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Trading a blue collar for pink?

So-called “pink collar” jobs—that is, jobs in fields that have been historically dominated by women—are among some of the fastest-growing and most secure nationwide. Nursing, medical assistant, and nurse aide positions all fall under this umbrella. Traditionally, these jobs have offered lower pay rates and less prestige precisely because they were considered “women’s work”, but times are changing, and the current economic climate may force some blue-collar workers to re-evaluate their role in the labor force.

While some skilled occupations are still in high demand, or hiring is steady because so many experienced workers are retiring, technology and outsourcing are replacing certain subsets of the trades. For instance, coal mining jobs are rapidly disappearing, as are those related to locomotive manufacturing and numerous areas of automobile manufacturing. All of these types of jobs were overwhelmingly held by men, many of whom have no experience in any other industry. The loss of these jobs has left a growing number of men from all age groups who are unemployed with very few chances to continue in the occupations they know and love.

Pink collar jobs would seem to be a logical fit for these unemployed workers, but many of them resist making the change for several reasons:

  • They don’t feel comfortable in female-dominated fields
  • They believe they’ll make less money
  • They think they may find a similar job if they look hard enough

Finding a similar job is an unlikely prospect, and even a man who is lucky enough to find one may have to wait years for it. Most such jobs have a limited lifespan as well, so he would probably find himself facing unemployment again soon after.

The issue of men feeling “unwelcome” in pink collar jobs is not new, but statistics indicate that these occupations have seen an influx of male employees since the year 2000 that has changed the occupational culture somewhat. As more men become a part of this particular workforce, the environment is becoming more appealing to the next generation of male employees.

As for the question of making less money, that may be true—at least at first. However, a comprehensive 2016 research article on men in traditionally pink-collar healthcare jobs indicates that they only start out making less. Unlike their blue-collar peers, whose wages and career paths stay flat, pink-collar men tend to see steady wage growth and career advancement. They’re also less likely to become unemployed. This means that, over time, pink-collar men could conceivably earn more money in more stable jobs than blue-collar men.

If you’re considering a career change that would take you into the ever-expanding healthcare field, Compass Career College in Hammond, Louisiana has several programs that could represent a good fit. Admissions counselors and staff can offer support and advice, even if this career change represents a major life transition for you (such as switching from a blue to a pink collar). Don’t wait to take the next step on the path to career satisfaction and stability; your time and skills are too valuable.

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