Freelance work is a tricky business. Instead of taking a set price or hourly rate for your services, individuals set their own rate and try to lure clients to utilize them for projects. According to research conducted by Website Planet (WSP), “female freelancers are being paid significantly less than men—in some cases half as much—on two of the most highly used and reputable freelance job platforms, Upwork and Fiverr.” This is a big gap especially when considering the current workplace gap for women is around 77 cents for every $1 men make.
Upwork and Fiverr are two of the more popular freelance hiring platforms that cover a range of categories including marketing, SEO, writing, graphic design, personal assistants, and more. “WSP researchers reviewed 121 profiles on Upwork and 116 on Fiverr, in some of the most popular job categories” and found that on average, ” across the different industries on Upwork, men charged 57% more per hour than women. This disparity is even more extreme on Fiverr, where men typically charged upwards of 80% more than comparable services offered by women.”
Not all offerings are equal when it comes to gender gap however. For example women make 3X as much as men for translation work and over 2x for writing-web content. Still these jobs pay less on average. According to WSP all “job categories included an even split of men and women, with comparable professional and educational backgrounds, and years of experience. Lastly, all freelancers were located in the United States.”
As a person who has used Fiverr to connect with freelancers for jobs I needed completed, I can honestly say that I’m a bit surprised. In my opinion the pricing generally depends on the location of the person. Individuals from the US tend to charge more than foreign countries, I’ve found with pay gap having to do more with country than gender. But if this is true than it may be something deeper in terms of how people need to charge, or maybe even what they’re using the platform for (full time versus side gig). It’s hard to know why people are charging what they charge, but I do think more information is needed to understand the pay gap to correct it, if it needs correcting.