While improving, the extent of the UK gender pay gap – the difference in average earnings between men and women – remains significant. An analysis by the BBC in April 2018 of the pay data submitted by 10,000 large firms revealed that nearly 80% of companies paid men more than women. Further the BBC showed that men make up the majority of the higher-paid jobs and are paid bigger bonuses – in some industries up to 35% more.
A lot of the focus of the gender pay gap debate is on full time permanent staff, as they are who companies employing more than 250 people are required to report on by law. But that does not include freelance and contractor workers, an increasingly important part of today’s labour force, growing by 25% since 2009 and contributing an estimated £109bn a year to the UK economy, according to contractor trade body IPSE. The question is whether the contracting and freelancing industries suffer a similar pay gap, particularly when you consider that the Pensions Policy Institute found women made up 97% of the net increase in self-employed workers last year?