Posted on April 26, 2016 Issues: Data on Poverty & Income Workplace

(Washington, D.C.) The five jobs with the largest projected growth in the next decade are primarily female-dominated and low-wage, according to new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census data by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). These five jobs—personal care aides, registered nurses, home health aides, combined food preparation & serving workers (including fast food workers), and retail salespersons—are projected to add 1.9 million jobs between 2014 and 2024, accounting for one-fifth of all projected job growth.

“Job growth is usually a positive sign, but the quality of the jobs projected to lead growth in the next decade is bad news for women,” said Emily Martin, NWLC Vice President for Workplace Justice. “Women already make up two-thirds of those struggling to get by on jobs that pay low wages—and women of color are particularly overrepresented. Women working in these jobs too often lack critical job benefits and face unpredictable work schedules that undermine their success. The projected growth in these jobs makes it crystal clear that policymakers must guarantee livable wages and basic workplace standards for every job in our economy. Work must provide a pathway to economic security for women and their families—not insecurity and hardship.”

Key findings include:

  • Women are the majority of workers in the five occupations projected to see the most job growth between 2014 and 2024—and women dominate the workforce, holding more than 60 percent of the jobs, in four of the five occupations: personal care aides, registered nurses, home health aides, and combined food preparation & serving workers (including fast food workers).
  • In the fifth occupation, retail salespersons, women are more than half the workforce—and women and people of color disproportionately fill the lowest paid retail sales positions.
  • Among these five high-growth jobs, all but registered nurses are low-wage, typically paying less than $10.50 per hour. Taking the four low-wage, high-growth jobs together:
    • Women are more than two-thirds of these workers, though they are less than half of the overall workforce.
    • Women of color are one-third of these workers—nearly double their share of the overall workforce (17 percent).
    • African American women see the largest disparity, holding 16 percent of these four low-wage, high-growth jobs—more than two and a half times their share of the overall workforce (6 percent).


Contact: Maria Patrick ( and Olympia Feil (, 202-588-5180

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