Female contractors have done the unthinkable and closed the gender pay gap and are now earning more than their male counterparts. 46% of female contractors in the IT sector are earning daily rates of between £500 and £1000, compared to just 38% of males, according to a recent survey. This gap has widened from the previous year where 41% of female IT contractors and 39% of males were in this pay bracket.
This new statistic is a stark contrast to those working in permanent employment, where males have a notably higher income than their female colleagues. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported in November 2014 that the average weekly rate for full-time employees was £558 for men compared to £462 for women, a huge pay difference of 21%.
Contractors have always been viewed as an easy employment solution for companies, especially during the recession when cuts were made to permanent staff. A few years on and contracting is becoming more of a lifestyle choice, as companies no longer view contractors as temporary workers, but as consultants bought into provide and share their expertise. This shift in perception has recently been reflected in daily rates with 93% of IT contractors stating they were earning more through contracting than they were as permanent employees.
IT professionals have long benefited from working on a freelance basis and the ability to earn more money is one of the main pulls. Working on temporary assignments or ‘contracts’, allows contractors to command lucrative rates of pay, which compensate for the potential lack of income security. This was also demonstrated in the survey with 91% reporting a daily rate of £300 or more.
Contractors additionally enjoy more flexible working hours than permanent employees, which could be another reason why females are excelling in this area. The option of picking contracts that fit around personal commitments makes this an attractive option for those who want to get back into work after starting a family.
IT may initially seem a male dominated industry, which is further backed up by the fact that in 2012 just 17.4% of Computer Science graduates in the UK were females. However this doesn’t appear to have stopped female professionals from working in top IT positions. SJD accountancy’s research showed that females are working in roles ranging from IT developers to programmers to project managers. With the tech sector reportedly outperforming the wider economy, it is only natural that IT contractors see their rates of pay increase accordingly, regardless of gender.