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Nontraditional Pathways:
Closing the Gap for Women
in the Workforce
Mississippi Governor’s Workforce Conference
November 1...
Unemployment, U.S.
October 2010
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
Gender earnings ratio, U.S.
Source: Men’s and Women’s Earnings for States and
Metropolitan Statistical Areas: 2009, U.S. C...
Gender earnings ratio, Mississippi
Source: Men’s and Women’s Earnings for States and
Metropolitan Statistical Areas: 2009,...
Gender earnings gap, Mississippi
Source: Men’s and Women’s Earnings for States and
Metropolitan Statistical Areas: 2009, U...
Occupational concentration by wage
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
2007
Occupational concentration by wage
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
2007
Occupational concentration by wage
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
2007
Occupations w/lowest concentration of women
Occupation % women
median
weekly
earnings
wage
quintile
Automotive service tec...
Occupations w/lowest concentration of women
Occupation % women
median
weekly
earnings
wage
quintile
Automotive service tec...
Occupations w/lowest concentration of women
Occupation % women
median
weekly
earnings
wage
quintile
Automotive service tec...
Occupations w/lowest concentration of women
Occupation % women
median
weekly
earnings
wage
quintile
Automotive service tec...
Occupations w/lowest concentration of women
Occupation % women
median
weekly
earnings
wage
quintile
Automotive service tec...
Occupations w/lowest concentration of women
Occupation % women
median
weekly
earnings
wage
quintile
Automotive service tec...
Occupations w/highest concentration of women
Occupation % women
median
weekly
earnings
wage
quintile
Preschool and kinderg...
Occupations w/lowest concentration of women
Occupation % women
median
weekly
earnings
wage
quintile
Automotive service tec...
Occupations w/highest concentration of women
Occupation % women
median
weekly
earnings
wage
quintile
Preschool and kinderg...
Women’s representation, health care careers
Nursing Aides –
1.88Short-term OJT
Moderate OJT or
post-secondary award
Medica...
Sector initiatives:
Sector initiatives are regional, industry-focused approaches to workforce and
economic development tha...
Source: Tuning in to Local Labor Markets: Findings from the
Sectoral Employment Impact Study, Public/Private
Ventures
Source: Tuning in to Local Labor Markets: Findings from the
Sectoral Employment Impact Study, Public/Private
Ventures
Thank you!
Jim Torrens
Program Manager
National Network of Sector Partners
Insight Center for Community
Economic Developme...
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Nontraditional Pathways: Closing the Gap for Women in the Workforce

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What is the gap for women in the workforce, and how can it be addressed? Jim Torrens of the National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP), an initiative of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, made this presentation on the subject at the Mississippi Governor's Workforce Conference, November 16, 2010.

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  • In this presentation, I’m going to make three main points:
    There is a gap for women in the workforce, and it’s about earnings.
    The reason for the earnings gap is that women are concentrated in low-wage occupations and underrepresented in high-wage occupations.
    Sector initiatives, which have proven effective at increasing access to good jobs, can improve the economic security of women by helping them access non-traditional occupations.
  • You may have heard about a “mancession” – the idea that the recession is hitting men harder than women. In fact, the national unemployment rate for men is higher than it is for women (10.4% vs. 8.8%). We don’t know if the same is true for Mississippi, because that stat isn’t calculated for the state.
    One reason unemployment for women is lower than that for men, incidentally, is that jobs traditionally held by women – such as in healthcare and education – haven’t been hit as hard by the recession as those traditionally held by men – such as construction and manufacturing. Of course, the flip side is that jobs traditionally held by women pay less than those traditionally held by men, and we’ll see that that is a major source of employment disparities.
  • If you look at what women earn compared to what men earn, you’ll find the gap. Women who are employed full-time earn about 78% of what men who are employed full-time earn.
  • In Mississippi, the ratio is slightly worse: women earn about 76 cents on the dollar as compared to men.
