New research has found that female contractors are more likely to have financial problems, with one of the key reasons being that they’ve experienced more late payment issues.
These findings from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) show that as many as 49% of female contractors said they had had issues with late payment before the pandemic, compared to 40% of men.
However, since the pandemic, 40% of women said they’d experienced late payment, compared to just 23% of men.
Female contractors also have the added problem of reduced government support because of maternity leave, for example, campaign groups such as Pregnant Then Screwed have pointed out that those who took maternity leave during the tax years used to work out the SEISS, were given a significantly reduced grant.
Chloé Jepps, Head of Research at IPSE, said, “The pandemic has brought disproportionate financial struggles on many self-employed women. Even before 2020, they faced a much greater gender pay gap than among employees: the average female freelancer charged £65 less than their male counterparts and was more likely to want support and guidance to stop them undervaluing themselves. Now, the pandemic has exacerbated the financial divide between male and female freelancers.”
Chloé added, “Although there has been a bigger drop in the number of self-employed men than women – in large part due to the varied impact on different sectors – the women still in self-employment are facing greater financial struggles than their male counterparts.
“Women are not only more likely to be unable to pay basic business and living costs: more of them are also having to borrow from family and friends and sell items they own as a result. A big driver of this is the fact that significantly more women than men are affected by late payment – and the impact of this is also worse on female freelancers’ mental health, driving them to stress, sleep loss and lack of confidence.
“These are broad trends across the female freelancer community: there are also many self-employed mothers with added worries. Too many freelance mums still receive less government support just because of when they took maternity leave.
“Overall, it is clear that although more women have clung on in self-employment, of those freelancers who remain, the financial strain of the pandemic is hitting women harder, both practically and in terms of mental health. This is an area that both government and industry should look at – to ensure all self-employed people regardless of gender can enjoy the freedom of freelancing and play their vital part in economic recovery.”
To find out more about contracting please contact Jaime on 01442 795 100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.