Filipino freelancers are enjoying a healthy influx of overseas clients, according to a recent joint white paper by US-based financial services company Payoneer and Philippine mobile payments provider GCash.
The Philippines Freelance Market 2022 report, which included a survey of 5,560 GCash users across the country, noted that the country’s gig economy continues to thrive despite – and even because of – the Covid-19 pandemic.
Well before the onset of the global health crisis, the 2019 edition of the report noted that the Philippines was the sixth fastest-growing freelance market in the world, with a 35% boost in earnings. This growth was further cemented by the pandemic, which saw many local freelancers taking their businesses online and thereby facilitating cross-border business.
The shift to online transactions has also led to the emergence of a new breed of freelancer, the content creator: the report defines this segment as “individuals who create content and use social media or personal websites to distribute their work. They commonly produce and publish their work before clients are secured.” This contrasts with traditional freelancers who secure clients either by direct bidding or through representation by a company or agency.
Over 40% of freelancers are either exclusively content creators or doing a mix of traditional freelance work and content creation, according to the report. Most Philippine content creators are on Facebook and Instagram, with TikTok in third place ahead of traditional online content sites YouTube and Twitter.
“Social media has caused the evolution of freelancing work from a traditional working model with its pre-determined contract and less flexible arrangements to content creators, online influencers and digital nomads. These freelancers tend to gravitate towards design, photography, blogging and vlogging as a path to landing new projects. And they are using online marketplaces and messaging apps to sell their offerings,” the report explained.
Moreover, Filipino freelancers are gaining in demand overseas, particularly in including the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates. Citing Creative Economy Council of the Philippines president Paolo Mercado, the report noted that as many as 1.5 million Filipinos are currently signed up with international online freelancing platforms.