  • If you wonder what the earnings gap means in terms of real dollars, it means that the difference between the median incomes of men and women working full-time in Mississippi is about $9,000. This means a huge difference in economic security for women. Imagine a female-headed household with children – or a two-parent household with two wage earners – and think of the difference $9,000 a year could make for them.
  • Where does the earnings gap come from? It comes from the occupations in which women are concentrated. This chart shows the percentage of women in occupations that have been divided by wage quintile. That is, the occupations whose median weekly earnings are in the top 20% of all occupations (weighted by number of workers) are captured in the top bar – and the occupations whose median weekly earnings are in the bottom 20% of occupations (weighted by number of workers) are in the bottom bar.
    If women were distributed evenly across the occupational earnings spectrum, each bar would equal 20%.
  • You can see that women are disproportionately represented in occupations that fall in the two lowest earnings quintiles.
  • You can also see that women are underrepresented in occupations falling in the top three wage quintiles.
  • This is a list of major occupations (employing more than 300k workers nationally) in which women are least represented.
  • For each occupation, this column contains the percentage of workers who are women.
  • This column shows the median weekly earnings of workers in each occupation.
    In every one of these occupations, men earn more than women do for full-time work. Actually, for most of these occupations, there are too few women to calculate a statistically meaningful median weekly earning for women.
  • This column shows the quintile into which the median wage for each occupation falls.
  • One way to read this chart is by occupation. For example, only 1.8% of electricians are women; the median weekly earnings for electricians is $805; and that puts electricians into the second highest wage quintile (2).
  • I found it helpful to color-code the wage quintiles so we can get an overall look at the occupations in which women are underrepresented. You’ll see more blue and green (first and second quintiles) than orange and red (fourth and fifth quintiles) here, meaning that the occupations women are least represented in are generally higher-wage.
  • Here’s a list of major occupations (employing more than 300k workers nationally) in which women have the highest concentration. You’ll notice that fourteen of these are red or orange (bottom two earnings quintiles) while just four are blue or green (top two quintiles). In other words, the occupations that women are most represented in generally pay low wages.
    On top of that, even here, in supposedly female-dominated occupations, in almost every case, women earn less than men for a full week’s work. For example, the median weekly earnings for male administrative assistants is almost $100 more than it is for women. ($97, actually.)
  • If we look back at our table of occupations with the lowest concentration of women, we notice that disparities are concentrated in certain industries. For example, here are the construction-related occupations from that list. You could also look here and see low representation of women in manufacturing and transportation, distribution, and logistics jobs.
  • You can also do the same thing to identify industries with high representation of women, such as education and healthcare.
    I’m sure it won’t be surprising to you that healthcare is a sector in which occupations have a high concentration of women. Note that healthcare jobs don’t necessarily pay well. That’s certainly true of registered nurses, but many of the other jobs shown are low-paying.
    Even here, in supposedly female-dominated occupations, in almost every case, women earn less than men for a full week’s work. For example, did you know that the median weekly earnings for male registered nurses are more than $100 a week higher than they are for women?
  • Even within an industry, like healthcare, in which women are prevalent, you’ll notice that the prevalence is greatest in lower-paying jobs. Women are still underrepresented among physicians, for example.
    If you constructed something like this for construction, based on occupations within wage quintiles, I’m sure it would look very different. When we looked at employment of women in one California county, for example, we were surprised to see that women made up more than 15% of the overall workforce. Then we discovered that they occupied nearly all the clerical positions; that was making up the bulk of employment of women in the sector.
  • Sector initiatives are industry-focused approaches that can increase access for workers to good jobs – including increasing access for women to non-traditional occupations.
  • We know from a recent random-assignment study by Public/Private Ventures that sector initiatives can have a dramatic effect on the economic security of participants as compared to non-participant controls.
    We also this study that sector initiatives can be effective for specific populations. This chart shows outcomes for various different subgroups.
