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How Kenya’s Freelancers Compete on Price in the Global Market

Kenya has been ranked 9th among the countries with the least expensive freelancers. This is according to a study conducted by Bookipi on the freelancing platform Upwork, which serves as a meeting ground for freelancers and businesses from across the globe. The study meticulously parsed through data pertaining to average pricing for popular services such as logo design, video editing, and data entry. Bookipi’s analysis provides a glimpse into the cost of freelance labour worldwide, with a specific focus on 40 countries whose data could be fairly compared.

At the heart of the study lies a data scrape of Upwork, which aimed to establish a clear understanding of the pricing trends in the freelance marketplace. The results were eye-opening, positioning Colombia as the country with the most economical freelance services at an average job cost of just $72.13. The Latin American region appeared to offer a competitive edge with Brazil and Argentina closely following Colombia, showcasing an advantage for businesses looking for affordable freelancing options.

Bookipi says their approach to the study was robust, focusing on a range of service categories that are often outsourced through platforms like Upwork. By examining the starting and ending prices of various projects and then determining a median, Bookipi was able to mitigate the distortion that outliers might cause in such a data set. Furthermore, the freelance profiles were not just numbers; they were reflections of individual professionals scattered around the globe, each with a unique cultural background and professional expertise.

The placing of Kenya at ninth, where the average cost per job is a mere $111.99, speaks volumes about the freelance industry in the country. It is a testament to the talent pool that is growing within the nation and could be interpreted in different ways: It might indicate tough competition among freelancers leading to lower prices, a potential lack of specialised talents or certifications for higher-paying roles, or perhaps freelancers in Kenya are not aware that they could be charging more for their services. Alternatively, this pricing could stem from less trust from employers offering the job, opting to pay Kenyan freelancers less despite comparable quality of work. These factors are crucial considerations for Kenya’s growing digital workforce and need to be addressed to harness the full potential of the gig economy.

The top 20 countries with the least expensive freelancers:

RankCountryAverage Price per Freelancing Job
8Sri Lanka$107.00
13South Africa$138.88

As Kenya’s gig economy continues to pick up, steered by none other than the government itself, it will be interesting to observe how Kenyan freelancers evolve in the global playing field in terms of charging more and enhancing their skill sets.

Tim Lee, the CEO and founder of Bookipi, notes, diversity enriches the global workforce. The differences in living standards, economic robustness, and cultural backgrounds all culminate in the pricing structure of freelance services. Australia, contrastingly, stands as the most expensive country for hiring freelancers, with an average price of $594.56 per job, which is significantly higher than the global average. This indicates that economic strength and high living standards significantly influence freelance pricing.

What stands out in the findings is the placement of India as the country with the second-highest rate for freelancers, an average of $501.00 per job. This pricing is indicative of the specialized skills and expertise that Indian freelancers bring to the table, particularly in the fields of IT and digital marketing. Despite the country’s general economic positioning, these professionals command higher rates, a likely result of the growing tech industry and the high demand for these specialized services.

The variation in freelance costs revealed by this study could serve as a powerful tool for businesses strategising their outsourcing needs. It enables a better allocation of resources by offering insights into where affordable yet skilled labor can be sourced. For freelancers, this data is a gold mine. It encourages them to understand the value of their services within a global context and to price themselves accordingly.

Moreover, the study is a wake-up call to countries with expensive freelancers to perhaps rethink their strategies and pricing in order to remain competitive. On the flip side, it’s an empowering message to the freelancers in countries like Kenya to recognise their worth and to confidently market their services on the global stage.


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