Women often face a very different path than men when it comes to today’s workplaces. Often in our society, the working life of women changes dramatically after significant life events such as the birth of a child, a family member becoming ill, or the death of a parent. Fortunately, the gig economy has created a new world of opportunity for women due to several factors.
Earlier this year, the founders of Ruby Ribbon, UrbanSitter, and BabyQuip created a multi-company survey of women who gig to learn more about their experiences and expectations. The study included survey results from over 1000 women who perform gig work on at least one of their platforms. These women have plenty of experience in this arena, with a quarter reporting they started handling gig work before the term “gig economy” was even coined.
It is well-known that female employees in the United States earn less than their male counterparts, with most studies finding that females earn somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of what males earn. Various factors are cited to explain the differential in earnings, including prior employment and earnings history, differences in industry and occupation, time spent in the workforce, and biases against working mothers (among other factors). The gap in earnings does, however, diminish substantially when salary data is controlled for individual job functions at the same level and among employees of the employer.
For many years, men have earned more than their similarly situated women counterparts. This statement is no surprise. In 2016, the National Bureau of Economic Research released a white paper suggesting that women earn only 89 cents for every dollar a man earns. This is nothing new in the traditional workplace model. However, is this statistic applicable to the gig economy?
As we’ve previously reported, the gig economy is an attractive work model for many women who are looking for flexible work arrangements. Despite some drawbacks to gig work (including a lack of job security, benefits and paid leave), recent data indicates that women are flocking to gig jobs in droves. Earlier this month, Hyperwallet released the results of its survey of 2,000 female gig workers in the United States. The survey results provide an interesting perspective as to the average female gig worker, including her motivations for leaving the traditional workforce and the long-term potential for gig work.