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Earnings Gap Follows Women into Entrepreneurship

Freshbooks released its second annual report on women in the independent Workforce and some of the findings were shocking. The report highlighted that there remains a large gap between women and men in the workforce at large but also in entrepreneurship. 

In the public relations industry we know that there has been a persistent gap between the genders with more men occupying positions of power and earning more money. This report shows that gap persists in entrepreneurship. Public relations professionals know that data can be a powerful lever that can spark change. We hope that this study motivates action to work for pay parity.

While this study focused on women in the independent Workforce there are lessons for men as well. Our goal at solo PR pro has always been to support all business owners to build a business that sustains and fulfills them.  Our hope is by shining a spotlight on inequities we can all work to be part of the change.

Self-Employment Does Not Solve Gender Discrimination

The freshbooks report shows that 34% of women leave the traditional work in part, because of gender discrimination. 

Women who choose self-employment have control over their career and chart their own path, but bump against some of the same inequities as those traditionally employed. Even as entrepreneurs, there is a disparity between what men and women earn. The Freshbooks study looked at revenue over the past five years for knowledge-based businesses, such as public relations and found that in the U.S. there is a persistent earnings gap of about 14 percent to 19 percent. 

One of the most troubling insights from the study is that 61 percent of women entrepreneurs feel that they must work harder than men to be taken seriously. Further, 25% of U.S. women entrepreneurs said they believe they need to charge less than self-employed men to attract and retain clients.

quote from women entrepreneurs study from Freshbooks

Solo PR Pros are often discriminated against due to size. There are companies that believe that small companies can only handle small business. This persistent myth leads to bias and discrimination against solos and micro agencies that have the  same capabilities as larger agencies. Additionally, awards, conferences and even industry service vendors often ignore the needs of solos as they target traditionally employed public relations practitioners. Adding gender to the mix, further burdens a solo community that has a great deal of women practitioners.

As an organization dedicated to ensuring that ALL solo PR Pros are valued and fulfilled in their careers, we want to work to change this gap. We will continue to provide mentorship and guidance so that all solos receive the pay and respect they deserve. We urge companies to put action to their initiatives to support the career needs of women and provide opportunities for mentorship and growth. We will also continue to educate the market about the breadth and depth of capabilities of solos and micro agencies in an effort to eliminate myths that limit the opportunities offered.

The Good News

While there is work to be done to close the gap between men and women, the good news is that self-employment is a fulfilling choice. According to the Freshbooks report, in the next five years, across the U.S. we may see 10-12 million women launching their own women. Those women will  enjoy the following benefits experienced by entrepreneurs:

  • 73% of U.S. women entrepreneurs say that working for themselves has given them better work-life balance
  • 58% say they’re healthier
  • 59% say they have less stress
  • 68% say they earn the same or more money than before

You can read the full report here.

Share the report within your networks and start conversations about how we can better support all women in their career choices. And don’t forget to spread the word, that Solo PR Pro is here for all independents and micro agencies in the Public Relations industry. 

Are you a woman entrepreneur? Does your experience align with the findings? Please share in the comments or tag #solopr on social media.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash