Forget the days of female typists, secretaries, teachers, nurses and homemakers – females are closing this decade in style. Women are not only working more than ever before, but they’re also filling roles traditionally dominated by men and, in some cases, outperforming their male counterparts.
Female employment and contracting in the UK
A recent report in The Times has uncovered some interesting and celebratory insights into the world of female employment. Female employment in the UK is now at a record 71.8%, thanks to an additional 1.6 million women finding work in the past ten years.
It’s not only the traditionally female-dominated roles that have seen an increase in the past decade either. The biggest surge has come from the construction industry, with an 83% increase in women entering skilled construction and building trade jobs. From bricklaying and plumbing to roofing and surveying – women aren’t only entering these roles, but they’re also performing outstandingly when they do. Females dominated UK Construction Week’s 2019 Role Model of the Year award finalists – an award won by project surveyor Anjali Pindoria.
There’s also been an impressive rise in the number of females entering the world of skilled agricultural and STEM roles – demonstrating that gender should place no restriction of the type of work or industry anyone wants to enter.
We’re also delighted to see a rise in the number of female contractors and freelancers in the UK. Female self-employment has increased by 44% over the past ten years, providing women with the opportunity to utilise and profit from their skills in a flexible way.
Work left to do
The saying used to go that “a woman’s work is never done,” but today, everyone is responsible for achieving full gender equality in the world of work. While the gap between male and female employment is undoubtedly closing, female employment rates are still significantly lower than that of men (80.3%).
Then we have the issue of equal pay. This year’s Equal Pay Day took place on 14 November 2019, signifying the day in the year when women effectively start to work for free. The gender pay gap currently sits at 13.9% and increases to 16.2% when part-time workers are included. As put by Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society:
“Progress to close the gender pay gap is dismally slow and at this rate it will take 60 years to eradicate it. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act women have waited long enough.”
Finally, we have the problem of self-employed females being sold non-compliant pay models, for the benefit of the provider and not the worker – an issue high on the agenda of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association
Progress has definitely been made over the past decade, but as you can see, there is still plenty of room for improvement as we enter 2020.
If you’d like to know more about how to enhance and protect the rights of female contractors and freelancers, get in touch today.