SAN FRANCISCO — In a radically shifting jobs market, men increasingly could find themselves doing “women’s work.”
Fields dominated by women are expected to thrive over the next decade and longer while those heavily populated by men are shrinking, according to a new report from job search site Indeed.
Particularly hard-hit sectors, the male-dominated manufacturing and agriculture fields, have lost jobs to automation. Meanwhile, the fastest-growing sector, health care, overwhelmingly employs women.
“The labor market continues to shift away from traditionally male jobs toward traditionally female jobs,” says Jed Kolko, the chief economist at Indeed who authored the report. Female-dominated jobs are projected to grow nearly twice as fast as jobs filled primarily by men, Kolko says, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The diverging fates of the American workforce reflect a labor market segregated by gender, education and the continuing evolution of job skills required in the 21st-century economy. More than one-third of men (36%) work in occupations that are at least 80% male; 31% of women work in occupations that are at least 80% female, according to the U.S. Census.
Half of men with a high school degree or less work in fields in which they predominate. By contrast, women with a college or associate’s degree are most likely to work in occupations they dominate, the report shows.
The calculus presents a vexing challenge to President Trump, who vowed on the campaign trail to bring back manufacturing jobs to the heartland. Advances in automation may make it impossible to ramp up hiring in manufacturing, Kolko says.
As traditionally male jobs grow at a slower rate, men are more likely to seek retraining and look into jobs in health care such as nursing, home care and occupational therapy, according to the report. They could also pursue work as ambulance drivers, emergency medical technicians and Web developers, other fast-growing jobs routinely occupied by men.
Steve Santos, 44, was an environmental biologist until the housing crisis slowed business, so he went back to school and became a nurse in 2015. “There is a need for nurses, it’s a stable profession that pays well, and you help people,” the San Francisco resident says.
Another Trump campaign promise, a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, could yield jobs in construction.
There is a silver lining in one industry for both sexes: Growth in tech-related occupations such as software developers, information-system managers and computer-information research scientists offers plenty of opportunities. There were 627,000 unfilled jobs in tech in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Cyberstates 2017, an annual analysis of the nation’s tech industry by technology association CompTIA.
While female tech CEOs are a rarity, their performance is stellar, according to thousands of anonymous responses from employees worldwide and more than 100 start-up founders, TINYpulse’s 2017 Start-Up Culture Report concluded.
Companies growing at more than 200% were 75% more likely to have a female founder, the survey found.