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  1. Blog
  2. Career Development
  3. May 5, 2022

40 Female-Dominated Careers (& What They Pay)

And the reasons gender divides exist

women at work writing on board in a female-dominated career
Photo courtesy of Christina Morillo

Women can do anything, we know that. And we do! Of course, some careers are more female-dominated than others. If that’s what you’re looking for, we pulled some of the most women-dominated jobs as of 2021 and what they pay, on average. 

But first, why are some industries so appealing to women? And some still so popular with men? 

Why certain careers are “women-dominated” 

There are tons of studies trying to nail down the specifics as to why men and women still tend to choose different industries. 

There’s the historic reason: Some industries—child care, education, nursing—have always been more populated with women due largely in part to sexism relegating women to gender-specific roles, with women as the caretakers. While that is changing, it’s not changing quickly. 

Studies suggest that jobs associated with higher risk (construction, manufacturing) appeal more to men because women aren’t as willing to risk their lives to make a living. Other experts have said women tend to avoid male-dominated industries so they can avoid the gender-related harassment that can come with them. And sometimes the occupations that appeal to women tend to offer a better work-life balance than those that attract more men, a perk necessary because women often do more child-rearing, household chores, and unpaid labor than their significant others. 

We know not everyone will have the same decision-making process for picking the industry they work in. Whatever the reason, the split is a factor in the gender pay gap, since a lot of popular female-dominated careers pay less than jobs and industries dominated by men.

Women-dominated careers and the gender pay gap 

It’s called occupational sorting—women dominate employment in an industry that pays less than the average salary, further driving a difference in average pay between men and women. You’ll hear arguments that this is the main reason for the gender pay gap—but men in women-dominated industries still often make more money than women in women-dominated industries. (We break down the details on occupational sorting here.)

As of 2020, only 6.5 percent of women worked in male-dominated industries (industries with no more than 25 percent women). Those areas include finance, IT, mechanical engineering, and construction. The percentage of women in those fields has not moved up much in the past few years. But what has grown is the number of women in management in male-dominated industries. Yearly growth of women in these roles rose to 6.9 percent from 2016 to 2021, up from 3.8 percent the five years’ prior. Women now hold 14 percent of these positions, up from 8 percent in 2010. Slow progress, but progress. 

Of course, career satisfaction is the goal. No matter if your ideal industry has more men or women, go for what you want! For those who are looking for predominantly female roles, let’s take a look at 40 women-dominated careers and what they pay. 

Read more: What’s a Good Salary? 

40 women-dominated careers and their salaries

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics frequently compiles information on the U.S. workforce. Based on 2021 data, here are some of the careers where women are the majority (and the percentage of women workers in those careers), plus the jobs’ average salary. 

Women-dominated careers in medicine and health: 

Speech-language pathologists, 95.1%; $85,820

Dental hygienists, 95.1%; $81,360

Phlebotomists, 90.6%; $38,450

Dietitians and nutritionists, 89.6%; $65,620

Nurse practitioners, 87.4%; $118,040

Therapists, 87.1%; $84,080

Home health aides, 87.0%; $29,260

Registered nurses, 86.7%; $82,750

Occupational therapists, 84.9%; $89,470

Social workers, 83.6%; $57,880

Pharmacy technicians, 78.4%; $37,970

Mental health counselors, 75.6%; $53,490

Women-dominated careers in business and the office: 

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants, 96.4%; $66,870

Receptionists and information clerks, 90.0%; $32,910

Office clerks, general, 83.6%; $38,990

Meeting, convention, and event planners, 82.1%; $57,850

Human resources managers, 80.8%; $136,590

Data entry keyers, 76.2%; $35,940

Women-dominated careers related to money: 

Payroll and timekeeping clerks, 86.7%; $49,560

Bookkeeping, accounting, auditing clerks, 84.7%; $45,140

Tellers, 76.1%; $34,930

Women-dominated careers in wellness, fitness, and beauty industries:  

Skincare specialists, 98.2%; $41,700

Hairdressers, hair stylists, cosmetologists, 92.4%; $35,990

Massage therapists, 83.5%; $49,260

Manicurists and pedicurists, 83.0%; $30,480

Women-dominated careers in education and child-related services: 

Preschool and kindergarten teachers, 96.8%; $43,060

Child care workers, 94.6%; $27,680

School psychologists, 90.4%; $82,770

Child, family, and school social workers, 86.8%; $54,880

Special education teachers, 82.8%; $68,880

Librarians and media collections specialists, 79.9%; $64,180

Elementary and middle school teachers, 79.2%; $67,030

Educational, guidance, career counselors and advisors, 76.5%; $63,090

Women-dominated careers in creative industries: 

Tailors, dressmakers, and sewers, 86.5%; $34,630

Interior designers, 83.8%; $62,570

Floral designers, 76.8%; $32,100

More women-dominated careers: 

Paralegals and legal assistants, 84.8%; $58,330

Hosts and hostesses, restaurants, lounges, and coffee shops, 84.3%; $26,000

Library assistants, clerical, 84.2%; $32,490

Interpreters and translators, 73.4%; $58,400

Read more: How to Get a Job After College

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Photo of Kerri Shannon

Kerri Shannon

Contributor

Kerri Shannon is a freelance writer and consultant. She writes about everything from career guidance and stocks to comedy and reality television. She has a master's degree in professional writing and is published in an essay collection of business women's letters to their younger selves. 

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