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Flexible at work, tied down in life

Coworking offers more freedom, independence, possibilities for self-realization and overall more freedom of choice than other forms of work. However, that doesn’t mean that members of coworking spaces lead more flexible lives in general. Roughly a third are in a committed relationship and a little over a third are married. Members who work in a coworking space by themselves are especially likely to have a partner. With growing age, the share of married members is increasing. From the age of 35 and up, every second member is married. Due to their lower average age, you’re more likely to find female (35%) than male (26%) singles in a coworking space. The chances also increase the bigger the city of the coworking space is.

Relative incomes remain largely stable

In the Global Coworking Survey, we also asked the participants about their income. Due to the different global currencies, whose correlated values change on a daily basis, we only gathered how they view their income compared to their living costs.

A little over a third of the members rated their own income as high (30%) or very high (5%) in this regard. 16% viewed their income as low or very low. The values are therefore on almost the exact same level as in the previous year.  

Women also earn less in coworking spaces

Men are more than twice as likely as women to earn a high to very high income (46% to 24%). A fifth of all female members rated their income as low to very low. This number is only a tenth for men.

As members get older, their incomes grow in comparison to their living costs. The ratio is slightly sinking for the age group over 50 years, as this group contains a higher number of female members.

Employees make more money than freelancers

As with women and men, there are significant differences between the incomes of freelancers, employers and employees. Since the start of the Coworking Survey, freelancers have made up the group with the lowest incomes. Only a quarter of them rates their income as high to very high. In contrast, half of all employers rated their income in this way. Employees seem to profit from working in coworking spaces as well, as their ratio of well-paid jobs is at 41%.  

Is my income likely to increase the longer I work in a coworking space?

Until the last survey, the answer to this question was answered affirmatively every year. With the duration of the membership, the likelihood of earning a high to very high income increased as well for most members. The current numbers are therefore very surprising. The correlation is now pointing slightly in the opposite direction. Among the members that have worked in a coworking space for one year or less, 36% reported an above-average income, with 12% of them earning below average. When asking members of two or more years, the ratio of high to very high incomes dropped to 32% while 18% of them are earning a below-average income.

A direct reason for this development is not discernible, however the groups that are most affected by it can be identified. It is mainly women. In men, the relative incomes increase with the duration of their membership. In women they decrease! And they even do so more strongly than in the previous year.   

The incomes of the freelancers remain stable for the duration of the membership, instead of rising as was the case in the last few years. The employees’ incomes on the other hand are sinking, while those of the (predominantly male) employers are still slightly increasing. The above-average incomes in North America are especially prone to decreasing in proportion to the membership duration, while those in Europe hardly increase at all. One possible explanation is that more members leave their coworking space once their income increases, their business expands or better career perspectives are offered – and switch to other working environments, which could also include different coworking spaces. In other words: members with a lower income probably stay longer. 

Are members abroad travelling on business?

At least 45% of them are spending at one or more weeks per year abroad for business. On average, this number is 2.4 weeks per member overall. When only taking into account the members who actually travel on business, then these actually spend an average of seven weeks abroad. On average, men travel twice as long as women (3 to 1.5 weeks) as two thirds of all female members don’t travel for work at all. This is only true of around half the men. Once they get married, members reduce their business travel activities significantly (1.1 weeks).

The longer a person is a member in a coworking space, the more time they spend abroad. This is especially true of employers and freelancers.

What percentage of members are digital nomads?

What’s a digital nomad? There are many possibilities for coming up with different definitions. During the Global Coworking Survey, we asked all members who spend 4 or more weeks per year abroad on business whether they considered themselves digital nomads. Around half of the participants answered in the affirmative. When including everyone else that spends less than four weeks abroad for work in the calculations, then roughly 13% of all coworking space members are digital nomads.    

Support the Global Coworking Survey and receive even more stats

As always, you can download an overview of the results, that have been summarized in a free report. Creating the analyzes takes a lot of time. And very detailed surveys are less than ideal for a blog post. If you’re interested in more stats on the demographics of coworking space members, then you can visit our site CoworkingStats.com. There, you will find more than 80 slides of processed results. In addition, your purchase will directly support the work of the Global Coworking Survey.

The next article will be out as soon as next week and tell you where, when und how long members in coworking spaces usually work. As well as how they’re working or would prefer to be working. And why they made the decision for a membership.  


Related article: 

How, When & Why Members Work in Coworking Spaces

How Profitable Are Coworking Spaces?

2017 Coworking Forecast


The 2017 Global Coworking Survey is officially supported by the following organizations:

Collaboration Partner: Social Workplaces

Main Supporters: 
Nexudus Spaces - A management tool for coworking spaces
Essensys - A management tool for coworking spaces
Communitas - A network agency for coworking spaces

Click here fore more information about the survey.

ssfCoworking Statistics