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Women in the Workforce: What’s Changed in a Year?

March 27, 2015

Last year, Pacific Office Automation provided a history of women in the workforce in honor of International Women's Day. This year, we take a look at what changes have occurred for women in the workplace throughout history.

The most recent stats regarding women in the workforce are out so, in honor of this year’s International Women’s Day, we’re delving into the facts to answer the question: what gains have women made since our last post?

The number of women in executive leadership positions continues to grow. In 2014, six new women took the helm of Fortune 500 companies, bringing the total to twenty-six. While that's still just a modest five percent of total Fortune 500 executives, it is a significant improvement from 2001, at which point there were just three women as CEOs.

As Leigh Gallagher of Fortune magazine notes, the trend of women being named to high profile chief operating officer positions is growing, will continue in 2015.

There has also been a trend of women entering traditionally male-dominated fields in higher numbers than ever. For example, women now make up 60% of the workforce for accountants, when in 1970 they made up just 24.6%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet there is slower growth around STEM fields. The number of women in computer programming has grown just .2% since 1970. Of STEM fields, women are highest represented in the social sciences at 63%, the U.S. Census Bureau statistics reveal.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, today, women make up the majority of the workforce in:
• Financial activities (53%)
• Education and health services (75%)
• Leisure and hospitality (52%)

Industries where women are still significantly underrepresented include:
• Agriculture (24 %)
• Mining (13 %)
• Construction (12 %)
• Manufacturing (9 %)
• Transportation and utilities (24 %)


Another promising sign for workplace equality is that more women are pursuing higher education than ever before. Women now compromise the majority (56.2%) of the total student population, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

However, the total number of women opting out of work did grow last year. 55,159 U.S. females over the age of sixteen did not work in 2014, up from 54,401 women the year before. Additionally, the wage gap continues to exist: women in 2013 earned just 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned.

As the workplace evolves to incorporate new workflow solutions, technology, sustainability efforts and global corporate initiatives, workplace diversity continues to improve. At Pacific Office Automation, we embrace progress in the workplace in its many forms. Contact us today to find out how we can help improve the workflow in your workplace.

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