While most of the stereotypes about what kind of work men and women are suited for have been debunked -- men can be nurturing and women can wield a hammer -- certain jobs are still dominated by one or the other gender. These jobs are considered non-traditional and are often overlooked in a job search.
Non-traditional jobs are defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, DOL, as those in which either men or women make up less than 25 percent of the workforce. For example, in 2010, 79.1 percent of computer software engineers were men, making it a non-traditional job for women.
Categories for Women
Fewer than 20 percent of all workers in engineering, construction trades and transportation are women. Only 10.8 percent of aerospace engineers were women in 2010, reports the DOL, and men held 90.3 percent of all civil engineering jobs.
Categories for Men
Career clusters where men are less than 30 percent of the workforce include health care, education and social services. They are also underrepresented in administrative and clerical positions. According to the DOL, 21.2 percent of meeting and convention planners were men in 2010.
Jobs for Women
In 2010, fewer than 1 percent of mechanics, and 7.2 percent of electrical engineers were women, notes the DOL. The median pay for electrical engineers was $87,180 yearly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other non-traditional roles include chefs and computer programmers.
Jobs for Men
Some non-traditional jobs for men include bookkeepers, bank tellers and librarians. More than half of parents would like male child care workers, but only 2 percent of those jobs are held by men, notes the University of Hawaii. The non-traditional job of dental assistant is predicted to grow by 31 percent through 2020, according to the BLS.
Statistics for Men
The DOL reports that 7.9 percent of all registered nurses in 2010 were male. This is the occupation with the smallest concentration of men. That same year, only 18.2 percent of elementary and middle school teachers were men, and men made up 19.2 percent of social workers.
Statistics for Women
The DOL notes that 5.2 percent of all aircraft pilots or flight engineers in 2010 were women. At the same time, women represented less than 10 percent of all construction managers, television and motion picture camera operators and editors, and civil engineers.
Working in non-traditional fields might make you happier. A big part of job satisfaction is working in a field that utilizes your interests and abilities. And, some traditionally female careers offer more job stability for men. For example, construction employment isn't always stable, but nurses are always in demand.
It isn't always easy to buck tradition, making working in non-traditional jobs difficult for some people. You could face harassment or discrimination -- for which there are legal remedies -- or find yourself isolated from coworkers.
The University of Hawaii notes that some of the fastest-growing occupations are in the health-care and computer fields. This creates opportunities in non-traditional careers, such as mental health and substance abuse counseling for men, or computer systems analysts for women.
- University of Hawaii Community Colleges: Non-Traditional Careers
- U.S. Department of Labor: Nontraditional Occupations of Employed Women in 2010
- U.S. Department of Labor: Quick Stats on Women Workers, 2010
- College of DuPage: Non-Traditional Careers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Dental Assistants -- Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Electrical and Electronics Engineers -- Pay
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