Gig Economy and the Gender Pay Gap: Alive and Kicking
Often underpinned by irregular and late payments, gig economy workers face many vulnerabilities that those in full time work do not face. Sick leave, regular appraisals, and pensions are all things that freelance workers do not have the luxury of receiving despite many being at the same company for a number of years.
It is estimated that 1.1 million people make up the gig economy workforce in the UK and, according to research by Ipsos Mori, the vast majority of workers are male with only 31% being female.
Despite the payment structures having stark differences from the mainstream world of work, the gig economy, unfortunately, is also blighted by a gender pay gap. In 2017, the TUC reported that female agency workers earned £80 a week less on average than men in equivalent roles. Research from YunoJuno had similar findings and found that, in creative industries, men’s day rates were on average £15 higher than women’s.
Today, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has released a report stating that inequalities in pay and opportunities in the UK are becoming so extreme they are threatening democracy. Nick Woodward, CEO of ETZ Payments, is keen to provide the following commentary on the gender pay gap that exists in the gig economy:
“As a relatively new and emerging concept, the gig economy should be acting as a disruptor and be paving the way for equality in payments across genders. One issue with the gig economy is that it’s tainted by late and inconsistent payments that negatively affect both genders. Companies rely on archaic methods that often result in human error and people chasing payments. One way to achieve better payments for both genders is to update these payment systems so people are paid regularly and without error. Once this has been done, it will be easier for companies to notice irregularities in payments and hopefully address the gender pay gap.”