Female Gig Workers Face 32% Average Pay Gap

By | March 22, 2023
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Female gig workers in the U.S. make less than males, wear more hats, and are more worried about their futures, according to Legal & General Group research.

A study sponsored by the group found that across all categories of respondents who provided their earnings – whether they are paid per project, per hour, per week or per month – the pay gap between men and women gig workers was 32% on average.

Per the study report, 64% of top-earning gig workers who make more than $100,000 are male. At the same time, 58% of female gig workers occupy the lowest income bracket – earning less than $50,000 a year from gig work. And among gig workers who earn between $50,000 and $99,000 a year, 40% are women and 60% are men.

Gig workers make their living independently or on contract. Statista reports the number of U.S. gig economy workers is expected to grow to 85.6 million people by 2027.

“I think it’s here to stay,” John Godfrey, director of levelling up at L&G, said of the growing U.S. gig economy. “Which probably means that we have to think much harder about the big worry that women particularly have in the gig economy, which is about future financial security.”

L&G’s findings determined the biggest concern for 71% of female gig workers is their long-term financial futures. While the median monthly earnings for gig workers overall was $4,000, median monthly earnings for female gig workers are only $2,500 – compared to $4,500 among males.

Godfrey said the U.S. gig economy gender pay gap can partly be attributed to the sectors that women tend to work in. While the entire study cohort showcased a broad range of industries and fields, women gig workers “largely inhabit the Beauty & Heath, Media/Writing and Online/App Services sectors, and are less likely to be in IT, the highest paid sector among the freelancers we interviewed,” reads the L&G report.

According to that report, 18% of women surveyed chose to start gig work because they had a child, as opposed to 8% of men who began working independently because of having children. For female gig workers who are already mothers, this number leaps to 43%.

The number of male gig workers who are already fathers and are driven by a need to be more available to their kids increases meaningfully from 8% to 19%, but it never shows up as a main driver of taking up gig work – nor does it ever become more important than their earning potential.

The study reports that for more than half (53%) of female freelancers, the ability to work from home is the best thing about gig work. Only 39% of men surveyed felt this way.

“Based on the high percentage of women we surveyed who checked off boxes about caretaking, whether for children or other family members, we surmise that this is a way they can keep all the balls in the air — pay the bills, feed the kids, take an elderly parent to medical appointments, and so on — while not losing time to a morning commute or office politics,” reads the report.

Full findings can be accessed here.

Legal & General is a multinational financial services company with over $1.5 trillion in assets under management. The group began publishing a series of U.S. gig economy reports late last year – the most recent of which digs into the gender pay disparities among male and female gig workers. Its publication coincided with International Women’s Day.

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  • March 22, 2023 at 2:14 pm
    Agency says:
    Ridiculous conclusion. There is an element out there that just doesn't understand biology, For many reason I don't want to get into (as I don't want to offend those who don't... read more

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