Between 2015 and 2019, the total American workforce grew by about 8.7 million workers, with 4.4. million women and 4.3 million men securing employment. Though female and male workers joined the workforce at almost equal rates, certain jobs have seen huge increases in female employment specifically, allowing for further opportunities for women to more easily cover their expenses and meet their savings goals.
In this study, we investigated the fastest-growing jobs for women in America. We used Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to rank the four-year percentage growth by occupation from 2015 to 2019, the most recent year for which detailed occupational employment data is available. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAsset’s second annual study on the fastest-growing jobs for women in America. Check out the 2019 version here.
- Women are moving into historically male-dominated jobs. In three of the top 10 fastest-growing jobs for women, less than one in roughly 15 workers in 2015 were women. These occupations include construction managers, construction and maintenance painters and construction laborers. Though all three occupations saw increases of more than 50% in female workers from 2015 to 2019, they remain male-dominated. In 2019, 90.0% of construction managers were men. Furthermore, 91.1% of construction and maintenance painters were men and 96.5% of construction laborers were men.
- COVID-19 has negatively impacted female employment. Some jobs at the top of our list may experience contractions in female employment due to the pandemic. Four of the top 10 fastest-growing jobs for women – physician assistants and construction managers, painters and laborers – fall into healthcare & social assistance and construction, which are two of the industries that have shed the most jobs during COVID-19.
1. Couriers and messengers
In last year’s edition of this study, couriers and messengers ranked as the fourth-fastest growing job for women. This year, it skipped to the No. 1 spot, with the percentage of women employed in the job increasing by close to 148% between 2015 and 2019. Specifically, in 2015, there were roughly 33,600 women employed as couriers and messengers and in 2019, there were about 83,200.
The increase in female couriers and messengers over this four-year period exceeds the occupation’s overall growth. As a result, women constitute a larger percentage of couriers and messengers in 2019 than they did in 2015. In 2015, less than 15% of couriers and messengers were women, but 2019 BLS data shows that more than one in five couriers and messengers – 20.7% to be more precise – are women.
2. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs have become an increasingly popular job over the past several years. According to BLS data, between 2015 and 2019, the total number of taxi drivers and chauffeurs – both men and women – grew by about 77%. Much of that growth was due to the addition of many women taxi drivers and chauffeurs. In 2015, there were roughly 65,100 female taxi drivers and chauffeurs. In 2019, there were more than 132,700.
3. Construction managers
There were about 50,000 more female construction managers in the U.S. in 2019 than there were in 2015, with the number of women construction managers growing by more than 101% over that time. This outpaces the overall growth of the occupation by roughly 66 percentage points. Between 2015 and 2019, the overall occupation’s employment increase was approximately 35%.
4. Physician assistants
Of the top 10 fastest-growing jobs for women, the occupation of physician assistants is one of the highest-paying. According to May 2019 BLS data, the median annual wage for physician assistants is about $112,300. Additionally, physician assistants is predicted to be one of the fastest-growing occupations over the coming 10 years.
Potentially enticed by high salaries and the growing market more generally, many women have joined this occupation in recent years. Between 2015 and 2019, the number of women employed as physician assistants grew by about 39,000.
5. Construction and maintenance painters
Historically, the occupation of construction and maintenance painters has been predominantly male. However, more women are now joining the occupation. In 2015, there were a total of about 32,600 female construction and maintenance painters in the U.S. By 2019, that figure was about 64% higher, at roughly 53,300.
6. Environmental scientists and geoscientists
The occupation of environmental scientists and geoscientists is one of the smallest on our list, though it has grown recently. Between 2015 and 2019, the total number of environmental scientists and geoscientists in the U.S. grew from about 92,000 to roughly 119,000, an increase of about 29%. The number of women environmental scientists and geoscientists grew by about 14,000, or a percentage increase of 55%, over the same period.
7. Construction laborers (Tie)
Construction laborers ties with network and computer systems administrators as the seventh-fastest-growing job for women in the U.S. The number of women construction laborers increased by 50% between 2015 and 2019. As a result of that growth, women made up 3.5% of the occupation in 2019, 0.6 percentage points higher than their representation in 2015.
7. Network and computer systems administrators (Tie)
The total number of network and computer systems administrators decreased between 2015 and 2019 by roughly 9%. Despite this overarching contraction, female employment in the occupation rose during the same four-year period. In 2015, there were about 34,700 women network and computer systems administrators, and in 2019, there were about 51,900.
9. Compliance officers (Tie)
In 2015, the occupation of compliance officers was almost evenly split between men and women, with women comprising 49.0% of the total. Between 2015 and 2019, the number of women employed as compliance officers increased by 47%, compared to an overall occupation growth of 21%. As a result, 2019 BLS data shows that roughly 60% of compliance officers in the U.S. are women.
9. Vehicles and equipment cleaners (Tie)
The occupation of vehicles and equipment cleaners rounds out our list of the top 10 fastest-growing jobs for women in the U.S. Between 2015 and 2019, the number of women vehicles and equipment cleaners grew by about 47%. As a result of that growth, women made up a greater share of workers in 2019 than they did in 2015. In 2015, 11.1% of vehicles and equipment cleaners were women while in 2019, 16.0% were women.
Data and Methodology
To find the fastest-growing jobs for women, SmartAsset analyzed employment data from 2015 and 2019, the most recent year for which detailed occupational employment data is available. We filtered out any occupation that employed fewer than 25,000 women in 2015. We also filtered out any occupation with “other” or “miscellaneous” in the title due to lack of occupational specificity. We used the four-year percentage change in women employed in each occupation to rank all the jobs, from highest percentage increase to lowest.
All data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Tips for Making a Successful Career Change
- Figure out what you want. Before making the jump from one job to another, be sure to take stock of your goals and what it is you are hoping to get out of your career. By identifying whether the new job will further your career and how it will do so, you can see if it is the right time for a switch.
- Do your research. Many of the fastest-growing jobs from women highlighted above have full details available on the BLS website. You can find their Occupational Outlook Handbook here.
- Trusted personal finance advice. Whether you are switching jobs or going back to school, a financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions and set you on the right track for retirement. Use SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool to find an advisor for you. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
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