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20 jobs that have become dominated by women

Nava Greenblatt, lead animal care specialist for the Brookfield Zoo's Tropic World Asia, feeds and performs a training session with Kecil, a 4-year-old orangutan. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The landscape of the U.S. job market has changed considerably in recent years. One of the most notable trends is the increasing participation of women in the workforce. In 2000, women held approximately 40.5 percent of all jobs in the United States. As of 2016, 43.1 percent of all U.S. workers were female.

The overall uptick in the labor force participation of women obscures the massive changes that have occurred in some professions. In some occupations, the shares of female workers climbed by over 20 percentage points since the turn of the millennium.

Many of the jobs in which female participation is increasing most rapidly are high paying. In half of the jobs on this list, median earnings for women are higher than the median wage for all workers of $45,860. Still, women do not earn more than their male counterparts in any of the jobs on this list.

Men and women each tend to sort into different jobs, which largely explains the gender pay gap in the United States. The rising shares of women in certain high paying jobs therefore helps explain gains made closing the gender pay gap. In 2000, women earned just 73 cents for every dollar men earned. As of 2016, the gender pay gap narrowed to 80 cents on the dollar. With a handful of exceptions, the gender pay gap shrank in the majority of jobs on this list.

24/7 Wall Street compared U.S. Census data from 2000 and 2016 on employment composition by gender in over 300 occupations to identify the 20 jobs that have become dominated by women. More than half of all workers are women in every job on this list, and the increase in the share of women working in these professions range from 6.4 to 25.1 percentage points.

20. Public relations specialists

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 6.4 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 67,660 (65.3% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 56,410 (58.9% of total)
  • Median earnings: $65,386

19. Office machine operators, except computer

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 6.5 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 16,525 (62.9% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 18,540 (56.4% of total)
  • Median earnings: $30,788

18. Social and community service managers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 6.6 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 205,242 (69.3% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 112,730 (62.7% of total)
  • Median earnings: $56,610

17. Production, planning, and expediting clerk

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 6.7 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 162,313 (57.3% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 130,680 (50.6% of total)
  • Median earnings: $48,582

16. Parking enforcement workers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 6.8 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 2,401 (50.8% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 1,420 (44.0% of total)
  • Median earnings: $39,298

15. Technical writers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 6.8 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 27,568 (58.2% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 26,560 (51.4% of total)
  • Median earnings: $71,388

14. Lodging managers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 6.9 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 56,675 (52.7% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 42,820 (45.8% of total)
  • Median earnings: $45,875

13. Compliance officers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 7.5 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 119,140 (52.6% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 36,500 (45.1% of total)
  • Median earnings: $69,262

12. Nonfarm animal caretakers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 7.7 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 86,341 (71.4% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 32,130 (63.7% of total)
  • Median earnings: $25,210

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11. Fabric and apparel patternmakers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 7.9 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 1,746 (82.6% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 2,780 (74.7% of total)
  • Median earnings: $61,630

10. Writers and authors

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 10.2 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 74,871 (56.6% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 37,850 (46.4% of total)
  • Median earnings: $55,464

9. Opticians, dispensing

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 10.3 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 34,322 (71.0% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 20,570 (60.7% of total)
  • Median earnings: $37,389

8. First-line supervisors of personal service workers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 10.7 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 48,488 (65.4% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 41,980 (54.7% of total)
  • Median earnings: $32,240

7. Bakers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 11.0 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 80,114 (54.0% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 39,210 (43.0% of total)
  • Median earnings: $25,848

6. Animal trainers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 11.2 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 15,037 (51.8% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 9,180 (40.6% of total)
  • Median earnings: $29,978

5. Graders and sorters, agricultural products

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 12.0 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 21,342 (65.0% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 6,240 (53.0% of total)
  • Median earnings: $21,235

4. Public relations and fundraising managers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 12.6 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 34,416 (67.3% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 29,480 (54.7% of total)
  • Median earnings: $77,835

3. Pharmacists

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 15.5 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 117,126 (54.6% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 57,610 (39.1% of total)
  • Median earnings: $120,878

2. Natural sciences managers

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 22.5 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 9,452 (52.8% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 4,990 (30.3% of total)
  • Median earnings: $92,161

1. Veterinarians

  • 16 yr. change in share of women: 25.1 ppt.
  • 2016 female workers: 38,885 (59.1% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 15,140 (34.0% of total)
  • Median earnings: $90,063

Detailed findings

In the majority of jobs on this list, the number of women working in the occupation increased at a faster rate than the number of men. In seven jobs on this list, the number of men actually declined since 2000 as the number of women increased.

Some occupations dominated by women have fewer women working today than in 2000. Two occupations that have become dominated by women actually have fewer women working today than in 2000. Today, there are 2,015 fewer office machine operators and 1,034 fewer fabric and apparel patternmakers than there were in 2000. Either the number of men working in these jobs fell at a far faster rate than the number of women, or the number of men in the occupation has historically been relatively small.

The majority of jobs now dominated by women are relatively high paying. Across all occupations, the typical American worker earns $45,860 a year. In 10 of the jobs that have become dominated by women, the median income is higher than the national median.

However, increasing female representation in the workplace does not always translate to more equitable pay. Overall, the pay gap has narrowed considerably in the last 16 years. Since 2000, the median annual wage among men in the United States increased by 34.1 percent. Meanwhile, the median wage among women increased by 47.9 percent.

Still, just eight of the 20 jobs on this list reported a greater than average increase in women’s pay. In seven jobs on this list, the pay gap has widened since 2000. While there are occupations on this list — like pharmacists and technical writers — for which the pay gap is now nearly non-existent, in the majority of jobs on this list, the pay gap is worse than the average across all occupations of 80 cents on the dollar.

Despite being increasingly represented in these jobs, women do not earn more than their male counterparts in any of the jobs on this list.