Why More Men Aren’t Applying for ‘Pink-Collar’ Jobs

It has a lot to do with stereotypes.

By Alexandra HartJanuary 24, 2017 3:43 pm

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing job markets in the United States today. But men aren’t pursuing many of what are known as “pink-collar” jobs, like nursing. One study found that part of the reason may be that the language used in job listings may be too feminine by societally traditional standards.

The company Textio analyzed job listings across industries to figure out which words attracted either a large number of men, a large number of women, or a relatively even number of both.

Claire Cain Miller with the New York Times’ The Upshot says the study found that words like “sympathetic” and “caring” attracted more women and descriptors like “rockstar” and “world-class” attracted more men.

Textio recommends replacing what society sees as gendered words like “rockstar” with a more gender-neutral word like “extraordinary.”

Part of the problem is that work done predominantly by women tends to pay less, Miller says, and men can be tied up in traditional masculinity and don’t want to take what’s seen as a woman’s job. When men do enter a field, the overall pay tends to go up, Miller says.

“I do think it has a lot to do with stereotypes. People don’t realize they’re doing this, employers don’t mean to write sexist job listings, and I doubt that workers are looking for these sort of code words when they’re looking for a job,” Miller says. “But something about the stereotypes we’re raised with – that women are supposed to be caring, that men are supposed to be tough, ends up attracting different people.”

Some words found in job postings that predominantly attract women:

– sympathetic
– care
– fosters
– empathy
– families

Some words found in job postings that predominantly attract men:

– manage
– forces
– exceptional
– proven
– superior

Written by Beth Cortez-Neavel.