Men Burst Into Pink Collar Industries

Posted June 8, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Leaders We Adore

You’ve heard of white collar workers, right? And sure enough we’ve all met blue collar workers. But what about pink collar workers? A new term that’s floating around the business world describing traditionally female professions or fields. A quick Google search tells us that pink collar jobs are jobs like teachers, nurses, nannies, flight attendants, administrative assistants, florists, and cosmetologists. But a new phenomena is happening in these pink collar industries. More and more men are entering historically female dominated fields.

In the New York Times article “More Men Enter Fields Dominated by Women,” writers Shaila Dewan and Robert Gebeloff tell us, “An analysis of census data by The New York Times shows that from 2000 to 2010, occupations that are more than 70 percent female accounted for almost a third of all job growth for men, double the share of the previous decade. “

Now your first instinct may be to feel glad for these men, good for them for wanting to be a nurse or a nanny or a flight attendant. If women want to enter traditionally male dominated fields, then men should have the same opportunity in female dominated fields, right? Unfortunately, this comparison isn’t entirely true. Because while women bang their heads against walls trying to get ahead in male-dominated industries like engineering, IT, construction, and more, men who are entering the pink collar industries actually see incredible succeed, and quickly. Dewan and Gebeloff tell us, “Men earn more than women even in female-dominated jobs. And white men in particular who enter those fields easily move up to supervisory positions, a phenomenon known as the glass escalator — as opposed to the glass ceiling that women encounter in male-dominated professions.”

Without going the direction of “man-hating,” the question must be asked. How do women feel about men taking jobs increasingly and leadership positions more quickly than women in traditionally pink collar industries and professions? Is the inclusion of men in these areas making equality more visible, despite some lingering salary discrepancies? Or are we just risking losing more jobs to the men who make more money than we do?

Weigh in. What do you think on this controversial topic of the “pink collar” worker and specifically pink collar men?


About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."