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Secretary still most common job for women

U.S. Census says the top five jobs for women are the same today as they were in 1950s; secretary tops the list.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Feb 7, 2013 11:08PM

We’re sorry, ladies. When it comes to top jobs for women, we haven’t made much progress since the ‘50s.

Jobs as secretaries, bank tellers or clerical workers, sales clerks, private household workers and teachers reigned supreme in the ‘50s – and they still do, reports The Week.

Photo: Admin is still top job for women / Jamie Grill/Getty ImagesAt that time, roughly 1.7 million women held positions as stenographers, typists or secretaries, cites the U.S. Census Bureau. It was a easy for women to have a full-time career and succeed without the commitment of a college degree. Simply attend a secretarial school, get the necessary training and women could start on a professional path.

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Flash forward to 2010 and secretaries and administrative assistants position still hold the No. 1 position. Believe it or not, more than four million workers made up this category between 2006 and 2010.

This career isn’t going anywhere either. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects close to a half-million new administrative assistant positions by 2020 or 12 perfect growth.

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"Every time a major new technology showed up, there were always predictions that this would spell the end of secretaries," Ray Weikal, spokesman for the International Association of Administrative Professionals told CNN Money. "You saw that with the development of electric typewriters, the personal computer and the internet, but every time technology gets more efficient, the amount of business increases. You continue to need people who can use those tools."

In the category of administrative assistants, women outnumber men more than 20 to 1, but still earn less than their male counterparts. Full-time female secretaries and administrative assistants earned an average salary of $34,304 in 2010, while men earned $39,641.

Bing: Best-paying jobs for women

"The good news is over the past 40 years, there are very few jobs in which women have not broken through," Cindia Cameron, organizing director at 9to5, National Association of Working Women told CNN Money. "The glass ceiling is cracking in all different directions, but the bad news is, there is still a sticky floor. Most women still work in traditionally female jobs, like administrative support."

Why do you think secretary is still the top job for women?

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Photo: Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Mar 1, 2013 2:50PM

um well, i'm not a woman- but i really question this report...for one i work for a woman today...she is the boss...and a good one too...number two, back in the 50's the number one job for a woman was house-wife....my question is what is so wrong with being a secretary, or bank teller? i would say there are more ladies doing that cause there are more jobs like that out there...there is usually only one CEO for a company and a bunch of employee's...my point is...it sounds like the info in the report is purposefully mis leading...don't know why... i love the fact woman are being empowered- but i can't stand when emotional arguments replace facts and are used like pawns to put a gap between us:)


Mar 1, 2013 2:46PM
Hey, at least the women feel better about their secretary jobs, calling them 'administrative assistants'.
Mar 1, 2013 1:36PM

I really don't understand why it's shameful to hold these positions as secretary or any of the other "stereotypical female jobs." Personally, I think those "stereotypical female jobs" are actually the most important in our businesses and community. We call our secretary the "director of first impressions," and even the partner of the firm has admitted that she has the most important job in the entire building.

It's almost like they're putting down those women who hold those jobs, as if they are selling themselves short or are being held down by "the man" to achieve their dreams of being a corporate shark. What if their dreams aren't to become a corporate shark? Not that every woman should, but what's wrong with being a stay at home mom, if that's their greatest dream and aspiration (THE most important job in the WORLD if I may add).

Life isn't about moving up the corporate ladder, or proving that one gender is just as good or better than the other. Personally, I consider the latter mindset to be very adolescent. Life is about doing everything you can to better your family, no matter what it takes. If more emphasis was placed on family rather than personal achievement through statuses and careers, then a lot of things would improve. Children would not feel abandoned and then go off and bully other kids, or come up with crazy ideas like to shoot up a school.

If we want to change something, we should focus more on the family. Honor the women who can hold a job and provide emotional support for their family. Encourage the fathers to be men to be actual men and stand up in the father role so that women don't feel this need to fend for themselves. It wasn't supposed to be like that.

So, to all of the corporate women out there, I commend you and your efforts to break so many barriers. You are reshaping America and have brought encouragement to so many other women out there. To all of the women in the "stereotypical female jobs," keep up the good work. Your job is not just stereotypical, but an intrical part of the community, business, and family. And to those women who are stay-at-home moms, I would consider you the bravest. Most people would say that you are belittling yourself just staying home and raising the kids, that you should go out and make a career and name for yourself. Instead, you have decided to put your family first, take on the full time job at raising your kids and making sure they know right from wrong, that they respect authority, and they grow up strong and wise. And that's the most important job in the world. Everyone, keep up the good work.

Now I will wait to write a similar response when there is a national men's history month.

We have come a long way and we are still moving forward. There isn't much that a woman can't do, unfortunately pay rates don't keep up with ability. When we as women get ready to collect our Social Security we find out just how bad the amount we earn hurts us. The guy next to me makes about three thousand more than I do annually. So he will collect more social security than I do and I have had to bail him out at least a dozen times in the past ten years. I do the job better and save the company tons of money but that doesn't seem to matter to the bottom line. In years past when computers first came out I hopped on board and learned all there was to know about them at the time. I was so good at what I did that I worked myself out of a job three different times. I created programs that allowed the company to cut down to part time workers to do what I did everyday. I was too smart for my own good. One company I worked for only needs someone once a week to work my program for the company. But do you think I earned a penny for it? Not on your life I was let go because there was no more need for me full time in my position. This happens to women quite a lot. Yeah, I'm smart but what good does it do me if I can't keep a job? Women are cracking the glass ceiling alright and its falling all over us.
Mar 1, 2013 9:46AM
Women's History Month? What's going to be next: Turd History Month?
Feb 27, 2013 5:37AM
Because men don't want it and won't do it and women are good at it.  Pretty simple really.
Feb 27, 2013 3:52AM
It appears we haven't come a long way, baby.  I work in law and the only change I see is that there are more males working as "legal assistants", formerly known as legal secretaries.  None of the guys I know doing this work would ever allow himself to be called a legal secretary.  Different name - same old sh*t.
Feb 27, 2013 12:27AM
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