Women are a dominant force in the American workforce, owning 36% of all businesses in the United States. And these women-run businesses generate $1.7 trillion in annual revenue. Indeed, much progress has been made in the past decade.
Despite these facts, however, women continue to deal with discrimination and challenges. For example, they experience loan approval rates 20% below those of men. And they still find it challenging to reach leadership positions. As reported by the Pew Research Center, women held just 10% of top executive positions in 2017. And of the companies at the top of the Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500 stock index, only 5% of chief executives are women.
Recent research from FreshBooks, a small business accounting and invoicing software company, shines additional light on compensation issues and career opportunities for women. FreshBooks conducted their Women in the Independent Workforce survey in conjunction with Research Now, reaching out to more than 2,700 people in the U.S. who work full time as traditional employees, independent professionals, or small business owners.
First off, it’s estimated that roughly 13 million women are considering quitting their jobs and going to work for themselves. What’s driving this exodus? About 70% of women cite workplace discrimination, pay disparity, and the corporate glass ceiling as factors in their decision.
Of the women in the traditional workforce, an overwhelming percentage of them feel that life would be better if they were working on their own. Here’s a breakdown of FreshBooks’ findings:
- 84% believe self-employment makes it easier to be a working mother
- 63% believe self-employment will lead to faster career advancement
- 52% say they can’t reach their full potential as employees
According to the Women in the Independent Workforce Report, there’s also a substantial gender wage gap among self-employed professionals. So even though self-employed women have the autonomy to set their own rates, men outearn them by nearly 30%.
The report reveals that 20% of self-employed women say they feel compelled to charge less than their male equivalents in order to get and keep clients. Respondents say that gender discrimination is common, with 30% of women believing they’re not taken as seriously as their male peers and an equal percentage believing they have to work harder than men who do the same work.
Despite these struggles, nearly 100% of self-employed women wish to continue working for themselves, rather than return to the traditional workforce. Why? Because 70% of women say self-employment gives them more control over their career, 78% of women are happier working for themselves, and 70% have more work-life balance.