainty of living life with Covid-19.
It’s all true— the freelance industry gives you the opportunity to set your own schedule, which in turn, allows you to create better boundaries in your work life. Of freelancers surveyed by FlexJobs, 89% said they chose to join the gig economy because it offered a better work life balance.
If flexibility is something that appeals to you, it could be in your best interest to know which industries are growing in freelance opportunities.
- Accounting, finance, bookkeeping
Given all the financial challenges that 2020 brought, everyone could use a good accountant in the aftermath— and according to a FlexJobs report, accounting and finance was one of the hottest freelance jobs in the last year, and will continue to boom in 2022.
The demand for remote freelance jobs doesn’t just extend to CPAs, but offers many options for professional skills in finance, bookkeeping, tax filing, banking, and auditing. So, whether you are a CPA or someone who has been doing fax filing as a side hustle, you can expect the market to br rich for freelance accountants and financial professionals
- Customer service
The quality of customer service can make or break any business— after just one single bad customer service experience, 48% of consumers reported switching to another brand. The Covid-19 pandemic has left so many people shopping from home, and this has made the ability to provide diligent and personable customer service more important than ever.
One report found that on average, companies were dealing with over 100% more customer service calls that were rated as “difficult.” In the past, customer service jobs were seen as full-time positions, but more and more, companies are looking for freelancers to fill these positions. So, if you’re an enthusiastic people-person who is looking for a job with flexibility, customer service may be an industry for you to consider.
- Digital marketing
Covid-19 brought a major rise in e-commerce, with online purchases seeing a 40% rise. With so much more online shopping comes more competition in the digital space— and as a result, savvy marketing is something many businesses are looking for.
In fact, marketing consulting turns out to be one of the most profitable spaces in the freelance economy. It’s also a broad umbrella which means that there are many ways to specialize your skillset to cater to the needs of business in 2022, such as SEO, data analytics, branding or brand development, and web design.
Ding, ding, ding. It should come as no surprise that more and more people are struggling with their mental health during (and post-ish) Covid-19, which means that the value of quality therapists has skyrocketed.
Here are some numbers to paint the mental health picture in the years following the Covid-19 outbreak: 34% of couples reported that Covid-19 led to some greater conflict in their relationship. 22.95% of couples reported that working from home had a negative impact on their relationship, and of those, 6.67% said that the strain of working from home caused a breakup.
While no one should be happy about a decline in mental health, the reality does point to an opportunity for those of you who have the skill-set and experience to be a therapist for those who are seeking help.
Yes, many therapists work through centers and clinics, but many people also choose to go through online therapy models like BetterHelp. This can definitely be an opportunity for you to join the freelance economy as a therapist.
- HR and Recruiting
Along with all those other industries, remote work has made freelance HR and recruiting work grow in demand. Companies are looking to freelance human-resource professionals and recruiters to give an outside perspective, as well as flexibility to work on a project or temporary basis.
As of 2019, there were already 43,000 HR consulting companies which generated around $25 billion in revenue— this kind of flourishment and growth makes the wide scale outsource to freelancers inevitable. So if you happen to be looking for flexibility within an HR position, you can definitely find it.
- Computers and IT
Information jobs have risen the second highest in wages since lockdown in spring of 2020, behind only accommodation and food services, and it has been a sector with some of the highest numbers of freelance job listings even before the pandemic. If software publishing, programming, web developing, network engineering, etc. are fields that apply to you, then you’re in luck.
Those of you in cyber security are in an extra fortuitous position— cyber security jobs will be in especially high demand, given that cybercrime has risen considerably since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Real estate
As of September of 2020, sales of existing homes hit a 14-year high, with median prices also rising. The increase in remote work is largely responsible for driving up the real estate market.
Why? Well, remote work has taken away the commute, and with it, the need to live in a major city as to be close to an office. More and more people have the option to buy homes outside of places like New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles and move to quieter suburbs around it with more affordable housing prices.
All in all, whether you’d consider yourself a freelancing-vet or just someone who is looking to escape the traditional nine-to-five worklife, you would be doing yourself a major favor if you focused in one of these growing industries. Happy hunting!