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The gender pay gap for freelancers

The gender pay gap for freelancers with some positive signs for women

The gender pay gap is a fact also among freelancers. A new study shows that freelancers who are men charge 48% more than women for the equivalent role overall. The biggest gap is noted for DevOps Engineers. But there are positive exemption for women like copywriters and some freelance writers who charge a bit more than men, according to a survey of 6 000 US freelancers made by Austin, Texas-based business consultancy ZenBusiness.

For graphic design, image editing and motion graphics, women’s rates are slightly higher. However, men charge $10.61 per hour for interior graphic design and $10.44 per hour for presentation design.


”When looking at freelancer rates in this sector, we found that many roles had near equal pay between men and women. For creative, technical and general content writers, the difference was less than $1. Women copywriters ($6.29 per hour) and ghostwriters ($3.29 per hour) charged slightly more”, the survey says.

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”Across the creator sector, there are many roles which hold a more balanced gender split. Of the 118,000 graphic designers employed in the U.S, 50.2% are women, with a 5% pay gap. However, just 35% of all creative directors are women, and the pay gap rises to 10%, according to research from Zippa ( a career consultancy).”

“Despite this, our research shows that when it comes to freelance work, hourly rates are mostly similar, with just a $2.81 average difference between men and women.”


”While the tech industry’s reputation for gender equality is slowly improving, there is still work to be done. For example, 79% of all computer programmers are men”, the report says quoting the US Bureau of Labour Statistics and the role has one of the 15 highest gender pay gaps in the U.S.

”When it comes to freelance rates, many data and development roles have significant price spikes for men. You can expect to pay $29.20 more per hour for an e-commerce website developer who is a man and $25.20 extra for an automation tester.”

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“The largest gender pay discrepancy was for DevOps Engineers. Though a vital part of the software development process, men in the space charge $100.90 per hour on average – more than three times as much as women ($30 per hour).”


DevOps Engineers includes a range of skills within IT and computer science, and according to LinkedIn, they are the most recruited people on the platform.

“Across the 6,000+ freelance roles we studied, we found that men charge $22.28 more on average for their hourly rate compared to women.”

Freelance jobs performed by men had an average hourly rate of $68.58, meaning they charge 48% higher than women ($46.30 per hour) in an equivalent role. With census data showing a smaller 19% pay discrepancy between men and women in full-time employment, we can see that freelancers who are men contribute to a wider gap when left with the freedom to set their own rates.”

The report notes that there are 59 million Americans having freelance roles. “While 70% of women said they chose to work independently to overcome the glass ceiling in their industry, we can see a pay disparity in most key sectors – with some exceptions. It is too simplistic to argue that women should charge more for their services, as their rates are influenced by clients and pay rates in their industry.”

”Though industry leaders must continue to work towards gender pay equality in their sectors from top to bottom, it is important that freelancers set their rates appropriately and work to an established contract. In addition, freelancers should thoroughly research standard rates for work in their industry”, the report advises.

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”While it’s important to understand competitor rates, freelancers should avoid making unhelpful comparisons to the work of others, and carefully manage their workload to avoid feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.”

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