Women (still) ask for less: Gender differences in hourly rate in an online labor marketplace

Eureka Foong, Nicholas Vincent, Brent Hecht, Elizabeth M. Gerber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


In many traditional labor markets, women earn less on average compared to men. However, it is unclear whether this discrepancy persists in the online gig economy, which bears important differences from the traditional labor market (e.g., more flexible work arrangements, shorter-term engagements, reputation systems). In this study, we collected self-determined hourly bill rates from the public profiles of 48,019 workers in the United States (48.8% women) on Upwork, a popular gig work platform. The median female worker set hourly bill rates that were 74% of the median man’s hourly bill rates, a gap than cannot be entirely explained by online and offline work experience, education level, and job category. However, in some job categories, we found evidence of a more complex relationship between gender and earnings: Women earned more overall than men by working more hours, outpacing the effect of lower hourly bill rates. To better support equality in the rapidly growing gig economy, we encourage continual evaluation of the complex gender dynamics on these platforms and discuss whose responsibility it is to address inequalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Data transparency
  • Equality
  • Gender
  • Gig economy
  • Occupation
  • Online labor marketplace
  • Pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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