Women Laid Off, Workers Sped Up: Uncovering Clue to Gendered Recovery

July 28, 2011

Key findings:

  • When analyzed by occupation, much of women’s disproportionate job loss can be explained by the jobs cut in the category “office and administrative support occupations.”
  • In this category, women have lost a total of 925,000 jobs while men have gained 204,000. Women represent 75% of the nearly 17.6 million jobs in this occupation.
  • A compelling explanation for this new phenomenon is the fact that American workers are being asked to take on more duties without pay increases. Companies are laying off support staff and simply distributing their work to others.
  • While there may be long-term shifts taking place in the kind of work these positions will entail, in the short-term much more robust job creation is needed to help women maintain their support jobs.

This paper responds to the question raised by recent research from the Pew Research Center: Why are women losing jobs across virtually all private-sector industries while men are making minimal gains? A big clue can be found by looking at the specific types of jobs women are losing, mainly in administrative support roles.