  • Women in particular benefited from the three sector initiatives studied. Women who participated in the profiled sector initiatives earned close to $6,000 more over the two-year study period than non-participants, even though that earning advantage generally started after a significant training period. While these sector initiatives did not specifically target women for non-traditional occupations, a number of sector initiatives do. It would be interesting to document the impacts for programs that specifically targeted women for these jobs.
  • For more information about this presentation or about the National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP), contact Jim Torrens at jtorrens@insightcced.org. You can also follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nnsp.
  • Transcript of "Nontraditional Pathways: Closing the Gap for Women in the Workforce"

    1. 1. Nontraditional Pathways: Closing the Gap for Women in the Workforce Mississippi Governor’s Workforce Conference November 16, 2010
    2. 2. Unemployment, U.S. October 2010 Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
    3. 3. Gender earnings ratio, U.S. Source: Men’s and Women’s Earnings for States and Metropolitan Statistical Areas: 2009, U.S. Census Bureau
    4. 4. Gender earnings ratio, Mississippi Source: Men’s and Women’s Earnings for States and Metropolitan Statistical Areas: 2009, U.S. Census Bureau
    5. 5. Gender earnings gap, Mississippi Source: Men’s and Women’s Earnings for States and Metropolitan Statistical Areas: 2009, U.S. Census Bureau
    6. 6. Occupational concentration by wage Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, 2007
    7. 7. Occupational concentration by wage Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, 2007
    8. 8. Occupational concentration by wage Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, 2007
    9. 9. Occupations w/lowest concentration of women Occupation % women median weekly earnings wage quintile Automotive service technicians and mechanics 0.4% 655 3 Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 0.9% 721 3 Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 0.9% 728 3 Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 1.2% 698 3 Carpenters 1.7% 615 3 Construction laborers 1.7% 514 4 Electricians 1.8% 805 2 First-line supervisors/mgrs of construction & extraction workers 2.2% 901 2 Maintenance and repair workers, general 2.7% 694 3 Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics 3.1% 798 2 Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 3.2% 765 2 Painters, construction and maintenance 3.4% 515 4 Grounds maintenance workers 3.9% 420 5 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 4.1% 665 3 Machinists 5.4% 700 3 Industrial truck and tractor operators 5.5% 519 4 First-line supervisors/mgrs of mechanics, installers, & repairers 5.6% 960 2 Welding, soldering, and brazing workers 6.9% 607 3 Construction managers 8.8% 1,143 1 Electrical and electronics engineers 9.9% 1,454 1 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    10. 10. Occupations w/lowest concentration of women Occupation % women median weekly earnings wage quintile Automotive service technicians and mechanics 0.4% 655 3 Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 0.9% 721 3 Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 0.9% 728 3 Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 1.2% 698 3 Carpenters 1.7% 615 3 Construction laborers 1.7% 514 4 Electricians 1.8% 805 2 First-line supervisors/mgrs of construction & extraction workers 2.2% 901 2 Maintenance and repair workers, general 2.7% 694 3 Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics 3.1% 798 2 Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 3.2% 765 2 Painters, construction and maintenance 3.4% 515 4 Grounds maintenance workers 3.9% 420 5 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 4.1% 665 3 Machinists 5.4% 700 3 Industrial truck and tractor operators 5.5% 519 4 First-line supervisors/mgrs of mechanics, installers, & repairers 5.6% 960 2 Welding, soldering, and brazing workers 6.9% 607 3 Construction managers 8.8% 1,143 1 Electrical and electronics engineers 9.9% 1,454 1 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    11. 