Only 8% of all working women in the UK are freelancers, according to a new report from international professional services consultancy Procorre. The percentage is much higher among men, with 15.5% working as self-employed contractors. The ratio is almost one million women to more than 2.5 million men in the country's freelancer market.
Moreover, it can provide a better work-life balance as well as a competitive salary
Although it is good to see that almost one million women are engaged in contracting, they are certainly the minority compared to men, in the words of Procorre's relationship manager Lisa Mangan. Freelancing should be an appealing career option for women because of its greater scope for flexibility, Mangan says. Moreover, it can provide a better work-life balance as well as a competitive salary.
Taking on a freelance job, however, is not an easy step especially in the case of young women. Concerns about freelance maternity financial support are sometimes key in their decision making process. Some women believe that they might enjoy better maternity and childcare support if employed full time, Mangan adds.
Although self-employed women are entitled to Maternity Allowance and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), for many women this translates into a big drop in their income, Mangan comments. In contrast, full-time employers often provide remuneration during maternity leave at a higher level than SMP with the aim of supporting and retaining key employees.
Still, Mangan believes that positive developments in the economic environment will spur demand for female contractors in the future. Changes to the childcare voucher scheme next year might also encourage more women to go freelance, she said.