Top Job for Women--Same as 60 Years Ago

RENO, Nev. -- A surprising statistic from the U.S Census suggests that the most common job for women in the United States is the same as it was in the 1950s: a secretary. It's even projected that about 500,000 more administrative jobs will be filled by women by the year 2020. After 60 years, the perception of women in the work field is still mixed.

Kelly Wilson is an office manager, an assistant and a decision-maker. She is the first and last person you see when you walk through the doctor's door, but sometimes she still feels unnoticed.

"[Patients] look at people who answer the phone, the person who greets people as they walk in as someone who isn't as important as someone behind the scenes," she said. "I know I do a good job, I know i'm more capable than they think I am, I have people who come in who love me that see me not the doctor."

The title of 'secretary' has evolved into much more than just a typist or coffee-runner. Women's Studies professor Jen Hill says that its job description is too broad.

"What's shocking isn't that so many people work in an administrative positions but that they are undervalued," she said.

Wilson says the job isn't cut out for everyone. It requires a certain skill set like multi-tasking or being good with people.

Full-time female secretaries earn about $30,000, while men in the same profession earn about $5,000 more.

According to the U.S Census, more women are earning college degrees than men, but they are still earning $8000 less than them after graduation.

Even with the advance in technology, the most popular jobs being added to the economy currently require less skills and are pay much less, according to Hill.

"There is a great need for people to manage this immense flow on information and that actually all this technology does is make people more efficient workers, but it just means there is more work to do," Hill said.

Wilson graduated from the college with a degree in education, but had other priorities that took precedence, like having a family, which requires more flexibility.

"I love my job, I'm happy with my job. If people want to look at me as just a secretary, go ahead," she said. "I know I'm more."

The second most common job for women is cashier and the third is elementary and middle school teacher.


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