Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Australian Freelance Rates Jump Six Per Cent In Two Years

London, UK
&Friends’ 4th Annual Freelancer Guide Unveils Unprecedented Rate Rise

Any Australian company using creative services freelancers regularly should be prepared to pay on average 6% more per day than they did 2 years ago, according to Dave Bentley (pictured above), founder of &FRIENDS (previously Cavalry). 

“This increase is the largest jump in freelance rates over the past 5 years and indicates the freelance market has not only recovered from the lows of COVID, but experienced a boom of sorts in 2022 given a number of factors including a growing talent shortage and record inflation.” Dave Bentley says. 

While an average increase of 6% per day on the surface seems like a pretty big jump, Dave cautions that when compared to Australia’s record 2022 inflation jump, the increases we experienced in 2022, rates could have gone higher.  “If freelance rates increased at the same rate as inflation, we would have seen a circa 10% jump from late 2020 to now - This would have added $56 to the average day rate, increasing it to $619. This suggests freelance rates haven’t quite caught up with inflation.” Says Dave Bentley  

“Overall we’d be surprised if there weren’t minor increases in Freelance rates over the next 12 months. The impacts on inflation on the cost of living will force freelancers to consider increasing their rates, while a softening market driven by a recession will temper how aggressively Freelancers increase them.” Dave Bentley suggests. 

While there is little doubt of a growing skill shortage in the advertising industry, the &FRIENDS experience has been nuanced. According Dave, a shortage of talent is acute in certain areas and not in others. “At &FRIENDS, the clear areas where demand strips supply have been in account service, project management, technology and UI/UX. These roles generally carry longer contract periods which makes it harder to align the supply of available freelancers with projects that have hard kick off dates...thus compounding availability. Conversely, supply and demand are much more harmonious in areas that have shorter contracts and more supply in the market such as graphic design, copywriting and content creation. “ Says Dave Bentley

According to Dave, it’s a good time to be in content creation. As a broad discipline content creation has exploded over the past 2 years and with that rates have increased substantially. The average content creation rate increased by $84 (14%) to $683 and is a clear leader over all other categories. Strategy roles are second at $676 and Marketing 3rd at $601.  

In terms of major cities, Sydney continues to have by far the highest freelance rates, however, Melbourne and Brisbane look to be catching up. Melbourne rates increased by 5% to $565 while Brisbane increased by 6% to $574. Sydney on the other hand only increased by 1% to $617 which still leads other markets by up to $43 p/d. 

When comparing seniority, Senior rates increased the most by $40 p/d to $609. Midnight was second with an increase of $30 to $497. Leads increased by $17 to $744, while Juniors decreased by $4 to $364

The 2023 edition of the &FRIENDS Freelance Rate Guide provides a detailed investigation of how freelance rates shifted over the past 2 years, covering individual disciplines, categories and locations. The goal of the report is to help both companies and freelancers better understand the latest freelance market conditions within creative services and by doing so help align expectations and planning. 

The rate guide also coincides with &FRIENDS in Australia reducing their fees by up to 70%. 

According to Dave, “with a growing talent shortage and inflation, we wanted to part of the solution for companies and freelancers. Not part of the problem. We hope companies take this opportunity to tap into our 8,000 strong community.”

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