Indian American CEO of Hired finds freelance engineers in Denver paid among the least in U.S.

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NEW YORK – The job site Hired recently conducted a study that found that freelance technology workers in Denver, Colorado earn less than the other similar contract workers in major cities, though they have better hourly rates than other full-time workers.

According to the Denver Post, the average freelance engineer makes $67 an hour which is $139,360 in a year if they work a 40-hour week while traditional full-time software engineers in Denver make $112,350 a year. however, that pay rate, as well as the $65 an hour for freelance designers, was “some of the lowest” in the analysis says the Indian American CEO of Hired, Mehul Patel.

The lower pay rates in Denver are due to a lower cost of living than “the really expensive cities” like San Francisco, New York and Washington, Patel said adding that to live a lifestyle comparable to Denver, a Bay Area freelance worker must earn at least $227,816.

“Tech workers in Denver care deeply about working for a company where they believe in the mission and can take ownership of products and processes, but work-life balance is also extremely important to them,” Patel told the Denver Post.

“That makes contract work especially appealing because it provides the flexibility to work when you want and prioritize your personal interests, whether that be raising a family or skiing in the middle of the week. Our candidates in Denver often tell us they want the best of both worlds, and freelancing can make that a reality,” he added.

Engineers in Austin, Texas, make $72 per hour, while in Chicago, they’re getting paid $83 an hour and in San Francisco, freelance engineers are paid an average of $108 per hour.
On the other end, freelance engineers in San Diego make less than those in Denver, or $64 an hour. But that rate is so low, that such workers live poorly making it one of the worst places to be a freelancer in the tech industry.

However, contract jobs are growing with freelancers making up to one-third of the U.S. workforce according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So the attraction is flexible hours, more tax deductions and fewer office politics, “freelancing seems even more appealing when you consider that many software engineers and designers work 50 to 60 hours a week,” Patel stated.

But there are downsides to a more flexible schedule as freelancing offers no paid vacation, company culture or consistency of a 40-hour week and benefits are also minimal.

Hired’s research showed that contract workers averaged 22 hours per week on projects and says that full-time employees in 2016 paid about $100 a month for health insurance premiums, while freelancers paid an average of $386 a month.

According to Hired, here are hourly rates for freelance engineers and designers in major cities:

Average hourly rate for freelancers
City EngineersDesigners
Austin, Texas$72$68
Boston, Massachusetts$91$70
Chicago, Illinois$83$65
Denver, Colorado$67$65
London, England$71$61
Los Angeles, California$102$69
New York City$97$81
San Diego, California$64$73
Seattle, Washington$77$87
San Francisco Bay Area$108$88
Toronto, Ontario, Canada$56$45
Washington, D.C.$81$100
Source: Hired State of Contract Work 2017
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