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Freelancing by the Numbers

​We highlight some of the key findings from Own Account Workers 2017, the Ministry of Manpower's latest survey on freelancers.

Much has been discussed about how freelancing has established itself as a new mode of employment and how the gig economy is growing.


In its latest survey report, Own Account Workers 2017, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) crunches the numbers and dishes on the details. Here are some of the key highlights…


Freelancer Numbers are Increasing

According to the survey findings, there are over 223,500 freelancers (dubbed own account workers) in Singapore as of June 2017. This is marked increase from June 2016, where the numbers were listed as 200,100.


Of this number, some 85 per cent or 190,900 of them engaged in freelancing full time, while the remaining 32,600 did freelancing as a side 'gig'.


They're Increasingly Higher Educated

The number of freelancers with a tertiary education has grown from 37 per cent in 2016 to 40 per cent in 2017.


They're Earning More

The number of freelancers with annual incomes of more than $20,000 have increased from 49 per cent in 2016 to 58 per cent in 2017. In particular, more freelancers (25 per cent) are earning $40,000 or more annually compared to 2016 (19.7 per cent).


Guess the Top Jobs

Traditional occupations like taxi drivers, working proprietors, insurance agents, real estate agents, tutors and media related freelancers continue to be the most common freelance jobs.


However, there has been a higher proportion of private hire drivers and tutors working as part-time freelancers. If you're wondering about which category social influencers, YouTube personalities and bloggers fall under, MOM classifies them generally under working proprietors.


Freelancers Have Concerns Too

Two in three freelancers have indicated that they face challenges in their work. Uncertainty of finding work was the top concern cited, followed by non-eligibility for employee benefits like healthcare, and not getting paid in full or on time.


Jonathan Tan