Men who worked in occupations dominated by men and became unemployed were more likely to take jobs in industries dominated by women than men who changed jobs without a job gap, the researchers found.
"One of the biggest conclusions is that economic conditions really matter for men to access jobs dominated by women," said Jill Yavorsky, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and one of the study's co-authors. Unemployment, he said, "can act as a triggering event that encourages them to consider new alternatives."
The latest employment report showed that women outnumbered men among payroll jobs for the second time, driven by higher employment growth in traditionally feminine fields such as medical care and education. (The figures do not include self-employed or agricultural workers; men still outnumber women in the total workforce). Those industries are growing faster than man-dominated fields, such as manufacturing and producing goods.
Christine Williams, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin who investigated what happens when men enter professions dominated by women, said she liked the authors' description of unemployment as a "shock." routine. If you are just sitting there talking to a vocational counselor, you may not be surprised to know that you want to work in health care, but we are in an economy at this time where (not everyone) has many options. "
The study, published in the January issue of the journal Social Science Research, examined eight years of data from the Survey of Income and Participation in the US Census Bureau Program. UU. He found that among men who worked in industries dominated by men or those with mixed gender work forces, and then became unemployed, 19 percent chose to engage in occupations dominated by women. Among men who did not experience a job loss, only 12 percent made a similar move.
The study also found that men who engaged in work dominated by women not only returned to work, but also saw, on average, a 4 percent salary increase and an increase in the "prestige" rating of their occupation, compared to what they had before they lost their jobs.
Yavorsky said there were a couple of possible explanations. One may be that men are only willing to take stigmatized positions such as "rose collar" jobs if they are more highly compensated through a salary or status. The other could be that some of the men in the sample who were unemployed had jobs that paid even less than those dominated by women.
The growth of female-dominated occupations has been at the bottom and top of the salary scale, with jobs as home health aides at the lower end and practicing nurses at the upper end, said Yavorsky. Meanwhile, jobs that have long offered women a path to the middle class are being emptied, with more than 2.1 million administrative and office support jobs since 2000.
Mike Ward, who recently completed a master's degree program to become a nurse practitioner after 11 years as a nurse in the emergency room and intensive care unit, decided to enter nursing after being fired as an oil field in 2000, working for a drilling company in the Gulf of Mexico. He bounced for several years, feeding planes, working in a paper mill and doing jobs for an electric company before finally qualifying for financial aid and entering school in 2003.
He had been interested in medicine for a long time, but said he had to ignore the stigmas associated with men entering the infirmary. "I was going from one job to another (where) there was an income limit that I couldn't overcome," said Ward, 43, based in Fort Worth, who now makes six figures and serves as vice president of the American Association of Men in the United States. Nursing. "My closest friends: they punctured me a little, but they don't laugh anymore."
Yavorsky is careful to point out that "unemployment is not a viable strategy to get more men to access jobs dominated by women." But he said employers may want to rethink how they pay for jobs traditionally seen as female or male, such as human resources and finance.
In fact, a great recession with widespread unemployment occurred not so long ago, but it had a relatively minor effect on gender-based labor segregation, says Betsey Stevenson, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan, who also advised economic in The Obama administration.
"Think about how big the shock of unemployment was in 2008, and we didn't see a big realignment," Stevenson said. Changing the gender balance of different jobs will require more social change, he said.
"I think one of the challenges for men is that we need to see more cultural images that modify our notions of traditionally feminine jobs as jobs that are more gender neutral and more consistent with masculinity," he said.