Filipinos are money-wise, and we never fail to find new ways on how to earn money. With the advancements in technology, ways on how to earn money online is on the rise, and one of the most popular is Online Freelancing. Read more to know about the State of Freelancing in the Philippines.
“Online Freelancing” sounds familiar right? Well, you might have heard it from a friend, or stumbled upon advertisements on your social media accounts, or watched news and segments on TV that talks about it. But what really is Online Freelancing? To make it simple, a freelancer as defined by Freelancer.com “is a professional who offers her or his service to one or several clients at once without being obligated to any of them. Freelancers offer varied services and their work can take different forms”. In other words, a freelancer is someone who is self-employed, working on a contract basis instead of a long term one as that to working in a company, and can work on various kinds of job for multiple clients at the same time.
Online Freelancing therefore, is having the freedom to choose your own line of job, the time of the day and week you will work, the amount of pay you will get, and having the convenience of staying at home. In here, you don’t need to worry about being late, you don’t need to be all dressed up, and you don’t need to suffer the agony of daily commuting. Bosses are constantly changing and you don’t have to deal with snack-stealing workmates. The only thing that you have to worry in online freelancing is having a stable internet connection and obviously, meeting deadlines.
Filipino freelancers in numbers
Over the years, more and more Filipinos are giving online freelancing a shot. As of 2015, Upwork has an estimated 1.4 million of registered Filipino users. In addition, Freelancer puts the number of Filipino freelancers registered on their site to more than 800,000 as of 2016. Add to that the thousands of other Filipinos working for other freelancing sites, and there is no denying that freelancing is indeed a booming industry in the Philippines.
Surveys shows that females dominate the freelance scene with a ratio of 3:1 with their male counterparts. However, males seems to dominate the lowest and highest earning brackets. Female freelancers on the other hand appears to dominate the middle earning bracket, but the number declines as the amount of earning increases.
How much an average freelancer earns?
In terms of earnings, a study shows that Filipino freelancers earn on average about Php39,000 (~$780) per month – which is already pretty huge for most. 56% of the freelancers were earning below Php30,000 (~$600) and 24% of the freelancers earn about Php50,000 (~$1000) up to Php100,000+ (~$2000+) per month. The average Filipino freelancer works for 32 hours weekly, divide that to the average monthly income, this translates to ~$6.10/hr.
Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk) reported that from 2010 through the first four months of 2014, Filipino freelancers were able to earn a total of 9 billion pesos. The same report also shows the provinces with the most active freelancers based on total earnings. Cebu was found to be the top performing province with freelancers earning a total of ~Php706 million from 2010 to 2014. Other provinces like Iligan, Bacolod, and Davao were also recognized with total earnings of ~Php342 million, ~Php221 million, and ~Php174 million respectively. Metro Manila which includes Quezon City, Manila, Makati, and Pasig freelancers were able to earn ~Php1.3 billion from the same time period.
What industries/niche does offer jobs?
Virtual assistant and admin work jobs are the primary work for Filipino freelancers with 54% of the same study population rendering this type of service. This is followed by those who render writing and blogging jobs with 13%. 10% of which are doing customer service jobs and most of the remaining ~20% are doing marketing and designing jobs.
Although most of Filipino freelancers do virtual assistant, admin work, and customer service jobs, these two jobs are have the lowest average hourly rate among industries. Virtual assistant and admin work jobs pays an average of ~Php265 ($5.3) per hour. Customer service jobs pays an average of ~Php267.50 ($5.35) per hour. Writing, Programming, Web Designing, Graphic Designing and Language related jobs are on the average with hourly rates ranging from ~Php586 ($11.72) up to ~Php787.50 ($15.75). Owning business showed to be the most lucrative way of earning online with an average hourly rate of ~Php2250 ($45).
Years of experience vs. earning
Most top earner freelancers have at least 5 years of experience. However, there is also a decent number of freelancers who earns Php30,000 to Php50,000 with only 2 to 3 years of experience. While most of those who only have 6 months to 1 year experience earn less than Php30,000 it is also important to mention that there are some of them who are already earning up to more than Php50,000 despite the short work experience. These results shows that the amount of freelancers earn can be affected by many other factors and not solely based on the years of experience.
Finding freelance work is not that easy, but with the emergence of freelancing platforms, it is now easier for freelancers to advertise or offer their services and increase the possibility of getting hired.
Upwork still remains the primary venue for Filipino freelancers to find possible clients, 56% of freelancers find job through them. This is followed by onlinejobs.ph with 17% and by referrals at 14%.
These numbers could speak a lot about Filipino freelancers. These numbers are proof of their hard-working attitude and great quality of work, and could mean a brighter future for the freelancing industry in the country.
