Nearly 4.5 million North Carolinians age 16 and older reported working in the 2013 American Community Survey. Of these, nearly three quarters, or 3.3 million, were of prime working age (25-64) and working full-time (defined here as 30 hours of work per week or more). Women made up 46% of North Carolina’s full-time employed population of prime working age. Although many occupations are increasingly integrated with respect to sex composition, a large number of occupations remain highly dominated by either men or women.
Writing about gender segregation for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, researchers Ariane Hegewisch, Hannah Liepmann, Jeffrey Hayes, and Heidi Hartmann note:
Occupational segregation matters because there is considerable research suggesting that occupational choice is often constrained, by socialization, lack of information, or more direct barriers to entry to training or work in occupations where one sex is a small minority of the workforce. This leads not only to sub-optimal outcomes for individual workers, but also reduces overall productivity and economic growth as employers have to select workers from a smaller and less motivated pool of workers.
In 2013, 41% of male full-time workers ages 25-64 were employed in occupations where women comprised less than 1 of every 5 workers. Conversely, 40% of female full-time workers ages 25-64 were employed in occupations where men made up less than 20% of all workers.
With one exception, the top 5 jobs for men and women are distinct. Nearly 76,000 men – 6% of full-time male workers ages 25-64 – were employed as truck drivers in 2013, the leading occupation for NC men. Only 6% of truck drivers were female. Among women, the leading occupation in 2013 was elementary and middle school teacher. There were nearly 72,000 women working as elementary and middle school teachers, 5% of all full-time female workers ages 25-64. This occupation was 82% female.
The only overlap in the top five occupations held by men and women in 2013 was first-line supervisor of retail sales workers, #3 for men and #5 for women. With 48% of these jobs held by women, the sex distribution of this job was nearly equal to the sex distribution of the labor force. With the exception of retail salespersons (#5 for men), the remainder of the top 5 jobs for both sexes tend to be dominated by either men or women.
Among occupations with 10,000 or more workers in 2013, there were 15 that were heavily male-dominated, meaning 90% or more of full-time workers ages 25-64 were men. All of the state’s 19,000 full-time electricians in 2013 were male according to the American Community Survey estimates. The largest male-dominated occupation was truck driving, the leading occupation for full-time male workers in 2013. Nearly 76,000 of the state’s 80,000 truck drivers were men.
Nine occupations were female-dominated in 2013, meaning 90% or more of full-time workers ages 25-64 were women. The highest concentration of female workers in 2013 was among preschool and kindergarten teachers. All but 138 of the state’s nearly 15,000 full-time preschool and kindergarten teachers ages 25-64 were women in 2013. Two female-dominated occupations were among the top 5 occupations for all women in 2013: registered nurses (69,300 women employed of 75,150 total employees) and secretaries and administrative assistants (67,800 female employees of 70,730 total employees).