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Growing Numbers of Men Move into Traditional “Women’s Jobs”

womens jobsTrends in the job market show an increasing number of men entering jobs traditionally dominated by women: teaching, nursing, dental assisting, bank telling, reception work and waiting tables. The shifting terrain of the American labor market is driven by many factors, including financial issues, quality-of-life concerns and a steady erosion of gender stereotypes. Census data show that from 2000 to 2010, occupations that are more than 70% female made up almost one-third of all job growth for men – double the share of the previous decade.


This does not mean that men are displacing women in those occupations — those same jobs accounted for almost 66% of women’s job growth. But in Texas, for instance, the number of men who are registered nurses almost doubled in that time span, increasing to 22,500 from only 12,709, and increasing the percentage of male nurses to 10.5%, up from 8%.  Men currently make up 23% of Texas public schoolteachers, but almost 28% of first-year teachers.

The changing landscape of men in “women’s jobs” includes low-wage work as well. Across the U.S., when you compare 2010 to a decade earlier, two-thirds more men were bank tellers, almost twice as many were receptionists, and 65% more were waiting tables in restaurants.

Even more interesting is the class of men who are making the transition. From 1970 to 1990, men who moved into so-called “pink collar” jobs tended to be immigrants and non-English speakers without much education— men, in other words, who had limited career opportunities.

Yet today the trend has expanded to all races and ages of men, more than 30% of whom are college graduates. Indeed, the change is most noticeable among young, white, college-grads like Charles Reed, a 6th grade teacher at a Junior High School in Houston.

Reed, a 25-year-old, originally planned to enter law school after two years working with “Teach for America,” but he fell in love with teaching kids. Though he claims that the recession had little to do with his own professional path, he thinks that the bad economy has left few options for other new law school graduates.

Labor and Industries Attorney

If you have lost a job due to wrongful termination or experienced a violation involving FMLA or ADA, contact a Seattle Employment attorney at Emery Reddy. Our firm has comprehensive experience negotiating with the department of Labor and Industries, and can help with denied L&I claims, unlawful practices during the independent medical examination, and other difficulties that workers face in navigating Washington L&I.

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