Tracking the trends in ‘blue’ vs. ‘pink’-collar jobs

As the Women’s Business Council celebrates 30 years of empowering women in business at every level, we’ve been taking a look back at how far we’ve come and thinking about what’s in store for the future.

When it comes to trends in jobs, it looks like things have changed quite a bit in the last 30 years. According to a recent article in the New York Times, lots of jobs predominantly done by men (like machine operator or welder, for example) have been disappearing, while occupations that employ mostly women are quickly growing.

If you take a look at the graphic in that NYT article, you’ll see a depiction of how the fastest-growing jobs, as predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are predominantly done by women, with only a few exceptions. Jobs in the healthcare industry in particular, from home health aides to nurse practitioners, are more than 80% female and are projected to grow significantly in the years ahead.

What seems crazy to me as a casual observer is that when men who enter these fields, which the story refers to as “pink-collar” occupations, they are paid more and promoted faster than women. Sociologically speaking, this trend is referred to as the “glass escalator.”

Perhaps that’s why this chart reflecting data from the Census Bureau for Albany, NY shows higher average salaries for men in common jobs including those most likely dominated by women:

data-usa-bar-chart-of-wage-by-gender-for-common-jobs-in-albany-ny

On the bright side, I suppose, the NYT article notes that women enter into male-dominated fields more than men enter female-dominated fields. And those male-dominated fields tend to be well-paid. Yet on the flip side, other studies point to drops in pay, negative perceptions, and more health problems as women take over male-dominated roles.

So where does that leave us? I’d say we still have room to grow when it comes to promoting women in the workplace. But don’t take my word for it…

Join us for our next WBC program, The Evolution of Women in Business, on February 14 at The Desmond Hotel & Conference Center. Hear from a panel of past Women of Excellence Award recipients on how they predict women in the workplace will be propelled toward advancement in the future.