11. Occupations w/lowest concentration of women Occupation % women median weekly earnings wage quintile Automotive service technicians and mechanics 0.4% 655 3 Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 0.9% 721 3 Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 0.9% 728 3 Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 1.2% 698 3 Carpenters 1.7% 615 3 Construction laborers 1.7% 514 4 Electricians 1.8% 805 2 First-line supervisors/mgrs of construction & extraction workers 2.2% 901 2 Maintenance and repair workers, general 2.7% 694 3 Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics 3.1% 798 2 Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 3.2% 765 2 Painters, construction and maintenance 3.4% 515 4 Grounds maintenance workers 3.9% 420 5 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 4.1% 665 3 Machinists 5.4% 700 3 Industrial truck and tractor operators 5.5% 519 4 First-line supervisors/mgrs of mechanics, installers, & repairers 5.6% 960 2 Welding, soldering, and brazing workers 6.9% 607 3 Construction managers 8.8% 1,143 1 Electrical and electronics engineers 9.9% 1,454 1 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    12. 12. Occupations w/lowest concentration of women Occupation % women median weekly earnings wage quintile Automotive service technicians and mechanics 0.4% 655 3 Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 0.9% 721 3 Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 0.9% 728 3 Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 1.2% 698 3 Carpenters 1.7% 615 3 Construction laborers 1.7% 514 4 Electricians 1.8% 805 2 First-line supervisors/mgrs of construction & extraction workers 2.2% 901 2 Maintenance and repair workers, general 2.7% 694 3 Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics 3.1% 798 2 Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 3.2% 765 2 Painters, construction and maintenance 3.4% 515 4 Grounds maintenance workers 3.9% 420 5 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 4.1% 665 3 Machinists 5.4% 700 3 Industrial truck and tractor operators 5.5% 519 4 First-line supervisors/mgrs of mechanics, installers, & repairers 5.6% 960 2 Welding, soldering, and brazing workers 6.9% 607 3 Construction managers 8.8% 1,143 1 Electrical and electronics engineers 9.9% 1,454 1 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    13. 13. Occupations w/lowest concentration of women Occupation % women median weekly earnings wage quintile Automotive service technicians and mechanics 0.4% 655 3 Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 0.9% 721 3 Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 0.9% 728 3 Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 1.2% 698 3 Carpenters 1.7% 615 3 Construction laborers 1.7% 514 4 Electricians 1.8% 805 2 First-line supervisors/mgrs of construction & extraction workers 2.2% 901 2 Maintenance and repair workers, general 2.7% 694 3 Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics 3.1% 798 2 Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 3.2% 765 2 Painters, construction and maintenance 3.4% 515 4 Grounds maintenance workers 3.9% 420 5 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 4.1% 665 3 Machinists 5.4% 700 3 Industrial truck and tractor operators 5.5% 519 4 First-line supervisors/mgrs of mechanics, installers, & repairers 5.6% 960 2 Welding, soldering, and brazing workers 6.9% 607 3 Construction managers 8.8% 1,143 1 Electrical and electronics engineers 9.9% 1,454 1 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    14. 14. Occupations w/lowest concentration of women Occupation % women median weekly earnings wage quintile Automotive service technicians and mechanics 0.4% 655 3 Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 0.9% 721 3 Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 0.9% 728 3 Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 1.2% 698 3 Carpenters 1.7% 615 3 Construction laborers 1.7% 514 4 Electricians 1.8% 805 2 First-line supervisors/mgrs of construction & extraction workers 2.2% 901 2 Maintenance and repair workers, general 2.7% 694 3 Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics 3.1% 798 2 Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 3.2% 765 2 Painters, construction and maintenance 3.4% 515 4 Grounds maintenance workers 3.9% 420 5 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 4.1% 665 3 Machinists 5.4% 700 3 Industrial truck and tractor operators 5.5% 519 4 First-line supervisors/mgrs of mechanics, installers, & repairers 5.6% 960 2 Welding, soldering, and brazing workers 6.9% 607 3 Construction managers 8.8% 1,143 1 Electrical and electronics engineers 9.9% 1,454 1 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    15. 