Edge of Filipino freelancers over others
Filipinos are known to be really hard-working and dedicated when it comes to doing jobs. This hard-working culture is what clients and employers like the most about Filipino freelancers. They are also easy to train and easy to instruct, thanks to their willingness and eagerness to learn new skills for the sake of having better outputs.
Fluency in the English Language
Philippines is ranked 3rd best English speaking country in Asia next to Singapore and India, and 35th out of 163 countries in the world. This can be the reason why the most active freelancing gigs for Filipinos are content writing and customer service. It is also important to note that there is a growing demand for English language tutors in the country.
This fluency in the language gives Filipino freelancers the edge over others since this means that they can have better communication with international clients. Better communication leads to better rapport and establishing good rapport between the freelancer and the client is very important to have a loyal clientele.
Lower asking rate
When compared to other freelancers from other nations, Freelancers from the country actually have lower asking price for the same service. This is one of the main reason on why international clients and companies prefer Filipino freelancers since they are capable of delivering at a lower price without compromising the quality of their outputs.
Filipino freelancers, as opposed to the “Filipino time” habit, are actually fast workers. The average Filipino freelance worker can get a job done in as fast as three to four days. This fast turnaround together with high quality outputs is what makes Filipino freelancers more bankable and relevant in this industry. In fact, a little digging for jobs on freelancing website will sometimes give you the phrases “For Filipinos Only” or “Philippines-based only” “For “pinoys” as a requirement when you apply.
Perks of being a freelancer
Working as a freelancer for part time or even full time comes with a lot of perks. From being able to choose your own working schedule and being able to work even in your pajamas up to being able to bargain for the payment of your rendered service. Besides these perks, working as a freelancer also has a lot of great advantages.
The Philippines is a melting pot of world-class talents, but the problem is the lack of great opportunities available in the country that can totally utilize or compensate them. Jobseekers need to be competitive enough to land in good positions while the rest ends up overworked and underpaid.
In contrast, the freelancing world paints a different picture; offering opportunities in various skills, with international clientele that can pay good money, and most importantly reasonable work hours.
More opportunities simply means bigger earning. A skilled freelance writer can potentially make 3 to 4 articles in one day if he/she works full time. Even if positioned in the lowest rate of $3-$5 per article, he/she could still make up to Php18,000+ in a month. That is more than 50% more compared to the average minimum monthly wage of Filipino workers.
Freelancers working in other niche are even enjoying bigger earnings, a freelance web designer for example can have an average of $22/hour salary. This is the main reason why the field of Information Technology and Programming have the highest level of income satisfaction.
Flexibility of schedule
Freelancers have a full control of their work schedules. Unlike regular employees, freelancers have the privilege of working unsupervised at the comfort of their own home. This is very ideal to most Filipinos workers, especially those in the metro who needs to endure hours of heavy traffic every day just to get to their workplaces.
Based on a global evaluation of traffic situation conducted by Waze, it was found out that Metro Manila has the worst traffic in the world. Thankfully, freelancers who works part time or full time at home are safe from the hassle of everyday commute.
The everyday stress of daily commuting can actually have an impact on the quality of output that a worker can produce. Without these worries of being late and the stress caused by traffic, freelancers can actually focus more on their given tasks and be able to produce better quality outputs at a faster rate.
In addition to this benefit of being able to choose your own workplace, freelancers also have the perk of being able to control their own time. This gives them the ability to accept several projects and manage the time allotted for each. This will also give them the freedom to fulfill their duties to their families without affecting work.
Better balance in life
In relation to the advantage of being able to choose their own work time, freelancers can create a good balance between their works, family, social and personal lives. Freelancer parents will benefit the most to this privileged since they will be able to fulfill their duties to their children and still have a source of income. This could also mean that more time will be allocated for bonding time between families.
Young adult freelancers on the other hand, loves socializing, spending time with friends, and being always on the go. Having the privilege to control their schedules allows them to create a good balance between work and social lives without having to worry of getting broke.
With the prevalence of corporate downsizing and the constant rise of business startups, the need for freelancers also continues to increase. A business or company needs manpower in order to grow, but hiring a number of employees can be a challenge especially for small businesses and starting companies. So in order to gain access to professional services without breaking the bank, they tend to turn to freelancers.
The rising number of platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, Fiverr, and others that connect freelancers to clients are also growing in number. With these trends, the concern of not having enough opportunity for freelancers can be put aside.
With the world that continues to get more connected every day, the freelancing industry in the country will also continue to progress and provide massive opportunities for freelancers in the country. With these growing opportunities, more accessible platforms, hard-working culture, and positive attitude towards work, Filipino freelancers will surely stay long in this industry.