There’s still a wage gap, even in the gig economy

Posted on Friday, August 9, 2019 by Abby Draper

Some have wondered if the “gig” economy (which these days consists largely of Uber drivers) will close the gender pay gap, but research shows the gap still exists.

Researchers in a Stanford University study found that men, on average, make $21.28 per hour and women make $20.04. This 7% gap is based on data from more than 1.87 million UberX and UberPOOL drivers in the United States. Woman resting on open window in car.

This gap is not based on a difference in wages, but on where people drove, their experience with the app and their driving speed.

“Men tend to operate in more-lucrative location — areas with high crime rates and more drinking establishments, where fares are raised to compensate for risk,” said Harvard Business Review about the study.

Men are more likely to spend more time on the app and are less likely to quit using it. This affects the pay gap because drivers with more than 2,500 trips earn 14% more per hour than a driver with 100 trips or less, the study showed. The researchers found that more time spent on the app leads to better choices about where and when to drive, as well as which trips to accept and which to decline.

Men statistically drive faster, they said, so they can complete trips more quickly than women and move on to the next customer.

They did not find that men and women make different amounts due to work timeframe preferences, work intensity (i.e., driving 40 hours a week instead of 20) or discrimination.


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