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The Great Resignation: Top industries and locations where people are freelancing

The Great Resignation has significantly shaken up the workforce over the past year and is proving to be a lasting trend. Not only have people quit their jobs, but many are doing so in order to start their own business or go freelance.

According to Statista, 67.6 million people were freelancing in 2020 and by 2027, it’s projected that freelancers will make up over 50% of the US workforce.

But which industries and roles have seen the greatest transition to freelance? And where are these freelancers located?

Here are the top industries and locations where people are freelancing during the Great Resignation.

Who’s quitting?

There are some industries that have been impacted by the Great Resignation more than others. In addition to retail, hospitality, and healthcare, the technology industry saw a great number of people quitting due to burnout and the desire to switch up their work styles to better fit their lifestyles (e.g., remain remote). 

As an example of a role within the technology industry that’s seen freelance traction, the number of freelancers in technology fields like computer programming increased to 53% in 2021 from 50% in 2020.

Creative industries are also experiencing a shake up when it comes to people leaving their 9-5 roles for independent work, with marketing being another popular freelance role.

Top roles where people freelance

Within these industries, there are a handful of roles that are both popular choices for freelancers and are in high demand for those seeking contract services. 

Business consulting, marketing, writing, project management, and information technology are all freelance roles that have gained significant traction during the pandemic

Our most popular scope of work templates back this up. Here were the top five scope of work templates our users used to land more projects in 2021: 

Where are the freelancers?

So, where are the majority of people who freelance located?

According to Wethos user data, these are the top 10 locations of freelancers:

  • New York 
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Atlanta 
  • Austin
  • Phoenix 
  • Denver
  • Las Vegas

While major cities like New York City and Los Angeles are represented here, our data also indicates that freelancers are located *everywhere* around the country.

Being a freelancer today means you no longer need to be within close proximity to a major metropolitan like you may have been for traditional 9-5 roles.

Key Takeaways

The shift toward independent work doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon. Throughout the Great Resignation and beyond, freelancing will continue to be the chosen career path for many as more people realize the opportunity to leverage in-demand skills to create an independent business of their own. 

All of this data also points to another unique opportunity for independents: teaming up. 

Those in the technology industry and creative industry can use their complementary skills to scale their businesses by scoping and winning larger projects with bigger clients. 

Big city or small town, technical skill or creative industry, there are many options worth exploring if you’re considering joining the Great Resignation and launching an independent business of your own.


Ready to start freelancing?