Equal Work, Unequal Pay: New Study Exposes The Gender Pay Gap In The Freelancing Economy

The gender pay gap is a persistent issue across various industries, and freelancing is no exception.

But how much more are the men making? Are there any areas where women outearn men? And where can women freelancers expect to charge more than their male counterparts?

This latest study from OnDeck answers all these important questions.

Here's a detailed breakdown of all the data collected and analyzed by the OnDeck research team.

The gender pay gap in freelancing

A macro look at the data revealed a significant disparity in the hourly rate between male and female freelancers.

The OnDeck research shows that, on average, male freelancers are charging their clients $75.44/h, which is over $15 more than the $59.70 billed by the 'average' female contractor.

That pay gap is even bigger in some industries. Men offering freelance legal services are outearning their female counterparts by over $75/h. That adds up to hundreds of dollars per week or thousands over longer-term contracts.

There's also a sizable pay disparity in freelance consultancy and accounting services, where men make $96/h, compared to the $66/h charged by women doing the same work.

The freelance pay gap between men and women in every US state

Delaware is the best state to be a female freelancer. Or at least in terms of pay. It's the only state in the entire USA where female freelancers are making more than the men. It's a win for the girls. But it's somewhat of a modest one, as they're only outearning men by $13.83/h.

Wyoming has the biggest gender pay gap. On average, the men bill an extra $55 per hour.

Other states where the pay gap is large enough to impact quality of life and financial independence include North Dakota ($42), Vermont ($36), and Idaho ($36).

Maryland is the state closest to full gender pay parity for freelancers. The difference between what men and women freelancers earn on an hourly basis in The Free State is less than $1.

The pay gap in freelance accountancy and consultancy

The next sections of the study broke down the data by specific industries, starting with freelance accountancy and consultancy.

Of the 16 freelance gigs analyzed, men were the top earners in 14 of them. They include personal coaching and digital project management, where men are charging an extra $34/h.

Career coaching is one area where the ladies are seriously underselling their talents and experiences. On average, some first-class career advice from a female freelancer will cost you $71/h. If you want the same help from a male freelancer, you'll have to pay an extra $65 per hour.

Hourly rates for males and females in freelance sales/marketing

We see a similar story playing out in the data on pay rates for freelance sales and marketing professions.

Once again, the men charge more per hour for almost every type of sales or marketing freelance gig. The largest pay discrepancies are in lead generation, marketing strategy, and SEO. In every case, men can feel confident quoting potential clients an additional $30 more per hour.

Female freelancers are billing more for marketing automation services, but only just. The pay gap is in their favor by $0.70.

There's much better news for any female brand strategist interested in making the switch to the freelance life. This is the first freelance gig in the study where the women are making noticeably more. Female brand strategists are billing an average of $150/h, whereas the men charge $114.

Freelance pay for men and women in the creative gig economy

Female videographers know exactly what they're worth, and they're not afraid to charge for it. The data reveals that the average hourly rate for a female freelance videographer is $121/h; that's a $47 hourly uplift from what male freelancers bill for their video services. Well done, ladies.

Women are also earning more in product photography. Their average hourly rate is $97, which is over $20 more than the male product photography experts.

The ladies came out as the top earners in seven other creative freelance gigs, including fashion design, logo design, image editing, and illustration. It's a welcome and positive sign that the freelance economy is progressing toward fair pay for women.

Brand identity design is one of the very few gigs mentioned in the study where male and female freelancers are close to earning exactly the same; there's only a $0.05 difference in what male and female brand designers are billing on an hourly basis.

The gender pay gap in freelance IT roles

More women feel like they have the confidence and support to pursue careers in tech. And that's a good thing. They're competing for the best jobs, demanding an equal share of the pay, and bringing some important diversity of thinking into the industry.

In the freelance IT economy, it's the female database development experts who are leading the way. They're making $72 more per hour than the male database experts; that's the biggest positive pay gap for women in the entire OnDeck study.

But the men continue to make significantly more in some of the most highly paid IT freelance gigs. They charge an additional $20-$25 per hour to help companies with mobile app development, systems administration, and backend development.

And when working as freelance network administrators, males are likely to receive $71 per hour more than females, highlighting a yet another significant gender pay gap in this lucrative sector.

The (massive) pay gap in freelance writing services

There's a huge pay gap between men and women offering legal writing services. The men are invoicing double what the women earn, bringing in an extra $107 for every hour worked. What can they possibly be doing to justify another $100+ for their time?

Men also charge more for sales copywriting and blog/article writing.

Resume & cover letter writing is the only freelance copy gig with a significant pay gap in favor of women. They make nearly $12 an hour more helping clients stand out in competitive job markets.

Read next: Exhausted IT Workers Reveal Shocking Survey Results: Is AI the Secret Solution?

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