For many, working from home is the dream. Whether it’s cutting down on commute time, avoiding office politics, or gaining greater workflow flexibility, more Americans than ever are spending time telecommuting. And with plenty of remote job offerings that pay generously, working from home doesn’t always have to mean sacrificing your paycheck.
The amount of telecommuters in the U.S. reportedly increased 115% from 2005 to 2015, and as of 2017, 56% of workers held jobs compatible with a virtual set-up. While this increase in remote work is altering the structure of the modern workplace, it’s not changing everything.
A recent study, The Anywhere Workers, by AND CO and Remote Year, dove into the details and mindsets of those who work remotely. The survey explored the increased yearning to live nomadically and the desire to circumvent productivity challenges, but it also unearthed a worrying reality: the gender wage gap lives everywhere — not just within the walls of traditional offices.
The study suggests that there is, in fact, a remote work pay gap. Specifically, the findings show that men are more likely to earn six figures than women, 13 percent versus 8 percent, respectively. Further, the data reveal that men are much more likely to have offsite jobs in top earning professions. Of all remote workers, 16.5% of men work in engineering compared with 1.6% of women.
Part of the reason why men out-earn women is that men are much more likely to work in higher paid professions across the board, said a follow-up article published by AND CO. This, in part, is due to the myriad ways that gender affects career choices.
And, while the study did not include any designation for race, it’s worth noting that the wage gap exists in varying degrees, with white and Asian women having narrowed the gap with white men more so than Black women and Latinas. As such, the realities of the gender gap manifest differently across races and ethnicities.
“Encouraging more women to get involved in the higher-paying STEM industries is one thing we can do to help close the gap,” says Sophie McAulay, Content Marketing and Growth Strategist for AND CO from Fiverr. “There are many organizations out there who are attempting to inspire women to pursue these career paths, but there’s plenty more to be done.”
McAulay suggests that another way to close these gaps is by encouraging transparency in the remote work community. “If we can foster a spirit of collaboration rather than viewing each other as competition, freelancers can have more understanding of market rates — particularly when they’re charging on a per-project basis,” McAulay says, noting that providing more information on what work is worth could help women ask for more.
The data did find that one subset of women is bucking the wage gap trend: According to AND CO’s follow up, 44 percent of women who identify as digital nomads earn over $50,000 compared to 39 percent of men. This trend was especially pronounced in creative and design industries, where women were 21 percent more likely to earn over $50,000 than men.
Ultimately, though the study does offer some good news, these findings indicate that toxic office dynamics rooted in gender, such as the wage gap, persist regardless of work environment. And with worrisome trends enduring even amidst seemingly-progressive shifts in work culture, it’s clear that more must be done to foster healthy, equitable workspaces — whether they are located in a traditional office or someone’s living room.