Which Jobs Attract The Most Women?

Which Jobs Attract The Most Women?

By Mark Swartz


There are 7.7 million women in the Canadian labour force. (The equivalent number for men is 8.6 million). Women are taking on all sorts of roles traditionally dominated by males.

Physicians. CEO’s. Entrepreneurs. And the trades. These are just some of the areas females are making gains each year. That’s positive news. Yet the majority still toil in roles traditionally held to be female. Here’s a look at the numbers in terms of women and employment in Canada.


Some Important Trends

Employment rates among women with children have increased over the past three decades. About 72 percent of women with children under 16 living at home are part of the paid workforce; in 1976, the figure was a mere 39 percent. Check out these eight great jobs for working moms.

Another statistic of note: women now have more schooling than men. By gender, 64.8 percent of working-age women have a post-secondary education, compared with 63.4 percent of men. 2013 is the first time females have bypassed males in overall educational attainment.


Big Gains For Females In Professional Fields And Social Sciences

Women have expanded their representation in several professional fields. In business and finance, professional women's participation has reached over 52 percent. That’s up from 38 percent in 1987.

Women also comprise more tha 55 percent of doctors, dentists and other health professionals. This is a large increase from 43 percent in 1987.

Similarly, 73 percent of professionals working in social sciences or religion are women, compared with 61 percent in two and a half decades ago.


Women Managers Are On The Rise

Women are increasingly taking up managerial positions. They account for around 37 percent of of people employed as managers. This figure was a bit over 30% in 1987.

It’s apparent that women are overcoming their professional fears. The so-called glass ceiling that held back females two and three decades ago is slowly being shattered.


The Trades And Non-Traditional Fields Are Attracting More Females

Women overwhelmingly dominate the fields of childcare, administrative assistants, nursing and cashiers. Men count for more than nine out of 10 workers in the fields of truck driving, carpentry, welding and electricians.

By 2012, women represented only 4% of those working in construction trades. Females consitute just 20% of those working in primary industries such as forestry, mining, oil and gas.

This may start to change with a recent announcement from our federal government by the Minister for Status of Women. In 2013, Canada’s Economic Action Plan introduced a number of measures to increased representation of women in all occupations, including skilled trades and other non-traditional occupations, many of which are experiencing skills shortages.

"Empowering more women to succeed in non-traditional careers makes sense for Canadian women and for Canada's economy," said Minister Ambrose. "It will also help to break down barriers and inspire young women and girls to pursue a wide variety of career options."


Still, The Majority Of Women Work In Traditional Female Occupations

Those pink collar jobs haven’t quite gone away quite yet. 70 percent of employed women have jobs in teaching, nursing and related health fields, clerical or other administrative positions, or in sales and services. Only 31 percent of employed men are working in these fields.


Women Found More In Part-Time Jobs, Less In The Sciences

The share of women working fewer than 30 hours per week at their main job has risen to nearly 30 percent. This is much higher than for men, of whom just 12 percent work part-time on average.

However it’s the opposite among professionals in natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. Here women are still very much in the minority. Just 23 percent or so of professionals in these fields are female. This is only a marginal increase from 19.5 percent in 1987. Maternity plays a role in this tendency. Here’s how to address extended mat leave on your resume.


More Female Entrepreneurs Take The Plunge

Over the past two decades, the number of self-employed women has grown. Approximately 1 million women, 12 percent of all those with jobs, are self-employed. That figure is up from 8.6 percent in 1976. (Men are still more likely than women to be self-employed: 19.9% of Canadian males are self-employed).


What Next For Women?

The gains that females are making in the workplace are likely to solidify in years coming. As more pioneering women move up into higher levels of management, they pave the way for future generations. They also provide mentoring to help younger females navigate obstacles.

Furthering this trend is the post-secondary schooling of our future female workers. Yet still there is much more to be done. Women with degrees still earn 80% of what their male counterparts make. And women without a degree just a mere 69%

"Young women are very highly educated," said Doug Norris, chief demographer for Environics Analytics and a former senior Statistics Canada official. "It's a woman's world today, but there is still much ground for equality and development to be covered."