Survey: Gig economy helps close gender pay gap

Payoneer recently released the result of its Freelancer Income Report 2020 based on a survey of over 7,000 freelancers from 150 countries. The report reveals that women’s participation in the freelance workforce has been gaining momentum and the average wage for females is “leaps and bounds ahead of the greater workforce.”

According to the report, female freelancers earn, on average, 84% of men’s earnings across all fields, and while there is room for improvement, the gap is much smaller than the 64% average for all workers reported by the World Economic Forum.

However, there are industry-specific nuances and fields where the gender pay gap remains pronounced such as in finance and project management. Still, women earn more than men in marketing and web and graphic design.

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The survey also found nearly 70% of freelancers are under the age of 35, and 21% are under the age of 25. This youth movement is even more evident in Asia where 82% of respondents are under 35, compared to North America where the number is still high but closer to 47%.

Global collaboration

The Payoneer Freelancer Income Report provides new insights into the growing ecosystem of freelancers and how the emerging type of workforce empowers global collaboration and fuels the global economy.

“The freelancing economy has grown exponentially over the past decade, and I believe we can now firmly say that the future of work has arrived. Obstacles that could slow or hinder freelancers’ ability to grow, connect and be successful have been removed,” said Scott Galit, CEO, Payoneer.

While freelancers find value in freedom and flexibility of being their own boss, happiness is most tightly correlated with income earned. The report said the worldwide average hourly rate charged by freelancers is $21, higher than the $19 average rate reported in Payoneer’s 2018 survey and significantly higher than the average salaries in many of the countries surveyed. Those individuals who work exclusively in freelancing earn a higher hourly rate and are more satisfied with their lifestyle compared to those who split their time working for a company.

While freelancers are earning more, businesses are also benefitting by being able to source top-talent without concern for the location or overhead costs, increasing satisfaction on both sides of the relationship.

Exclusive freelancing

Across the board, workers at the beginning and end of their careers are most likely to be exclusively freelancing, whereas the promise of a stable paycheck and the sense of security that comes with it seems to drive workers to seek a company job while raising a family. While more experienced workers command top pay, that gap could close in the future as freelance opportunities provide those with fewer years of experience the ability to sharpen and hone their crafts.

Education does not necessarily correlate with high earnings for freelancers, as those with bachelor’s degrees do not demand higher fees than those without, indicating that the future of work values reviews, references, and a rich portfolio as much as traditional educational achievements

“Millennials and Gen Z crave independence and broad, new opportunities with a whopping 54% in developed countries starting or planning to start their own businesses,” said Eyal Moldovan, General Manager, Payoneer. “Moreover, 64% of those that currently have full-time jobs welcome the chance to earn more and broaden their skillsets. Meanwhile, older generations find freelancing a way to stay relevant and to keep their skills sharp in a world where technology trends and tools change in the blink of an eye. Overall, both freelancers and companies benefit, and what once seemed a novel pursuit has redefined the very nature of the workforce.”