Even though women make up nearly 47% of the workforce in the United States, they tend to stick to traditional career paths - those where women make up a majority. In fact, nearly 40% of female workers hold professional roles where women comprise at least 75% of the overall workforce.
If you’ve dreamed of entering into a new career or moving up the ranks at your current job, don’t give up hope yet! There are many signs that women are increasingly expanding their roles in the workforce, entering into non-traditional careers, and improving their income as a result. That means more money for you and your family and, possibly, a more exciting job.
Let’s take a look at how the role of women in the workforce is expanding and how a college degree could be your ticket to the middle-class a brighter future.
Expanding roles of women in the workforce
Women have been making great strides in nontraditional careers in recent years and the stories are inspiring. Last year, the number of female Fortune 500 CEOs reached an all-time high. Companies like Best Buy, Land O’ Lakes, and Northrop Grumman all hired a woman at the helm to bring this number up to 33 - a statistic that continues to rise each year.
Government is another space where men typically make up a majority but where women are beginning to take a foothold. In Mississippi, Cindy Hyde-Smith became the first female member of Congress to represent the state in its 200+ year history. This comes at a time when there are more women in Congress and the House of Representatives than ever before.
Unskilled labor is becoming a thing of the past
Although there are good jobs you can land without a degree, this number is quickly decreasing with each passing year. Also, the paycheck from these jobs isn’t enough for many women to get ahead. This change is partially due to something known as up-credentialing – when a role that previously required little to no qualification now requires a college degree. Both women and men in the workforce are being affected by this new demand for employees with degrees. An associate or bachelor’s degree can help you secure a great living and break into the middle class. Currently, women outnumber men in college enrollment – a good sign that more women are pursuing a college degree to help pave the way for a brighter future.
Benefits of breaking into nontraditional careers
You might be wondering what all the fuss is about regarding these changes in the career paths of women and how it impacts your choices in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages you can gain by breaking into new careers.
- Higher pay - The wage gap between men and women in Mississippi is estimated to be 18%. Since job selection is one of the causes behind this gap, women venturing into nontraditional fields will have a chance to earn more.
- Growing demand - There are several non-traditional roles (software developers, EMTs, cooks, etc.) that are expected to see an increase in demand within the next few years. This means more opportunities and less competition when looking for a job.
- Breaking social norms - When you pursue an uncommon job and break away from social and cultural expectations, you’re helping to chip away at established norms and expanding your career possibilities.
Tips for breaking out of traditional careers
The benefits of having a nontraditional career path might be easily understood but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here are some tips to help you break out of a typical career path for something you’d really enjoy:
- Broadening your horizons - Pursuing a nontraditional job requires a fundamental shift in thinking. Once you start to consider some of the different career choices, you can start making concrete moves to pursue your chosen job.
- Networking - It can be difficult to get your foot in the door of a field that’s predominantly male. Networking through people you know or building new relationships is a great way to find fellow women who are already on the inside of your target field.
- Getting a college degree - There’s a direct correlation between your level of education and your income. A college degree can unlock career opportunities for you in nontraditional fields that wouldn’t have otherwise been an option.
Unique careers you haven’t considered
In order to break into uncommon roles, you have to start considering career paths that might not have occurred to you before. This out-of-the-box thinking can lead you to exciting, new positions. To give you some ideas, let’s take a look at some jobs with a high concentration of men that also earn middle-class salaries.
When settling on your degree, there are many things you should take into account. Do you enjoy the work that’s involved? Are you choosing a degree that highlights your strengths? Will this career path offer you the flexibility you desire? These are just a few examples of the questions you should ask yourself as a returning student to find the best degree possible.
A college degree is your first step
A college degree could be your first step towards a rewarding career in a non-traditional field. Community colleges and universities throughout Mississippi are currently offering degrees that could propel you into a new career that you would’ve never imagined getting into. Whether you’re looking for an associate or bachelor’s degree, you won’t have to look far to find a degree that matches a classic career path or your nontraditional professional goals.
C2C is your ticket
C2C is a program designed to support Mississippi adults returning to college to finish their degrees. Participants receive one-on-one guidance from C2C Coaches, flexible options with the University Studies degree, and access to the C2C grant for financial assistance. C2C will help you through each step of the process - from enrollment all the way through to graduation day.
Speak with a C2C Coach today and see how close you are to graduation.