Oct 24, 2023 - Economy

Women projected to see bigger tech-driven job losses than men

Middle-wage occupations with largest predicted job losses by 2032
Data: BLS and ThirdWay; Note: Admin assistants does not include legal, medical and executive assistants; Chart: Deena Zaidi/Axios Visuals

Technology will eliminate scores of jobs over the next decade — and two-thirds of those losses will hit jobs currently held by women without college degrees, finds a new report shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: The analysis from left-of-center think tank Third Way paints what it calls a "bleak" future for women without college degrees, i.e., the majority of women in the U.S.

  • Just 39% of women age 25 and up have a bachelor's degree, per the Census.
  • "Opportunity is really shrinking for women without a degree," said Curran McSwigan, a senior economic policy adviser at Third Way who conducted the analysis.

By the numbers: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects which industries are set to shed the most jobs over the next decade — 97% of those jobs are roles that don't require a bachelor's degree.

  • Two-thirds of those jobs are held by women, according to Third Way's analysis, which overlaid the BLS projections with the department's data on gender and occupation.

Zoom in: Third Way calls the jobs going away "middle-wage" occupations — roles that pay between two-thirds and three times the median wage, and allow women to "provide for themselves and their families." Think office clerks, bookkeepers, and administrative assistants.

  • Meanwhile: The occupations that are likely to grow for non-college workers are low-wage positions that pay less than $37,000 a year, like home health aids.
  • Those who have college degrees will capture much of the growth in high-wage work.

Zoom out: For years, a lot of the conversation about the decline in middle-class jobs had to do with men and manufacturing work. The potential women-dominated job losses are an area that's gotten less attention.

  • These are just projections, however. McSwigan pointed to two policy solutions to make the future a bit brighter: Improve the quality of the lower-wage jobs that women might take, and create more paths into male-dominated sectors of the economy that are doing well.

The big picture: The U.S. economy is projected to see overall job growth in the coming decade, per the BLS. But that growth will be slower than in the previous one because of the aging of the American workforce.

  • Technology will drive much of the job growth — and job loss.
  • For example, the shift to online shopping could lead to a loss of 348,000 cashier jobs, according to the BLS — more than any other occupation in the country.
  • However, computer and math occupations are projected to see 15% growth in the coming decade — women currently hold 27% of the jobs in that space.
  • The information security analyst occupation, where women make up only 18% of current roles, is projected to grow 32%.
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