The Influencer Pay Gap Is a Damning Indictment of the Creator Economy

influencer pay gap on tiktok and instagram
influencer pay gap neonshot/Adobe stokkete/Adobe Rodin Anton/Adobe

UK-based talent agency SevenSix Agency has published a report laying bare the racial disparity underpinning the creator economy. The Influencer Pricing Report, which was cited by Business Insider, surveyed 300 influencers across the UK between March and May 2024. 

The sample included respondents from numerous backgrounds including Arab, Black, East Asian, Latinx, mixed white/Black, mixed/other, South Asian, Southeast Asian, white, and Other. The survey measured influencer earnings for sponsored posts across Instagram and TikTok.

The influencer pay gap

One of the most damning finds from the survey is that influencers with a “deep dark” skin tone earn 44.63% less than those with “light skin” tones. The study also found that Black influencers in the UK are paid 34% less than white influencers. 

On Instagram, influencers with a “deep tan” skin tone earned £928 ($1,187) per Instagram reel. By contrast, influencers with “light” skin tones earned the most on Instagram, earning  £1,675 ($2,142) per reel. 

The survey also found that hair type impacts earnings. White influencers with type 2A hair earned £1,713 ($2,191) per reel, those with type 4B hair earned the least, just £800 ($1,023) per reel. 

Speaking to Business Insider, SevenSix Agency’s founder Charlotte Stavrou said: “We needed data to back up what we have always been saying, which is that lighter-skinned or racially ambiguous creators would be getting more work than those who had dark skin.”

“I wanted to be really careful about how we talk to brands because you don’t want to attack them and say they’re biased, so we approached it from an educational lens,” she added. 

“If you’re not paying people equally, regardless of what the situation is, it’s a form of discrimination. It’s our responsibility to share this data because it helps hold the industry accountable for how they can do better.”

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