The most searched-for freelance roles for 2022

February 25th, 2022 .
Authored by Hiscox Experts .
4 min read
image showing freelancer writing notes in shared working space
Freelancing is a popular way to work, but what are the most searched-for freelance jobs? Here, we dig into Google search data to reveal the top professions and trends for 2022.

Freelancing is a popular way to work, but what are the most searched-for freelance jobs? Here, we dig into Google search data to reveal the top professions and trends for 2022.

To find out which freelance professions were most in-demand for 2022, we’ve analysed Google search data and mapped the patterns over recent years.

Following a strong 2021, ‘freelance graphic designer’ is the most searched term in 2022, with freelance writer not far behind.

The data shows searches for ‘freelance designer’, ‘freelance accountant’ and ‘freelance social media manager’ are also on the rise.

So, what are the most popular freelance niches and which are the professions to watch for the remainder of the year?




Google search volumes for selected freelance professions, June 2022 year to date

Freelance professions

Google search volumes, 2022

Freelance graphic designer


Freelance writer


Freelance copywriter


Freelance photographer


Freelance web developer


Freelance designer


Freelance accountant


Freelance social media manager


Freelance seo


Freelance journalist


freelance video editor


freelance project manager


freelance illustrator


freelance translator


freelance quantity surveyor


freelance website designer


freelance ux designer


freelance seo expert


Freelance videographer


Freelance content writer


From 2016 to 2022, ‘freelance copywriter’ experienced the highest increase of any freelance-related term.

Interest in freelance accounting is on an upward trend according to the search data. 2021 and early 2022 saw this profession’s figures meet or surpass the four-year average every month.

Search interest in social media freelancing has also skyrocketed. There were just 210 searches for this term in February 2018, but since January 2022 the average has been 800.

Changing trends, skills and working preferences could shift the dials later in 2022.

The importance of freelancing to the UK economy

Freelancing means many things to the people who make their living independently – plenty of freedom, a dash of responsibility and the opportunity to shape your own income. It’s a popular way to work and do business – according to the Office for National Statistics, there were more than four million (external link) self-employed jobs in the UK in 2022 as of June.

Some self-employed people work full time, while others are employed in other roles and use freelancing to pursue a side project.

Since then, the labour market has shifted – in May 2022 there were 1.3 million employment vacancies (external link) in the UK. This new reality may tempt some freelancers back to traditional employment, but the vast majority of freelancers, it seems, won’t be budged.

All this activity isn’t just a sign of entrepreneurial spirit – it’s also economically valuable.

According to a white paper from Henley Business School, side hustles generate £72 billion for the UK economy (external link). To put it another way, that’s roughly 3.6% of yearly GDP.

Back in 2020, we reported that one in four Brits said they had a side hustle. Professor Bernd Vogel, the founding director of Henley Centre for Leadership, predicts side-project freelancing could double by 2030 (external link).

In 2022 and beyond, more people might reap the rewards of solo professionalism.

Opportunities and risks for freelance professionals

Freelancing brings plenty of opportunity for flexibility, plus the chance to carve out your own path. Upskilling in emerging professions can give some freelancers an edge – for instance, by getting up to speed with the latest software knowledge.

On the flipside, many freelancers follow their heart. For professionals caught in the daily race, freelancing can be a low-commitment way to try out creative projects. Some eventually turn their passion into a full-time business.

Research from Brockson Legal suggests freelancers and contractors could be set for a lucrative 2022. 75% of those surveyed reported plans to raise freelancer pay rates (external link) by more than 10%.

This comes as the UK jobs market springs back from a rocky 18 months. Changes may also be linked to new freelancer tax rules that came into play with IR35 in April 2021. For freelancers who work closely with set clients, working out if you’re inside or outside IR35 adds complexity, but it means some tax responsibilities could be passed to the businesses that engage your services.

Naturally, working as a freelancer comes with certain administrative and tax responsibilities, so missing the Self Assessment Tax Return deadline can bring risk.

Unlike many employees, freelancers also take ultimate responsibility for the impacts of their work. This means many freelance professionals need to weigh up their insurance requirements to guard against risks such as client complaints, accidents and court cases.

At Hiscox, we provide insurance for freelancers working in a range of industries. Read our business blog for more resources about freelancers and contractors or take a look at our strategic and practical guides to starting up.

At Hiscox, we want to help your small business thrive. Our blog has many articles you may find relevant and useful as your business grows. But these articles aren’t professional advice. So, to find out more on a subject we cover here, please seek professional assistance.

Hiscox Experts

Hiscox insures over 400,000 businesses (based on the number of policies sold in 2021), has a Defaqto five-star rating and is the proud winner of the Feefo Platinum Service award (2020-2022), rated by real customers.