AirTalk for May 31, 2012

Why are men moving into female dominated jobs sectors?

Humanitas

Grant Slater/KPCC

Why are more men taking on professions usually held by women?

Men are flocking to jobs that have typically been held by women. From 2000 to 2010 according to an analysis of census data by the New York Times, occupations with more than 70 percent women in them provided almost a third of all the jobs that men got, double what it was in the decade before.

This trend may be a reflection of the change in gender stereotypes or it may be driven by financial concerns but in Texas, for example, the number of male registered nurses nearly doubled in the last decade and the percentage of men in first time school teaching jobs is also on the increase. Apparently this trend started before the recession but has been exacerbated by high levels of unemployment in traditionally male occupations.

For men without a college degree these jobs have great appeal. They often require less than two years of training, offer an hourly starting wage in the double digits and provide the stability of steady work when so many men are being laid off. Is this a long term shift or just a temporary response to the recession? No one seems to know but male nurses recently interviewed on the topic said economic considerations weren’t essential to their choice of profession. Rather, they emphasized job stability, personal satisfaction and fading stigma associated with choosing a female dominated field of work.

If you are a man who has recently chosen to pursue a job in a traditionally female profession, tell us about your choices and your experiences. What motivated you to train for a job in a female dominated field?

GUEST

Heather Boushey, Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress. Her research focuses on employment, social policy, and family economic well-being.


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