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Freelancers in Russia and worldwide: sociological portrait

Independent research Serebro Lab
Freelancers in Russia and worldwide: sociological portrait

This work is a detailed description of little studied social strata as freelancers. While IT tools develop, services extend and labour becomes more and more intellectual and less materially biased, there is no need to be firmly attached to one’s permanent workplace. Companies find it beneficial to attract suitable specialists for shortterm projects and save costs to maintain their office staff. At the same time specialists do not depend on one organization, do not sell their time at fixed price but the service (site development, copywriting, photosessions etc.). They may do other projects, express their creativity, self organize, improve their skills at the right pace for them and do not feel under pressure.
These are obvious advantages for both sides and lead to massive growth of freelancers throughout the world including Russia, of course.
Currently a lot of services and products are aimed at freelancers, i.e. portable, cheap gadgets (tablets, laptops) which allow them to open an office everywhere, cloud services, virtual means of communication,  management project systems, coworkings and other ‘third places’ and many other services.
This study is written to give a clear picture how to adapt these products and services to freelancers needs, shape the right commercial offer for the target audience and successfully build up marketing communications with them.
Apart from that the report will be good for employers who hire distant workers because it has a lot of data about freelancers’ portrait: what they feel about their job, what really motivates them to work.

The first part of our work is devoted to global analysis of freelancers on the base of foreign research: location, typical jobs, average income, schedule, client bringing channels, advantages and disadvantages of freelancers, intentions and selfawareness.

Analysis of the Russian audience in the second part of the study embraces aspects of their attitude to work in comparison with employed workers, the difference in how they organize their worktime, pros and cons of home office; visiting ‘third places’ — alternatives to offices, perception of the concept ‘success’, enterprise potential of freelancers, who are freelancers’ clients and what workprocess is like.


Freelancer survey (online freelancer survey, 573 participants, 2013)
Personal interviews with freelancers
Desk study

Project expert

Vera Kcharchenko, sociology specialist, freelance resercher, lecturer of Ural State University

Research done in august-october 2013.
Report volume – 57 pages.
The report has 31 charts and 21 tables.
The report language — Russian.


List of charts. 4
List of tables. 6
Introduction. 7
Freelancers worldwide. 9
Prerequisites and origin of freelance. 9
Number and locations of freelancers. 10
Most typical jobs of freelancers. 11
Sources of professional knowledge of freelancers. 12
Work schedule and income of freelancers. 12
Motivation and freelancers values. 15
Difficulties of freelancers. 17
Self awareness and freelancer intentions. 19
Freelancers in Russia. 22
What Russian freelancers are like. 22
Freelance as a source of income. 22
Social and demographic characteristics of freelancers. 24
Education level of freelancers. 25
Geography of freelance. 26
Motivation and values of freelancers. 26
Enterprise potential of freelancers. 31
Most typical jobs of freelancers. 33
Attitude of freelancers to work* 34
Difficulties of freelance. 36
Special features of work schedule of a freelancer. 37
How freelancers organize their worktime. 38
Where to find a freelancer: online presence. 39
Home as work space: pros&cons. 41
Alternative workplaces of freelancers. 41
Material status of freelencers. 44
Social self awareness of freelancers. 45
Notion of success for the freelancer. 46
Clients of freelancers and interaction with them. 48
About the company. 56
Reference to participants and experts of the market 57


1. Location of freelancers (continents).
2. Most typical freelance jobs.
3. Main sources of freelance professional knowledge.
4. Work hours of freelancers.
5. Sources of finding new clients.
6. Major distant work stocks, number of users, october 2013.
7. Average tariffs of freelancers, typical jobs ($).
8. Advantages of freelance life style.
9. Level of income in comparison with the salary of an office worker.
10. Main difficulties with which freelancers face up with.
11. Time freelancers spend to find new clients (hours per month).
12. Feeling of security.
13. Feeling of happiness.
14. Degree of career satisfaction.
15. Degree of satisfaction to get an interesting task to solve.
16. Degree of income satisfaction.
17. Degree of work schedule satisfaction.
18. Freelance plans for the future.
19. Mother/fatherhood.
20. Marital status.
21. Specialisation and education of freelancer.
22. «Selfmanagement – is a key to freelancer success». Do you agree with the statement?
23. How freelancers use coworkings.
24. The size of organizations (number of employees) who hire freelancers.
25. Key advantages of working with freelancers (%).
26. Disadvantages of working with freelancers (%).
27. Projects typical for hiring freelancers (%).
28. How do you find freelancers for the job? (%).
29. Criteria for freelance selection.
30. Share of the companies who find freelancers and then take them on (%).
31. Problems for the last year of working with freelancers (%).


1. How many respondents work as freelancers and how important freelance is as source of income.
2. Combining freelance with another activity.
3. Education level of freelancers.
4. Causes to start freelance business (% of the surveyed).
5. Rating of labour values of freelancers (% of the surveyed).
6. Rating of freelance advantages (% of the surveyed).
7. Conditions of freelancer ‘move’ to the office (% of the surveyed).
8. How freelance becomes the part of enterprise activity.
9. Work planning in 5 years time.
10. Legal status of freelancer registration as individual enterpreneur.
11. Specialisation of freelancers.
12. Structure of freelance jobs based on the analysis of freelance.ru.
13. Disadvantages of freelance (% of the surveyed).
14. Features of work schedule.
15. Why out of home places are attractive for freelancers (cafes, coworkings, etc.) (% of the surveyed).
16. Average monthly income, freelance and other sources (2013).
17. Degree of satisfaction of freelancers with work and private time proportion.
18. Degree of job satisfaction.
19. Degree of income satisfaction.
20. ‘Successfulness’ definition by freelancers.
21. Idea about a successful freelancer (% of the surveyed).

Research costs 30 000 rub.
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