Study Finds That After a Period of Unemployment, Men Are More Likely to Consider Traditional Female Jobs

Dr. Yavorsky

A new study by Jill Yavorsky of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Janette Dill of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, found that men who previously worked in male-dominated or mixed-gender fields are significantly more likely to transition to female-dominated jobs, for example those in education or administrative fields, following a bout of unemployment.

The researchers found that when men take jobs traditionally held by women, their wages increase, on average, by 4 percent from their previous employment and their occupational prestige also increases. Men who eventually find new employment in male-dominated or mixed-gender fields either maintain past levels or lose ground in these areas, the analysis indicates.

Dr. Yavorsky, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the lead author of the study, explains that “our study suggests that unemployment may act as a shock that encourages men to consider job alternatives that they might not otherwise consider while employed. This is particularly important, given shifting labor market conditions. Over the past several decades, male-dominated jobs, including working-class male-dominated jobs, have been disappearing. We know that the labor market is moving toward many female-dominated jobs, such as those in health care and education.”

Dr. Dill

According to the researchers, there are a variety of possible explanations for why the change to female-dominated work means potential higher wages and increases in occupational prestige for men. During unemployment, men’s searches for female-dominated jobs may be targeted toward upgraded jobs to offset any stigma they may face for entering jobs traditionally thought of as “women’s work.” Additionally, men’s previous experience in male-dominated or mixed-gender jobs may be more highly valued by potential new employers.

Dr. Yavorsky joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2017. She holds bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees from Ohio State University.

Dr. Dill is an associate professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota. She is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois. She earned a master’s degree, a master of public health degree, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The full study, “Unemployment and Men’s Entrance Into Female-Dominated Jobs,” was published in the January 2020 issue of the journal Social Science Research. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply