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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 2007 1
(Numbers in thousands)
 
Employed
Employed
Percent
Occupation
Both Sexes
Female
Female
       
       
       
Dishwashers 281     70     24.8    
Architects, except naval 240     59     24.7    
Computer programmers 526     130     24.7    
Announcers 51     12     24.4    
Cutting workers 94     23     24.4    
Detectives and criminal investigators 135     31     23.2    
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers 891     207     23.2    
Farm, ranch, and other agricultural managers 204     46     22.5    
Engineering technicians, except drafters 420     94     22.4    
Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators,               
    and tenders, metal and plastic 118     25     21.6    
Chemical engineers 75     16     21.2    
Computer software engineers 907     189     20.8    
Chefs and head cooks 345     71     20.6    
Drafters 187     38     20.6    
Supervisors, transportation and material moving workers 225     46     20.3    
First-line supervisors/managers of production and               
    operating workers 941     183     19.4    
Miscellaneous agricultural workers 683     132     19.3    
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 1,877     349     18.6    
Molders and molding machine setters, operators, and tenders,               
    metal and plastic 75     14     18.1    
Coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers               
    and repairers 61     11     17.6    
Industrial engineers, including health and safety 161     28     17.5    
Parts salespersons 132     23     17.4    
Printing machine operators 222     38     17.2    
Transportation, storage, and distribution managers 260     45     17.2    
Chiropractors 62     10     16.8    
Industrial production managers 264     44     16.7    
Baggage porters, bellhops, and concierges 60     10     16.7    
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 333     51     15.4    
Cost estimators 115     18     15.4    
Parking lot attendants 90     14     15.4    
Couriers and messengers 254     38     15.1    
Clergy 422     64     15.1    
Upholsterers 53     8     14.9    
Radio and telecommunications equipment               
    installers and repairers 203     30     14.8    
Network and computer systems administrators 214     31     14.7    
First-line supervisors/managers of police and detectives 116     17     14.5    
Police and sheriff’s patrol officers 669     92     13.7    
Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool               
    setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic 55     7     13.2    
Cleaners of vehicles and equipment 326     42     13    
Precision instrument and equipment repairers 58     7     12.6    
Crushing, grinding, polishing, mixing, and               
    blending workers 118     15     12.5    
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio               
    operators 89     10         11.6    
Civil engineers 382     44     11.5    
Painting workers 193     21     11    
Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers 318     34     10.6    
Aerospace engineers 123     13     10.5    
Surveying and mapping technicians 92     10     10.5    
Engineers, all others 349     35     10    
Construction and building inspectors 107     11     10    
Computer hardware engineers 79     8     9.6    
First-line supervisors/managers of fire fighting               
    and prevention workers 56     5     9.2    
Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood 52     5     9.1    
Computer control programmers and operators 55     5     8.7    
Electrical and electronics engineers 347     30     8.6    
Other installation, maintenance, and repair workers 198     17     8.5    
Construction managers 1,176     95     8.1    
Engineering managers 114     9     8    
Telecommunications line installers and repairers 227     17     7.5    
Mechanical engineers 296     22     7.3    
Service station attendants 90     6     7    
Painters, construction and maintenance 714     49     6.9    
Refuse and recyclable material collectors 79     5     6.4    
Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters 91     6     6.5    
Water and liquid waste treatment plant and system               
    operators 72     4     6.2    
Grounds maintenance workers 1,332     79     5.9    
Industrial truck and tractor operators 571     34     5.9    
First-line supervisors/managers of landscaping,               
    lawn service, and grounds keeping workers 234     14     5.9    
Railroad conductors and yardmasters 53     3     5.9    
Welding, soldering, and brazing workers 577     32     5.6    
Motor vehicle operators, all others 74     4     5.5    
Locomotive engineers and operators 52     3     5.5    
First-line supervisors/managers of mechanics,               
    installers and repairers 330     18     5.4    
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 3,460     183     5.3    
Fire fighters 288     15     5.3    
Machinists 422     22     5.2    
Home appliance repairers 51     2     4.4    
Aircraft pilots and flight engineers 123     5     4.2    
Helpers, construction trades 117     5     4.2    
Pest control workers 77     3     4    
Other extraction workers 50     2     4    
Sheet metal workers 143     5     3.7    
Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers 232     8     3.6    
First-line supervisors/managers of construction               
    trades and extraction workers 918     29     3.2    
Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics 426     14     3.2    
Maintenance and repair workers, general 488     15     3.1    
Construction laborers 1,771     48     2.7    
Operating engineers and other construction equipment 411     11     2.7    
Small engine mechanics 68     2     2.5    
Cement masons, concrete finishers, and terrazzo workers 112     2     2.2    
Miscellaneous vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics,               
    installers and repairers 88     2     2.2    
Dredge, excavating, and loading machine operators 61     1     2.2    
Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers 258     5     2.1    
Aircraft mechanics and service technicians 126     3     2.1    
Tool and die makers 80     2     2    
Carpenters 1,824     35     1.9    
Insulation workers 52     1     1.9    
Electricians 912     15     1.7    
Operating engineers and other construction equipment               
    operators 451     8     1.7    
Automotive body and related repairers 155     2     1.6    
Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 697     10     1.5    
Logging workers 88     1     1.5    
Electrical power-line installers and repairers 103     1     1.4    
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians               
    and mechanics 226     3     1.3    
Stationary engineers and boiler operators 95     1     1.3    
Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons 233     3     1.2    
Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 365     4     1.1    
Heating, air conditioning, refrigeration mechanics               
    and installers 403     4     0.9    
Roofers 269     2     0.9    
Millwrights 75     0.7     0.9    
Automotive service technicians and mechanics 879     6     0.7    
Maintenance workers, machinery 55     0.4     0.7    
Crane and tower operators 61     0.4     0.6    
Plasterers and stucco workers 82     0.5     0.6    
Highway maintenance workers 109     0.5     0.5    
Security and fire alarm systems installers 64     0.3     0.4    
Structural iron and steel workers 88     0.3     0.4    
Electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers 62     0.2     0.3    

11Nontraditional 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 2007.

Women’s Bureau
April 2008