Same as it was in 1950.
Which, I have to admit, was a bit of a bummer to read.
With so few options available to women in the fifties the popularity of being a secretary certainly makes sense. But now? Still? In 2013? Yep.
According to the latest U.S. Census data available, out of the roughly 4 million secretaries and administrative assistants in the United States between 2006 and 2010, 96 percent of them were women.
So why is being a secretary still so popular? As Danna Greenberg, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Babson College in Boston, tells Yahoo! Shine, “The most significant issue has to do with young women, women reentering the workforce, and women in career transitions still getting the advice that the best entry into a field is through an administrative position…We would never tell a 21-year-old male college grad that the way into a job is to start in an administrative position. But we’re still, unfortunately, in this country, still stereotyping it as a fashionable place for women to start. And data shows that women don’t traditionally transition out of administration positions into more white-collar work.”
Another reason women are still cornering the secretarial market? Well, as Yahoo! Shine explains, back in the fifties and sixties women weren’t allowed to rise the ranks so secretary work was where they started and ended. Now, as Amy Richards, co-author of “Mainfesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future,” told Forbes, “The next barrier, which is where we’re stuck—and have been for the past 30 years—is the accepted idea that women really value their home lives more than their corporate lives. That they care more about work-life balance than their careers.”
Translation: Whether you’re a graduate, returning to work after being a stay-at-home mom or changing careers, don’t settle for administrative assistant if you can help it. Take a cue from Mad Men’s Peggy Olson and, if you do accept the position to get your foot in the door, make sure you have your eye on the next position up the employee food chain. Unless you’re happy with what you’re doing. Contrary to popular belief, secretarial work is in no danger of going anywhere. The U.S. Labor department predicts that secretarial and office administration jobs will grow as much as 12 percent by 2020.
We’re still earning less than men, though. Even in a field dominated by women. Full-time female secretaries and administrative assistants earned an average salary of $34,304 in 2010.
Here are the top 5 most common jobs for women then and now, according to the latest U.S. Census data:
3. Elementary and Middle School Teacher
5. Nursing Aide
2. Bank teller, dispatcher, clerical worker
3. Sales Clerk
4. Private Household Worker
Sixty years is a long time but no so much has changed.
You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who. Read more from Monica on Babble:
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- 2012 In Photos: You Don’t Need A Pro or An Expensive Camera To Get Awesome Photos of Your Family