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The Remote Work Wage Gap: What the Data Says

  • By Sophie McAulay
  • November 25, 2020

The stats are in: our remote work study, created in conjunction with Remote Year, examines the lives of remote workers to discover what motivates them, what challenges them, and what kind of lifestyles they are leading.
We also analyzed what they earn – and (surprise, surprise): there is still a remote work gender pay gap.
But there were also some interesting nuances to that data – including statistics that show how some women are defying the trend.
Here’s what the data said.

The remote pay gap grows alongside experience

Today’s remote workers aren’t just filling in time between office jobs. Many of them are career freelancers or long-term remotes who love their lifestyle and want to continue leading it. And that feeling grows the longer they work remotely. In fact, 90% of freelancers who’ve worked remotely for 7 years or more want to continue working remotely for as long as they can.
Generally this growing passion for working remotely comes alongside salary increases too, and the remote work lifestyle becomes increasingly comfortable with more experience.

But evidently these pay increases do not come as easily for women. While the gender pay gap is essentially non-existent for those who have worked remotely for less than 4 years, it grows the longer women and men stay in the remote work lifestyle. Males who have worked remotely for 7+ years are 10% more likely to earn over $50k per year than women.

The gender pay gap is partly driven by career choices

Part of the reason men are likely to out-earn women is the fact that men are much more likely to work in some of the higher paid professions.
Engineering, in particular, skews highly male, with 16% of respondents to our survey working in Engineering alongside just 1.6% of female respondents. While this is the youngest group of remote workers (an average of 31 years old), it is also the top earning profession.
Women on the other hand, were more likely to work in Admin/Support or Marketing/PR.

But, female nomads out-earn male nomads

It’s not all bad news for female remote workers. There is one area where females are bucking the trend of the remote pay gap.
When looking at those who work from their hometown, men are more likely to earn over $50k per year, but amongst remotes who travel while they work, females are actually more likely to earn over $50k than their male counterparts. 44% of female digital nomads earn over $50k and just 39% of men do the same.
This trend is particularly pronounced in digital nomads in the creative / design industries, where women are 21% more likely to earn over $50k than men.

Female digital nomads are the #RemoteWorkers most likely to reverse the #WageGap, and #creatives are 21% more likely to earn over $50k than men. #EqualPay #DigitalNomads Click To Tweet
And these women are making the most of their ability to work from anywhere. Only 45% of them limit themselves to less than 3 countries per year, while 57% of nomadic men travel to less than 3 countries per year.

Despite the wage gap, women are embracing the freedom of working remotely

Wages are not the only advantage of remote work… Last year, our Slash Workers report discovered that freedom is the new wealth, with freelancers saying their quality of life improved when they decided to work for themselves, even if their salary didn’t.
Our new survey found that for the majority of remote workers (62%), the biggest benefit of working remotely is the freedom and flexibility to live and work from wherever they choose. This is even more pronounced for women, who value flexibility more than men.

And while men are more likely to value freedom the younger they are, women continue to do so as they get older, with women aged 36-50 the most likely to say they went remote for the freedom it offered them. On the other hand, men are more likely than women to value remote work benefits like cost savings and convenience. 
There are plenty more insights to be gained from our Anywhere Workers study. Access the full report here, and join the discussion on Twitter to let us know what you think

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