Highest-paying freelance jobs of 2020 where you earn $90,000 or more

With some work advocates worrying that the worst paid gig workers will be exploited by corporations, freelance workers on the other end of the income spectrum are seeing booming demand for their services and even increasing their profitability.

A list of the highest paid freelance jobs, compiled for CNBC.com by the global freelance platform Upwork, shows dozens of jobs that freelancers can earn $ 90,000 a year – or more.

“People should look at this list and think a little differently about the freelance economy,” said Adam Ozimek, Upwork’s chief economist. “Too much emphasis is placed on a narrow corner of the professional economy and the low-skilled workforce. This report shows how diverse this segment of the economy is and how much of it is high-skilled work.”

According to a separate study by the Upwork and Freelancers Union, nearly 60 million Americans were freelance workers, either full-time or part-time, in 2019, which is more than a third of the American workforce. Skilled services were the most common type of professional activity.

A study by MBO partners found that more than half of full-time independent workers feel financially more secure in their current roles than in traditional professions. That report found that there are more than 15 million full-time freelancers, with one in five making more than $ 100,000 a year.

In the absence of a major recession, experts offer many opportunities for freelance workers with professional skills, according to 2020.

“High-end professionals are going to have a great year next year, whether they’re freelance or not,” said Steve King, partner at Emergent Research, a Lafayette, Calif. Company that studies the independent workforce. “The job market is just so tight and these skills are really hard to find.”

Here’s a look at the highest-paying freelance jobs that Upwork says will be in high demand in 2020. The annual income is based on a 40-hour week, 50 weeks a year.

Professional group: company law

Example career: Intellectual Property Attorney; Legal advisor to the company
Hourly rate: $ 85
Possible annual income: 170,000 USD *

Professional group: contract law

Example career: Contract signatory; Litigator; General Counsel
Hourly rate: $ 75
Annual rate: $ 150,000

Occupational group: financial planner

Example career: Financial Modeling Expert; CPA; Financial estate planning attorney
Hourly rate: $ 62.50
Annual rate: $ 125,000

Occupational group: business consulting

Example career: Business consultant
Hourly rate: $ 60
Annual rate: $ 120,000

Job category: ERP / CRM software

Example career: Solution architect; Consultant; developer
Hourly rate: $ 60
Annual rate: $ 120,000

Job category: network and system administration

Example career: Network architect; IT
Hourly rate: $ 60
Annual rate: $ 120,000

Job category: data visualization

Example career: Developer; Programmer; Data visualization analyst; Survey and Research Design Consultant
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Occupational group: machine learning

Example career: Deep learning analytics consultant; Predictive Analytics Consultant
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Occupational group: quantitative analysis

Example career: Professor of Economics; statistical analyst
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Professional group: presentations

Example career: Presentation designer and author
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Job category: database administration

Example career: Data engineer; Systems engineer
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Occupational group: display advertising

Example career: Graphic designer; Internet marketer
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Job Category: Email and Marketing Automation

Example career: Marketing expert; Developer; Senior Marketing Strategist; Consultant
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100.00

Occupational group: Marketing strategy

Example career: Digital marketing consultant; Copywriter; B2B marketing specialist
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Occupational group: SEM – search engine marketing

Example career: Google Adword Expert
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Occupational group: desktop software development

Example career: Senior Web Developer with Full Stack; Customer software developer
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Occupational group: e-commerce development

Example career: Developer; Expert in online marketing and e-commerce solutions; E-commerce integration and automation consulting
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Occupational group: Mobile development

Example career: iOS developer; Android developer; Mobile app developer
Hourly rate: $ 50
Annual rate:
$ 100,000

Job Category: Scripts & Utilities

Example career: Google Sheets experts; Expert in apps scripts; Excel automation specialist
Hourly rate: $ 49
Annual rate:
$ 98,000

Occupational group: physical design

Example career: Industrial designer; Product developer; global visual merchandising manager
Hourly rate: $ 45
Annual rate:
$ 90,000

Occupational group: mechanical engineering

Example career: Mechanical engineer; Structural engineer and designer
Hourly rate: $ 45
Annual rate:
$ 90,000

Occupational group: product design

Example career: User Experience Consultant; Product designer
Hourly rate: $ 45
Annual rate:
$ 90,000

Occupational group: web and mobile design

Example career: Web and mobile app development; User Experience Designer
Hourly rate: $ 45
Annual rate:
$ 90,000

Occupational group: web development

Example career: Full stack web development; Business Systems Expert; User Experience Designer; User interface developer
Hourly rate: $ 45
Annual rate:
$ 90,000

Occupational group: CVs & cover letters

Example career: Professional development writer; Career coach; Cover letter and LinkedIn support
Hourly rate: $ 45
Annual rate:
$ 90,000

* Upworks methodology: To compile a list of the highest paying freelance jobs, we used data from the Upwork.com database. We first pulled data from freelance jobs on the website from January 1, 2018 to December 1, 2019. We then narrowed the analysis down to categories of work that had more than 1,000 jobs completed and total freelance earnings in excess of $ 1 million. Within this range, we have ranked the 25 best jobs based on the highest median hourly wage.

To learn more about technology, transformation, and the future of work, join CNBC at the @ Work Summit in New York April 1-2, 2020.

April 12, 2021