The Rise of the Freelancer: Insights into the Gig Economy

Analysing the Shift in Freelance Job Search Interest Amid the UK Cost of Living Crisis



      • Analysis of search trend data from 2013 to 2023 shows a significant surge in interest toward freelance jobs and related terms, with brand searches for popular freelance platforms such as Fiverr, UpWork, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour reaching a decade high in Q1 & Q2 2023.


      • The shift towards freelance work extends across all regions and various industries, indicating a broader transformation within the labour market. This transformation is driven by a growing demand for flexibility and control over work-life balance.


    • The rise in freelance work signifies increased market resilience, potentially strengthening the economy amidst the cost of living crisis. This shift is providing an abundance of opportunities for both businesses, who can access a wider range of skilled professionals, and individuals, who can manage their personal and professional responsibilities more flexibly and diversify their career trajectories.

In the midst of the cost of living crisis currently impacting the UK, there has been an observable surge in interest toward freelance jobs and associated search terms. This data, drawn from a rigorous analysis of search trends from platforms such as Google, unveils a potentially profound transformation within our job market and wider economy.

The investigation, which comprises data from June 2013 to July 2023, focuses on the analysis of relevant search terms, the popularity of leading freelance platforms, and the geographic distribution of the increasing interest in freelance employment.

The findings reveal a significant increase in curiosity around freelance work. For instance, brand searches for platforms such as Fiverr, UpWork, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour reached a decade high in Q1 and Q2 2023.

Search interest for the keyword ‘find freelancer’ also hit a 10-year high worldwide.

Data reveals 10 of the most popular freelance related search terms on Google UK:

          1. Freelance Writing – 1600 monthly searches
          2. Freelance Copywriter – 1600 monthly searches
          3. Freelance Graphic Designer – 1300 searches
          4. Freelance Web Designer – 1000 monthly searches
          5. Freelance Photographer – 880 monthly searches
          6. Freelance SEO Consultant – 880 monthly searches
          7. Freelance Designer – 720 monthly searches
          8. Freelance Web Developer – 720 monthly searches
          9. Freelance Accountant – 720 monthly searches
          10. Freelance Social Media Manager – 590 monthly searches

The trend toward freelance work extends beyond the boundaries of specific regions or industries. Data analysis reveals that interest is pervasive across both urban and rural environments. Moreover, distinct industry-specific trends have begun to emerge, indicating a shift in the dynamics of job markets across different sectors.

Closer examination of the data indicates a clear demand for specific skills and sectors within the freelance economy. This trend highlights fast-growing job types and provides insights into the prospective direction of the freelance market.

The findings also suggest a broader transformation within the labour market. The increasing demand for flexibility and control over work-life balance has been a key driver in the shift towards freelance employment. Concurrently, the growth of the gig economy has enabled businesses to tap into a diverse talent pool, fostering an innovative and adaptable business environment in the face of economic uncertainty.

Moreover, the surge in freelance work could be indicative of increased market resilience, potentially bolstering the economy in response to the cost of living crisis. This shift is not only transforming the job market, it’s also providing a plethora of opportunities for both businesses and professionals. While businesses are granted access to a wide range of skilled professionals for innovative growth, individuals gain the flexibility to manage personal and professional responsibilities and diversify their career trajectories.

In conclusion, the rise of freelance work represents a significant paradigm shift within our job landscape and economy. As the gig economy gains momentum, freelance opportunities are set to become an integral part of our working world, shaping the future of various industries and contributing to economic resilience. Stay tuned to this space for more insights and updates on the transformative power of freelance work.


Related resources


  1. Google Trends
  2. SEMRush