It’s difficult to say just when coworking spaces first got their start. According to some, the idea of a shared office space started in Berlin in 1995, when a group of hackers decided to get together in a designated space. Eventually, the idea spread, and the first coworking space in the United States opened in San Francisco in 2005.
Since then, coworking has become increasingly popular. Whether you’re a freelancer, solo practitioner in a professional industry, or an entrepreneur, coworking offers an opportunity to work in a well-equipped office without shouldering the high costs of maintaining a brick and mortar location.
Many people also enjoy coworking because it gives them a better work-life balance. Instead of feeling like they’re stuck in a cubicle farm or chained to a desk for eight or more hours, they have the freedom to work during times that also work for them.
As more people turn to coworking as an alternative to the traditional office setting, the demographics of coworking are shifting. It’s interesting to see how coworking demographics are changing over time. A 2019 survey of coworking spaces around the world reveals some fascinating statistics about the people who use coworking.
- Women Make Up a Majority of Coworking Users
For the first time, women passed men as the majority of coworking members. As of 2019, women account for more than 50 percent of people who use coworking spaces.
Interestingly, when the research firm behind the survey asked coworking members in general what percentage of cowork users were female, respondents replied that the number was 40 percent.
According to researchers, the gap between people’s perception and reality could be explained by the fact that women tend to use working spaces less often than their male counterparts, but only on weekdays. Researchers believe that survey respondents might have underestimated the number of women using the space because women aren’t as visible during the week.
- Freelancers Are the Biggest Coworking Demographic
Since coworking spaces first burst onto the work scene, freelancers have typically made up the biggest number of individuals who use coworking spaces. This didn’t change in 2019. According to the survey, freelancers account for 42 percent of people who use coworking spaces.
In large cities, however, employees made up the biggest number of coworking users. Researchers also found that employees dominated in large cities in North America and Asia, whereas Europe tended to have higher percentages of freelancers using coworking spaces.
- The Age of Coworking Members Remained Steady
On average, people who use flexible office spaces are in their mid- to late-30s, with the average age being 36. Researchers found that both younger and older people are turning to coworking spaces, with ages spanning a wide enough range to keep the average age steady.
Regardless of their age, coworking members tend to be highly educated. Among all age groups, 80 percent of coworking users have a college degree.
- Coworking Spaces Are Predominately White
Researchers found that coworking spaces in the United States tend to have an ethnic divide. According to the survey, 90 percent of coworking users in the U.S. identified as Caucasian. The research firm behind the survey stated that 2019 was the first year they asked coworking users in the U.S. to self-identify as a particular race.
The firm also stated that it didn’t ask this question when surveying coworking members overseas. The rationale behind this is that ethnicity comparisons don’t offer much meaning in countries with a less diverse population. For example, a survey of coworking members in an Asian country will reveal that the number of coworking members identify overwhelmingly as Asian.
In the U.S., however, the general population is much more diverse, so questions about ethnicity offer more nuanced data. Researchers are hopeful that knowing these numbers can help the coworking industry raise awareness about coworking as an option among minority business owners and entrepreneurs. Many solo attorneys and small law firms have been using executive offices. Visit https://venturexdcc.com/co-working-for-lawyers/
- There Are Wage Gaps Among Coworking Members
The survey also revealed some interesting data about wage discrepancies among various demographics.
For example, women in coworking spaces earned less than men on average. Additionally, members of both genders who identified as self-employed tended to make less money than people working for an employer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, coworking members who lived in large cites earned a higher income than their rural or suburban counterparts.
- Digital Nomads Continue to Rely on Coworking Spaces
The number of coworking users who rely on coworking spaces while working abroad held steady at 14 percent. This refers to people who spend at least part of their year traveling overseas and continuing to work during their travels.
Among coworking members who worked abroad, the majority earned a higher income compared to those who worked without traveling. Researchers say this could be due to the cost of living in countries where digital nomads work.