Following on from our article in April where we discussed female contractors and how they are paving the way towards closing the gender pay gap, once again it appears that female contractors are flourishing within the self-employment industry. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that last year a record number of women moved to self-employment and in particular, there are more female IT contractors than ever before.
In 2016, it was reported that just 16,568 female IT professionals were working as contractors while in 2017, this number surged by an impressive 25%, with the ONS monitoring up to 20,648 women becoming contractors. These figures signify a promising future for the self-employed, and that the contractor industry is going from strength to strength. Due to the uncertainty of the employment market, contractors now have a stronger foothold in the job market than ever before. More employers are looking to hire contractors to support their businesses and fulfil essential roles.
Additionally, as contractors often earn more than permanent employees, the rise in women opting to be contractors further reaffirms as playing a positive part in reducing the gender pay gap. As female contractors earn more, so too does the gender pay gap narrow.
Furthermore, in the last 7 years, the percentage of female IT contractors in proportion to male IT contractors has risen. In 2010, only 9.3% of IT contractors were women, while in 2012 this rose to 12.2%, and in 2016 it became 13.8% and then finally in 2017, out of a total of 125,012 IT contractors, 16.5% of these were in fact, women. However, this proportion of male to female IT contractors is not even close to being balanced, which signifies that though the contractor industry is moving in a positive direction, there is still much that can, and should be done.
Moreover, though there has been a rise in companies hiring contractors; the increasingly severe shortage of skilled candidates highlights the importance to attract more women to the contractor industry, to address these skills shortages.
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