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Career Corner
It's Raining Men In the Job Market
Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The job market gender scale is tipping toward the male side as they are now making up two-thirds of the private-sector jobs being created. With the economy still pulling itself out of the mud of the recession it has flipped the long-standing trend of the U.S. coming close to having a female dominated workforce in the process.

Economists are pointing out the important factor that that men have increased their presence in the retail industry which is typically female-oriented. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, close to 1.28 million men took on jobs in the 12 months ending in November while women gained 600,000.

These men are spreading out into other industries previously lacking in male workers such as service and good-producing. Interestingly, not much of a dent has been made to the labor industries, like construction, which are primarily male-dominated.

The one sector that men did not show an increase in was government jobs where women add jobs while men lost them during the study period. In healthcare, education, and professional and business services men were filling open positions at a faster rate than women.

Even though this study shows that men are making their way back up the recession ladder over women, their group was hit harder by the recession effects. Men lost 71% of of the 7.5 million jobs that disappeared from June through December 2009. Retailers have added 216,000 men as opposed to just 9,000 women and manufacturers have added 250,000 men while cutting 33,000 women.

Another reason speculated for the increase is the inevitable expiration date of unemployment benefits causing men to take whatever job options they can get. Despite the hiring spurt, there are stil 4.5 times more unemployed people than U.S. job openings, according to economist Ryan Sweet of Moody's Analytics.

Women, however, are not just dropping out of the workforce and into oblivion. In fact, the presence of young women has moved its dominance into classrooms. What we're seeing now is that while young women are taking the economic doldrums as an opportunity to upgrade their skills, their counterparts are seizing their chances of taking whatever jobs they can get. This offset isn't expected to last for long, though. Later generations of women may use this to their advantage over men whose careers options are curretly stifled.

To this day women are still making substantially less than men (roughly .77 cents to the male dollar) and as a result many feel that they need more education in order to compete. According to the Labor Department, within the two and a half years the recession has been making its recovery men in the 16-24 age group have gained 178,000 jobs while women in the same group actually lost 255,000 positions. Faced with a dismal outlook for job prospects 412,000 women have been discouraged from finding work at all.

Some studies suggest that women are choosier than men about which jobs they'll take. With the ratio of pay already lower than men, women are more unwilling to work when wages are even less. Government data on how Americans spend their time shows that they are also more reluctant to work night or weekend shifts due to more family responsibilities. Many of the more preferred jobs have become harder to obtain and men are showing to be more willing to take what's available while women continue their job search elsewhere.

Many of the occupations expected to have the most growth have traditionally been filled by women like home health aides and dental hygienists. This issue, however, isn't about men not being able to take these positions but them wanting to. The mainstream attitude nowadays is that girls are more encouraged do anything and go into any career whereas their male counterparts are still held to certain career expectations.

Jobs in the male-dominated manufacturing and manual labor industries remain in their decline being that when youthful strength wears out so does maintaining those jobs. The economy in its current state leaves many manufacturing workers without pensions to keep them going when their bodies give out.

It's no surprise that with the economy not fully out of the woods yet women are amping up their education. But the question on many people's minds is why aren't men following suit? Well, the answer is nearly a given. Since the economy is in such poor shape, education costs--and loans--are no more appealing. So what does all of this mean?

Right now men are getting jobs that used to be more women-dominated due to fewer women competing for those positions. As such, more women are taking to the classrooms as an alternative to the bleak opportunities and inadequate pay. What this also tells us that later on is that more of these better educated and trained women will fare as tough contenders in future economic climates as men take their chances in the present to get by.
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