HR · 10 November 2017

Gender pay gap narrowing amongst freelancers and self-employed

female plumber
Female plumbers earn 4.2 per cent less than male plumbers on average

To coincide with Equal Pay Day on 10 November, new research has revealed that the gender pay gap for UK freelancers and self-employed has become “virtually extinct”.

Over the last 12 months, the gender pay gap has narrowed significantly in key UK industries, falling to an average of 1.9 per cent in favour of men, according to data collated by online services platform Bidvine.

In sectors like photography, music teaching and language tuition, women competing for freelance and self-employed opportunities earnt more than men and won more jobs.

The research showed little evidence of a gender pay gap in the majority of the most popular job categories for freelancers and self-employed.

In personal training, for example, there was a gender pay gap of 8.7 per cent in favour of men, with male personal trainers earning £36 per hour on average and women earning £33 per hour.

Meanwhile, in the area of wedding photography, a gender pay gap of 4.5 per cent in favour of women existed. Self-employed female wedding photographers earned £680 per wedding on average, whereas male photographers earned just £650.

The study showed the music teaching industry as the only self-employed job category with a completely non-existent gender pay gap. Both male and female self-employed music teachers earnt £28 per hour on average in the last year.

The co-founder of Bidvine, Russ Morgan, said that the explosion of freelance and self-employed work in Britain over the last few years has made gender less of an issue for many people.

He added: “[We’ve] seen a shift in how people value the work they do, and what their customers see as value for money for a job well-done. It’s great to see that, at least among the skilled professionals on our site, the gender pay gap is dying.

“Of course, more could always be done, but because we connect customers with professionals that meet their exact needs, gender has seemingly become less of an issue.”

Equal Pay Day occurs every year in the UK on the day women effectively “stop” earning, due to the gender pay gap.

According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures for 2017, the average gender pay gap, across all ages and industries, is roughly 14.1 per cent. This figure hasn’t changed in three years.

Morgan went on to say: “We’re looking forward to the next 12 months, and hopefully a significant change to the ONS figures this time next year.”

Key gender pay gap data amongst freelancers and self-employed

Freelance/ self-employed job type Average hourly wage (male) Average hourly wage (female) Gender pay gap (%)
Personal training

 

£36 £33 8.7 per cent (M)
Wedding photography

 

£650 £680 4.5 per cent (F)
Handyperson

 

£20 £17 16 per cent (M)
Domestic cleaning

 

£11 £12 8.7 per cent (F)
Plumbing

 

£73 £70 4.2 per cent (M)
Music lessons

 

£28 £28 Equal
Gardening

 

£21 £19 10 per cent (M)
Language lessons

 

£25 £28 11.3 per cent (F)
Electrician

 

£70 £68 2.9 per cent (M)
Singing lessons

 

£30 £35 15.4 per cent (F)

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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