Research suggests there is a 43% gender pay gap between self-employed men and women – which is significantly higher than the 17% gap between employees.

self employed woman stressed

Research by IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has found a huge gender pay gap among self-employed workers, with freelance women earning 43% less than their male counterparts.

That is much bigger than the 17% gender pay gap between employees, which is driven by employers undervaluing women workers, and suggests self-employed women are undervaluing themselves and charging a lower day rate than men. IPSE’s survey found that freelance women are much more likely to say they would benefit from some training on setting and raising their rates (41% compared to 34% of men).

This gender pay disparity can have a significant impact on the financial wellbeing of self-employed women. Almost half of those surveyed by IPSE (49%) said they worry about their financial position either ‘all of the time’ or ‘most of the time’, in contrast to only two out of five men (37%). The survey also revealed that two-thirds of women freelancers (65%) said they will never have the things they want in life, compared to half of men (50%).

The financial difficulties faced by self-employed women also extend to the financial products that are available to them. Over half of self-employed men (54%) who applied for mortgages were successful in their application, compared to 46% of self-employed women. More freelance women also said they worried about saving for later life (76%) than their male counterparts (63%).

Inna Yordanova, Senior Researcher at IPSE (the Association of Independent Freelancers and the Self-Employed) said of the survey results:

“Much has been said about the gender pay gap among employees, but the gender pay gap among the self-employed is actually much bigger. This seems to be because self-employed women are undervaluing themselves and not charging the high rates of their male counterparts.

“This has shocking knock-on effects for the overall financial wellbeing and mental health of women in self-employment. They are more worried about their finances and their savings and they are less able to access vital financial support like mortgages and pensions.

“One essential way the government and industry can drive down this shocking gender pay gap is by opening up training and mentoring for self-employed women. With so many women turning to the freedom and flexibility of self-employment – so many that they are actually driving the growth of the sector – it’s vital that they get the support they need to make a success of this way of working.”

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