Gender gap in self-employment increases with age in EU

Data on the EU’s labour market in the third quarter of 2021 indicate that men were more likely to be self-employed than women: 16.4 % of employed men were self-employed compared with 9.5 % of women.

Eurostat analysis shows that the gender gap grows with age, with a difference of 1.8 percentage points (pp) for young people (15-24), which then increases to 6.3 pp for people aged 25-54 and 11.1 pp for those aged 55-64.

In the third quarter of 2021, 22.6 % of employed men aged 55-64 were self-employed against 15.8 % of employed men aged 25-54 and 4.5 % aged 15-24. Among employed women aged 55-64, 11.4 % were self-employed against 9.5 % aged 25-54 and 2.7 % aged 15-24.

These differences between men and women are also visible in the two subcategories of self-employment. When it comes to self-employment without employees (own-account workers), the gender gap increases from 1.5 pp among those aged 15-24, to 3.4 pp among people 25-54 years old and 6.1 pp for those between 55 and 64 years old.

The same happens for self-employment with employees (employers), where the difference goes from 0.3 pp for young people (15-24) to 2.9 pp for people aged 25-54 and then 5.1 pp for those aged 55-64.

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