The gender wage gap extends into the realm of freelancers and self-employed individuals, a study conducted by the online bank Knab among 10,000 self-employed

individuals has revealed. Despite similar levels of education and experience, female freelancers earn, on average, a lower hourly rate compared to their male counterparts, with the discrepancy reaching up to 16 percent, according to a press release from the online bank.

This disparity is most pronounced among highly-skilled self-employed workers. Women with college or university degrees earn, on average, 13 percent less per hour than their male counterparts performing similar tasks with comparable educational backgrounds and work experience.

However, there are exceptions to this trend, particularly within the IT sector, where rates are relatively equitable. Researcher Casper Zwart suggests that this equality in the IT sector may be attributed to the significant underrepresentation of women, with 90 percent of IT freelancers in the study being male.

Despite the wage gap, both men and women express similar levels of satisfaction with their hourly rates, with approximately 65 percent in each group reporting contentment. This finding raises questions about whether self-employed women are fully aware of the wage gap, according to Zwart.

One potential explanation for the wage gap is differences in negotiation skills. The study indicates that men tend to perceive themselves as better negotiators, with nearly 60 percent believing they negotiate effectively, compared to 40 percent of women. However, the rates of men and women who consider themselves adept negotiators are nearly identical, Zwart notes.

Knab's research also sheds light on the sectors where freelancers command the highest rates. Government, business services, and IT sectors boast average rates of around 100 euros per hour, while the catering sector has the lowest average rate at 49 euros per hour.

On average, self-employed individuals earn approximately 100,000 euros gross per year, though significant variations exist across sectors. Freelancers in sectors with higher earning potential take home between 120,000 and 140,000 euros gross annually, whereas those in fields like sports and recreation earn just over 50,000 euros per year. Zwart emphasizes that these figures exclude business expenses and income tax. Photo by Brian Kerrigan, Wikimedia commons.