Gender pay gap: why women should consider contracting

Call our best advice team free on mobile
0800 458 0818
Whether you want to ring us, request a callback or chat online with our experts rest assured that no matter how you get in touch, you'll always get the best advice

Female employees are expecting to be paid significantly less than their male counterparts for doing the same job, new research has found.

A survey by jobs board Reed.co.uk reveals that the average woman believes they will earn 20% less than men. The pay gap has widened over the past year, with the anticipated average annual salary for males standing at £23,763 in 2014, compared to just £19,858 for females.

Banking, accountancy and energy sectors recorded the largest anticipated pay gaps, with some men expecting to earn almost a third more than their female counterparts.

Men working as qualified accountants expect a wage of £47,034, almost £11,000 more than women in the same role. Males in banking anticipate to be paid £4,600 more, while the figure is £4,826 in the energy sector.

Emma Ritch, executive director of equal opportunities organisation Engender, said: “It’s hugely disappointing to think that the gender pay gap has become such an entrenched feature of the labour market in the UK that women expect to earn less than men for doing the same job.”

The news could prompt more women to make the leap into contracting as a way of escaping the gender pay gap. Freelancers are more likely to be judged on their skills and expertise when it comes to negotiating an assignment rate.

Furthermore, contractors are in especially high demand right now, as businesses seek to secure short term access to key skills. Research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) found that accounting and finance freelancers have seen a 25% increase in vacancies over the past year.

In addition, a separate study by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UCES) revealed that 31% of energy firms are having difficulty in recruiting permanent staff with the skills they need. This shows that women should never be short of opportunities if they want to break free from permanent employment.

Have your say

Are you a female contractor? What made you decide to take the leap from permanent employment? Do you think more women should consider freelancing to beat the gender pay gap? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>