15. Occupations w/highest concentration of women Occupation % women median weekly earnings wage quintile Preschool and kindergarten teachers 96.9% $567 4 Secretaries and administrative assistants 96.6% $599 4 Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses 92.9% $668 3 Receptionists and information clerks 92.2% $482 4 Teacher assistants 92.2% $410 5 Child care workers 91.5% $368 5 Registered nurses 90.2% $984 1 Medical assistants and other healthcare support occupations 90.2% $490 4 Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists 90.0% $425 5 Billing and posting clerks and machine operators 89.3% $560 4 Tellers 89.1% $455 5 Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 89.1% $606 3 Healthcare support occupations 88.1% $454 5 Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides 87.4% $423 5 Personal and home care aides 87.3% $380 5 Maids and housekeeping cleaners 84.5% $366 5 Office clerks, general 83.6% $556 4 Special education teachers 82.0% $881 2 Social workers 80.9% $757 2 Elementary and middle school teachers 80.2% $863 2 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    16. 16. Occupations w/lowest concentration of women Occupation % women median weekly earnings wage quintile Automotive service technicians and mechanics 0.4% 655 3 Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 0.9% 721 3 Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 0.9% 728 3 Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 1.2% 698 3 Carpenters 1.7% 615 3 Construction laborers 1.7% 514 4 Electricians 1.8% 805 2 First-line supervisors/mgrs of construction & extraction workers 2.2% 901 2 Maintenance and repair workers, general 2.7% 694 3 Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics 3.1% 798 2 Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 3.2% 765 2 Painters, construction and maintenance 3.4% 515 4 Grounds maintenance workers 3.9% 420 5 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 4.1% 665 3 Machinists 5.4% 700 3 Industrial truck and tractor operators 5.5% 519 4 First-line supervisors/mgrs of mechanics, installers, & repairers 5.6% 960 2 Welding, soldering, and brazing workers 6.9% 607 3 Construction managers 8.8% 1,143 1 Electrical and electronics engineers 9.9% 1,454 1 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    17. 17. Occupations w/highest concentration of women Occupation % women median weekly earnings wage quintile Preschool and kindergarten teachers 96.9% $567 4 Secretaries and administrative assistants 96.6% $599 4 Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses 92.9% $668 3 Receptionists and information clerks 92.2% $482 4 Teacher assistants 92.2% $410 5 Child care workers 91.5% $368 5 Registered nurses 90.2% $984 1 Medical assistants and other healthcare support occupations 90.2% $490 4 Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists 90.0% $425 5 Billing and posting clerks and machine operators 89.3% $560 4 Tellers 89.1% $455 5 Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 89.1% $606 3 Healthcare support occupations 88.1% $454 5 Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides 87.4% $423 5 Personal and home care aides 87.3% $380 5 Maids and housekeeping cleaners 84.5% $366 5 Office clerks, general 83.6% $556 4 Special education teachers 82.0% $881 2 Social workers 80.9% $757 2 Elementary and middle school teachers 80.2% $863 2 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    18. 18. Women’s representation, health care careers Nursing Aides – 1.88Short-term OJT Moderate OJT or post-secondary award Medical Assistants – 1.94 Health support technicians – 1.73 Post-secondary award LPN/LVN – 2.00 Medical records technicians – 2.04 EMTs and paramedics – 0.57 Miscellaneous health technicians – 1.44 Associate’s degree Registered nurse – 1.94 Diagnostic technicians – 1.37 Respiratory therapists – 1.40 Clinical laboratory technicians – 1.61 Bachelor’s degree Occupational therapists – 1.69 Physician assistant – 1.48 Dieticians and nutritionists – 1.99 Master’s degree Physical therapists – 1.33 Speech-language pathologist – 2.10 Professional degree Physicians and surgeons – 0.70 Pharmacists – 1.10 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
    19. 19. Sector initiatives: Sector initiatives are regional, industry-focused approaches to workforce and economic development that improve access to good jobs and/or increase job quality in ways that strengthen an industry’s workforce.
    20. 20. Source: Tuning in to Local Labor Markets: Findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study, Public/Private Ventures
    21. 21. Source: Tuning in to Local Labor Markets: Findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study, Public/Private Ventures
    22. 22. Thank you! Jim Torrens Program Manager National Network of Sector Partners Insight Center for Community Economic Development (510) 251-2600, x110 jtorrens@insightcced.org

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