Article by Lolita Taub, published previously on Code Like A Girl.
According to the US Department of Labor, the third most common occupation for women consists of secretary and administrative assistant roles. Along with the second (registered nurses) and first most common professions for women (elementary and middle school teachers), these 3 occupations make up 13.3% of the women workforce. Interestingly enough, women have filled 94.5% of all secretary and administrative assistant roles since the 1950s.
Digging deeper, in 2016, the median weekly earnings of women secretaries and administrative assistants was $708 ($36,816 in annual income). That’s not enough to live in any big city in the US. Imagine, to live in New York you need a yearly salary of $86,446.
With a female workforce that has a large percentage in the secretary and administrative assistant roles, wages that are too little to live in any major US city on their own, you’d think things couldn’t get any worse. But, unfortunately, they can get worse (thanks to AI).
Career automation calculators show that secretaries and administrative assistants have a 96% probability of complete automation. That means that you can confidently expect AI to take secretary and administrative assistant jobs out of the market. For women in these roles today, it’s time to look at alternative careers.
If picking an alternative career from the US most common women’s occupations list, I would recommend for women to work in the education and health sector because statistics show that these areas have the lowest potential for automation. That said, it would behoove me not to recommend to women to bite the bullet and go into the tech industry. With an expected 2.4 Million tech unfilled jobs in 2018 and tech jobs growing at 30% year-over-year, women can help fill the demand gap.
Ladies call to action: go out there and get some technical skills. The low supply of tech talent and high demand of it will serve you well. If you’re not convinced, here are some benefits to look forward to, if you take a plunge into tech: (1) high salaries (expect +2Xs a secretary/assistant salary), (2) flex-time, (3) location independence, and more.
What are you waiting for, ladies? Join the women in tech community. And if you’re wondering how to break into tech, take a look at this post.
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