Will working class men go into jobs mostly done by women?

By Janette Dill

The election of Donald Trump has brought attention to a group of voters that helped to bring him into office: the working class, and especially working class men. The shift from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy, referred to as the New Economy, has been a difficult transition for working class men: the percentage of men working in manufacturing and production jobs – jobs that used to be “good jobs” for men without a college degree – has declined by over 50% since the 1970s, and men’s wages have also dropped over the same time period. Working class men’s support for Donald Trump, who has promised a return of the manufacturing economy, shows their frustration with the labor market and their careers.construction-worker_1-24-17

As male-dominated manufacturing and production jobs have declined, there has been a concurrent rise in demand for many female-dominated occupations, such as nursing assistants, home health aides, and child care workers. However, few working class men are entering these female-dominated occupations, despite high demand for these workers. Why? A recent article in the New York Times explored this issue, asking why men don’t want to do work that is mostly done by women. The article primarily focuses on the masculine identity; men don’t want to do jobs that require doing tasks that are associated with femaleness, such as caring for an elderly person or child. Indeed, the swagger and machismo of Donald Trump promises not only a return of men’s manufacturing jobs, but a return of the working class masculine identity. Continue reading “Will working class men go into jobs mostly done by women?”

Does it Cost Men to Care?

By Janette Dill, Kim Price-Glynn, and Carter Rakovski *

Occupations that have a large percentage of female workers – what we call feminized occupations – typically pay less than occupations with a predominately male workforce, even when the jobs require similar skill sets or education. And feminized occupations that require providing care for other people, called care work, are even more devalued. On the other hand, when men enter feminized occupations, past research has shown that they often experience a “glass escalator” effect, which raises their wages and opportunities for promotion as compared to their female counterparts. We were curious about what happens when men enter a feminized care work occupation. We know that care work occupations are devalued, which would lead us to expect that men working in care work occupations would make lower wages as compared to men in other occupations. However, men may enjoy the benefits of the “glass escalator” in feminized care work occupations, which may help to compensate for the devaluation of care work and boost their wages. Continue reading “Does it Cost Men to Care?”