Nontraditional Employment for Women

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There are over 200 nontraditional occupations in California. Women make up 25 percent or less of the workforce for these jobs. They typically have a higher rate of pay than jobs traditionally held by women.

What is a Nontraditional Job?

Today, women in California can hold any job. However, it is not always the case that they do. There are over 200 occupations in California where women comprise 25 percent or less of total employment. Although many of these nontraditional jobs are in the construction and manufacturing industries, the reality is nontraditional occupations span all major occupational groups. And these nontraditional jobs are often skilled or technical and typically have a higher rate of pay than jobs traditionally held by women.

Women are free to follow their own personal needs, interests, aptitudes, and values as they look into the diverse job opportunities of the future. However, the considerably higher pay for nontraditional occupations can help women to:

  • Attain economic self-sufficiency.
  • Support their families.
  • Build assets.

Here's a sampling of nontraditional occupations in California, based on the latest data from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, with a good employment outlook (900 or more openings per year through 2016) and a 2009 median hourly wage of $15.00 or more. These data are sorted by the Average Annual Openings in descending order.

Occupation Title SOC Code (1) Average Annual Openings (2) Median Hourly Wage (3) Education and Training Level (4)
Carpenters 47-2031 5,410 $24.92 12-Month OJT (9)
Construction Laborers 47-2061 4,140 $16.65 1-12 Month OJT (10)
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics 49-3023 2,700 $19.21 Post-Secondary Voc-Ed (7)
Electricians 47-2111 2,460 $25.63 12-Month OJT (9)
Painters, Construction and Maintenance 47-2141 2,330 $18.98 1-12 Month OJT (10)
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers 47-1011 2,240 $34.25 Work Experience (8)
Maintenance and Repair Workers, General 49-9042 1,960 $18.30 12-Month OJT (9)
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 15-1071 1,720 $36.65 BA/BS Degree (5)
Construction Managers 11-9021 1,540 $48.72 BA/BS Degree (5)
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers 49-1011 1,530 $31.13 Work Experience (8)
Fire Fighters 33-2011 1,460 $30.35 12-Month OJT (9)
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Production and Operating Workers 51-1011 1,420 $25.54 Work Experience (8)
Civil Engineers 17-2051 1,410 $41.46 BA/BS Degree (5)
Engineering Managers 11-9041 1,120 $63.50 BA/BS + Experience (4)
Cost Estimators 13-1051 1,090 $31.43 BA/BS Degree (5)
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists 49-3031 990 $22.21 Post-Secondary Voc-Ed (7)
Roofers 47-2181 970 $22.09 1-12 Month OJT (10)

(1) SOC CodeStandard Occupational Classification code.

(2) Average Annual Openings – The total of projected new jobs and net replacements per year from the 2006-2016 Projections of Employment by Occupation for California.

(3) Median Hourly Wage – The hourly income where half of the workers make more and half make less. Source:  The Occupational Employment Statistics survey of wages by occupation for 2009, first quarter.

(4) Education and Training Level – Developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the level reflects the manner in which most workers become proficient in that occupation and the preferences of most employers.  See the BLS Training Level Definitions for more information.

Nontraditional Employment Data

Some provisions of the federal Workforce Investment Act require a program focus on nontraditional occupations. Programs aimed at strengthening the self-sufficiency of female welfare recipients are also emphasizing nontraditional jobs, which tend to offer higher wages and benefits than the female-dominated occupations, such as, child care workers, typists, maids and housekeepers, and general office clerks.

Data extracted from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, Equal Employment Opportunity file for California are used to determine if an occupation is nontraditional.

California 2000 Labor Force by Gender for Detailed Occupations (Excel format)

Within this Excel file, there are two worksheets:

  • Sorted by Percent Female – sorted by the percent of females for the occupation in ascending order (from zero to 100%)
  • Sorted by SOC – sorted by the Standard Occupation Classification code

Occupations that have less than 25 percent female are highlighted in yellow. The number in parenthesis after the occupational title is the Census Bureau Occupation code. The Standard Occupational Code is in a separate column following the occupation title. The universe for these data is the civilian labor force.

Data for the United States are available from the 2007 Current Population Survey at the U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau Web site.

Additional Resources

There are many resources on nontraditional jobs for women including: