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Economy & Business

Female Employment Strong, but in Few Industries

A Pittsburgh-based study is showing females in the region tend to pursue careers in a select number of fields, while men are represented in more industries.The analysis is part of Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board's (TRWIB)  research on various segments in the labor industry.

The data show Pittsburgh-area women, who make up nearly half the workforce in the region, are employed primarily in the healthcare, retail, education, and hospitality sectors. 

Vera Krofcheck, Director of Strategy and Research for TRWIB said the organization evaluates labor information based on age, demographics and other factors in the on a monthly basis. Krofcheck said they began evaluating gender to better understand what is going on in the labor world.

“We hear a lot about the wage gap between women’s jobs and the jobs held by men, so we understand that, we understand why that’s happening and we’re sort of watching the gap very slowly narrowing,” Krofcheck said. “But, we started to ask the question ‘What is the access to careers in different sectors, and how does that differ for men and for women?’”

TRWIB’s data show women dominate employment in a small number of sectors, while significantly lacking employment in others. Krofcheck said with the data, TRWIB can now explore whether the concentration of female employment is because women are unaware of certain career paths, they simply are not following the educational pathways that lead them into other fields, or because the skills set needed for other careers are “biased.” Krovcheck said there are some actions that can diversify female employment.

"We need to maybe work with girls in high school better, we should have specific programming to where career exploration is specific for girls who would understand better where the choices are," Krofcheck said. "Or, we need employment practices that are more supportive of careers for women."