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Quick Facts on Nontraditional Occupations for Women
  • A nontraditional occupation for women is one in which women comprise 25 percent or less of total employment.

  • Nontraditional occupations span all major occupational groups and provide many employment options for women.

  • First, growth in the economy is projected to expand employment in many of these occupations and secondly, there will be strong demand for workers in these fields due to projected retirements or transfers of current workers to other occupations.

  • Nontraditional jobs are attractive to women because they generally offer higher entry-level wages and a career ladder with pay between $20 and $30 per hour.

  • Here are some examples of nontraditional jobs for women: detectives, architects, chefs, barbers, clergy, computer and office machine repairers, construction and building inspectors, railroad conductors, machinists, truck drivers, fire fighters, aircraft pilots, construction occupations, and small engine mechanics.

  • Women continue to make inroads into nontraditional occupations. As more women enter jobs that were once dominated by men, many jobs that were nontraditional for women in the 1986 were no longer nontraditional for women in 2006. Some of these occupations are physicians and surgeons, chemists, judges and magistrates, announcers, lawyers, athletes, coaches, umpires, and postal service mail carriers.


Nontraditional Occupations for Women in 2006 1
(Numbers in thousands)
 
Employed
Employed
Percent
Occupation
Both Sexes
Female
Female
       
Farmers and ranchers 784 196 25.0
Cutting workers 78 19 24.8
Administrative services managers 87 21 24.4
Chefs and head cooks 313 75 23.9
Dishwashers 279 67 23.9
Chief executives 1,689 395 23.4
Chiropractors 69 16 23.1
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers 835 192 23.0
Dentists 196 44 22.6
Industrial engineers, including health and safety 174 39 22.6
Architects, except naval 221 49 22.2
Printing machine operators 208 46 22.2
Environmental scientists and geoscientists 101 22 21.8
Computer software engineers 846 184 21.8
Farm, ranch, and other agricultural managers 242 53 21.8
Drafters 181 39 21.8
Engineering technicians, except drafters 396 82 20.6
Baggage porters, bellhops, and concierges 78 16 20.6
Parking lot attendants 65 13 19.5
First-line supervisors/managers of production and
    operating workers 868 168 19.4
Couriers and messengers 273 49 17.9
Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators,
    and tenders, metal and plastic 119 21 17.9
Barbers 100 18 17.7
Chemical engineers 70 12 17.1
Molders and molding machine setters, operators, and tenders,
    metal and plastic 70 14 17.1
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 1,899 321 16.9
Supervisors, transportation and material moving workers 228 38 16.7
Network and computer systems administrators 180 30 16.6
Painting workers 173 29 16.6
Industrial production managers 298 49 16.4
Parts salespersons 149 24 16.3
Helpers—production workers 58 9 16.2
Computer hardware engineers 80 13 16.2
Taxi driver and chauffeurs 282 45 16.0
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio
    operators 89 14 15.6
First-line supervisors/managers of police and detectives 103 16 15.5
Radio and telecommunications equipment and
    installers repairers 205 31 15.2
Cleaners of vehicles and equipment 401 60 15.0
Transportation, storage, and distribution managers 249 36 14.6
Coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers
    and repairers 62 9 14.3
Upholsterers 54 8 14.0
Precision instrument and equipment repairers 73 10 13.9
Aerospace engineers 110 14 13.1
Chemical processing machine setters, operators,
    tenders 57 7 13.0
Police and sheriff’s patrol officers 655 84 12.8
Clergy 416 53 12.8
Cost estimators 114 14 12.7
Civil engineers 304 36 11.9
Crushing, grinding, polishing, mixing, and
    blending workers 105 12 11.2
Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood 58 6 10.5
Surveying and mapping technicians 96 10 9.9
Service station attendants 96 9 9.8
Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers 371 36 9.7
Construction and building inspectors 102 9 8.8
Telecommunications line installers and repairers 210 18 8.6
First-line supervisors/managers of mechanics,
    installers, and repairers 357 30 8.5
Computer control programmers and operators 54 4 8.2
First-line supervisors/managers of landscaping,
    lawn service, and grounds keeping workers 235 19 8.0
Construction managers 1,010 79 7.8
Painters, construction and maintenance 713 55 7.7
Electrical and electronics engineers 382 29 7.7
Engineering managers 103 8 7.3
Industrial truck and tractor operators 574 41 7.2
Machinists 415 28 6.7
Railroad conductors and yardmasters 50 3 6.5
Grounds maintenance workers 1,259 78 6.2
Helpers, construction trades 132 8 6.2
Refuse and recyclable material collectors 91 6 6.1
Welding, soldering, and brazing workers 546 32 5.9
Mechanical engineers 322 19 5.8
Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool
     setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic 62 3 5.6
Aircraft mechanics and service technicians 141 7 5.3
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 3,475 181 5.2
Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters 113 5 4.4
Maintenance and repair workers, general 435 17 4.0
Water and liquid waste treatment plant and system
    operators 95 4 4.0
Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics 436 17 3.8
Highway maintenance workers 103 4 3.8
Construction laborers 1,693 63 3.7
Fire fighters 253 9 3.5
Small engine mechanics 61 2 3.4
Sheet metal workers 125 4 3.1
Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers 295 9 2.9
Millwrights 67 2 2.9
Heating, air conditioning, refrigeration mechanics
    and installers 405 11 2.7
Surveying and mapping technicians 95 3 2.7
First-line supervisors/managers of construction
    trades and extraction workers 976 25 2.6
Carpenters 1,843 44 2.4
Carpet, floor, and tile installer and finishers 279 7 2.4
Security and fire alarm systems installers 69 2 2.4
Stationary engineers and boiler operators 94 2 2.3
Aircraft pilots and flight engineers 115 3 2.2
Pest control workers 78 2 2.2
Structural iron and steel workers 59 1 2.2
Electricians 882 17 1.9
Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 662 12 1.8
Operating engineers and other construction equipment
    operators 451 8 1.7
Automotive service technicians and mechanics 875 14 1.6
Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons 244 4 1.6
Crane and tower operators 54 1 1.5
Dredge, excavating, and loading machine operators 63 1 1.5
Home appliance repairers 56 1 1.5
Roofers 242 3 1.4
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians
    and mechanics 237 3 1.4
Electrical power-line installers and repairers 109 1 0.9
Tool and die makers 105 1 0.9
Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 367 3 0.9
Farmers and ranchers 784 6 0.8
Cement masons, concrete finishers, and terrazzo workers 107 1 0.7
Automotive body and related repairers 162 1 0.6
Logging workers 78 2 0.2

1Nontraditional occupations are those in which women comprise 25 percent or less of total employed.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Annual Averages 2006.

Women’s Bureau
March 2007