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Coworkers

The Members: Who Works in Coworking Spaces?

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Only people in tech-jobs work in coworking spaces? Think again. Not only do the coworking spaces keep changing, but also the members who work in them. In this article we’ll summarize the key demographics of these members. What are their jobs? Is the ratio of freelancers declining further? Do people who value flexible working hours in their jobs also have shorter relationships in their private lives? And what’s the average age of the members anyway? The following results of the Global Coworking Survey will give you some answers. As always, you can download a report for free.

Coworking spaces are growing older, and so are their members, especially if the proportion of new members is declining. The current average age of coworking space members is a little over 36 years, compared to 35 years in the previous year.

The oldest members are entrepreneurs with staff (employers: 40 years), followed by freelancers (38 years). On the other hand, 43% of employees are yet to celebrate their 30th birthday and the average age for this group is just 33 years. As the ratio of employees is higher in big cities, they usually present the lowest average age. In cities with over a million inhabitants, this age is 34.5 years. In smaller cities with less than 100,000 inhabitants, the average age of members is 38.5 years.         

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The independent analysis of the 2017 Global Coworking Survey
was performed with Social Workplaces & was supported by
NexudusEssensys & Communitas. Download the free report.

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Freelancers are predominantly working in smaller coworking spaces

As coworking spaces grow bigger, they usually provide offices for companies or private persons. For this reason, the (relative) ratio of freelancers has been declining continuously over the last few years. For spaces with 100 or more workstations, it is currently only around 30%.    

However, this trend has stagnated a little of late. 41% of all coworking space members are still freelancers, 36% (same as the previous year) are employees, while the ratio of employers increased slightly to 16%. 7% of members engage in other activities, for instance because they’re still studying.

IT, PR & sales are the dominating industries for coworkers

Members in IT jobs are still the biggest group and were able to slightly increase their ratio compared to the previous year (20% to 22%). More often than before, you will now also find professionals who work in PR, marketing & sales in coworking spaces (8% to 14%). Therelativeshare of consultants on the other hand has dropped significantly (11% to 6%).   

Members are highly educated

The high level of education remains a characteristic feature among members of coworking spaces. Around 85% of them have finished an academic education. 41% currently hold a bachelor’s, another 41% have a master’s and 4% have already received their doctorate. All of these numbers are similar to those of the previous year. The age group of over 50-year-olds has a slightly lower percentage of university graduates. Differences between women and men only exist in the ratio of bachelor’s to master’s degrees, with men more likely to hold a bachelor’s (47% to 36%) and women more likely to hold a master’s (46% to 38%).

When comparing the members according to their professional status, then the differences are also rather small. A little over 10% of freelancers and employees did not study, with the number of employers at 6%. Freelancers are most likely to hold a university degree, while employers can impress with a doctorate more often.

More and more women work in coworking spaces

If there is one consistent trend that has been showing through all of the Coworking Surveys, then it is the continuously rising share of female members. The members and operators estimate the number at 40%. When looking at the participants of the survey, the percentage of women is actually 44%. Over the last few years, the fact that a growing number of employees work in coworking spaces has been one of the largest factors for this development. Among this group, women hold a small majority, and their share also increased among the freelancers (46%). The only group in which the ratio of women is below average is employers with staff (24%).     

The share of women is lower for those with kids

Other than that, the survey tells the same story that people are already familiar with outside of coworking spaces. Once women marry, the share of female members drops, especially in the age group between 30 and 50 years. The main reason for this appears to be child care. While many women still seem to be able to combine their private and professional lives after having their first child, the number of female members in coworking spaces drops rapidly once they become pregnant again. It’s possible that this development can also be explained by the time it takes women to travel to the coworking spaces. Most women – especially if they are employees – have much longer travel times than the male members.  

▶ Next page: Is your income likely to increase the longer you work in a coworking space? 

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