Remember when the recession hit, and so many people lost their jobs?
Right. Remember how more men lost their jobs than women?
Well, panic not: two-thirds of the people hired for new jobs in 2011 were dudes.
At the end of 2009, women made up 49.99% of the workforce– SO close to half! Contrary to what you might believe, though, this surge was not accompanied by the sounds of shattering glass ceilings. The gender difference in employment occurred largely because jobs like construction and finance–mostly men– shut down while jobs like nursing and teaching– mostly women– stayed afloat. And even though they may have made up a large portion of the workforce, women were still making 77 cents on average for every dollar earned by a man.
But enough about the injustices facing female workers. And forget the fact that there are 4.5 unemployed people for every job vacancy in this country. Those things are not nearly as important or interesting as the fact, apparently, that dudes are suddenly taking the most AWFUL jobs– jobs meant for, y’know, women! Like retail!
According to a Moody’s economist quoted by USA Today, being in retail is almost as bad as no job at all: ”Men are taking jobs you wouldn’t think they would… Do you drop out of the labor force or take anything you can?” The qualifier, here, of course, is that these workers are men, so why would they take retail jobs? (No mention of whether or not they have educations, and no perceived weirdness when it’s women who have these gigs.)
But do we even care what kind of job a man has? The economist quoted above seems to think men feel retail is below them, but the statistics could go either way. Men are grabbing these jobs because they’re desperate and this is what’s available, or men are grabbing these jobs because they don’t mind working in a traditionally-female field. Economists are scratching their heads, but maybe that’s because their views are outdated.
I think when men were the major breadwinners in the family, and the family was the epicenter of American society, the job field mattered a lot more. A job was a man’s source of prestige. Men and women today are more interested in following their passions than securing a secure financial future, for better or for worse. Also, many young people are comfortable with a shift in traditional gender roles: fathers who stay home with young children, mothers who bring home the bigger salary. When both adults in a family are breadwinners, the manliness of it is gone, which opens the door for men to work in traditionally female realms, and vice versa.
What do you think? Are retail jobs “below” male workers? Or is the USA Today story non-news?