The Gender Gap in Employment:  A New Twist?

By Dumont Gerken Owen, Ph.D.
NABBW’s Women & Work Expert

The recession has had a devastating effect on salaries and hiring rates for both men and women.  Evidence, however, indicates that the gender gap has extended from a disparity of salaries and advancement to the job search.

According Tony Pugh of McClatchy Newspapers, for every twenty jobs that are filled, only one was by a woman.  This is particularly disturbing as in recent years women have risen to 52% of the job force.  According to Pugh this is not necessarily due only to systemic discrimination against women.

Instead he points out that many of the hardest hit industries following the Great Depression were female-dominated such as teaching, government and social service.  Many of the man-dominated industries such as manufacturing and transportation were hit disproportionally during the same time period.

During the recent recession, the “screw has turned.”   While all industries were affected, many male-dominated industries were the hardest hit by lay offs. These same industries have become the first industries to rebound.

Government (national, state and local), the non-profit sector, teaching and child-care have been much slower in recovery.

Pugh cites Stacy Ethun, president and CEO of MRINetwork who states that two trends limit women’s success with their job search:  Lack of aggressiveness and professional networking.

  • It is true that while some women are lacking in aggressive behavior, many are proactive rather reactive when it comes to promoting themselves to current and future employers.
  • Women are natural networkers with family and friends.  Networking with employers, however, appears to be more of a challenge. This hesitancy to interact for professional reasons can have a negative impact on women.

Please understand that I am not bashing males.  I am simply reporting the facts, as I know them.  I would welcome comments (positive, negative or informative) on this topic.

A Certified Career Management Coach, her mission is to inspire experienced professionals to realize their unique passions and qualifications, and provide them with strength, resources, and strategies to achieve their job search or career transition.

She has a background in recruiting and directing university career centers spanning over 20 years. As with many of her clients, however, she came to a point where the career she had worked so hard to build wasn\’t working for her anymore. It was one of those “aha” moments! Dumont realized that her true passion was using my expertise to help others. That\’s why she started coaching… to assist others in living their true passion!

Learn more about Dumont on her website, Career Windows Online, or contact her directly via email or phone: (216) 321-1268. Dumont lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.