Humanities Indicators
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Workforce  >  Earnings & Occupations of Humanities Majors
 
Gender and the Occupations of Humanities Majors
(Updated February 2018)

Among humanities degree recipients, the occupational distributions of men and women are notably different. Data from the American Community Survey allow us to examine these differences, even if they cannot explain why such disparities exist.

Findings

  • Among terminal bachelor’s degree holders (TBHs) with a humanities degree, the widest gap between men and women was found among those in office and administrative support occupations (Indicator III-3k). Approximately 8.9% of male TBHs were employed in these occupations, while 18.1% of their female counterparts did work of this kind. Among humanities majors who are also advanced degree holders (ADHs; advanced degree could be in any field), 3.1% of men and 6.9% of women were employed in office and administrative positions (Indicator III-3l).[1]
  • Women who majored in the humanities were approximately twice as likely to be employed in precollegiate teaching as men. Among TBHs, 4.6% of men were employed in precollegiate teaching, as compared to 9.0% of women. Among those with advanced degrees, 8.9% of men were employed in precollegiate education, as compared to 17.8% of women.
  • Men with humanities degrees were more likely to be employed as managers than women, with a 4.8-percentage-point gap among TBHs (18.2% of men, 13.4% of women) and a 2.2-percentage-point gap among graduates with advanced degrees (13.0% of men, 10.8% of women). Male TBHs were also considerably more likely than women to be found in the aggregated “other” occupations category, which consists largely of military occupations and the trades (11.7% of men, 2.6% of women).
  • Advanced degree holders (of both genders) were substantially less likely to be found in nonprofessional occupations than their counterparts who held only a bachelor’s degree. For both sexes, ADH’s were much more likely than TBHs to work in legal occupations and postsecondary teaching. This finding is somewhat unsurprising, given that the jobs in these occupational categories tend to require at least a master’s or professional degree. In the case of legal occupations, however, the almost 16-percentage-point differential between male TBHs and male ADHs was more than twice as large as the female differential.
III-3k: Occupational Distribution of Humanities Majors with a Terminal Bachelor’s Degree, by Gender, 2015*

* Employed at any time in the previous five years. Reported jobs are those that respondents currently held or the last they worked. Respondents who worked more than one job at a time were asked to report the job at which they worked the most hours.
** Encompasses military-specific occupations and those in production, transportation, and material moving; construction, extraction, maintenance, and repair; and farming, fishing, and forestry. For further details regarding the occupations included in each category used in the graph, see the ACS-HI Crosswalk.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey Public-Use Microdata Sample. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

About this DataRelated Indicators
../cmsData/xls/suppIII-3k.xlsx../cmsData/ppt/III-3k.ppt../cmsData/pdf/III-3k.pdf
III-3l: Occupational Distribution of Humanities Majors Who Went On to Obtain an Advanced Degree (in Any Field), by Gender, 2015*

* Employed at any time in the previous five years. Reported jobs are those that respondents currently held or the last they worked. Respondents who worked more than one job at a time were asked to report the job at which they worked the most hours.
** Encompasses military-specific occupations and those in production, transportation, and material moving; construction, extraction, maintenance, and repair; and farming, fishing, and forestry. For further details regarding the occupations included in each category used in the graph, see the ACS-HI Crosswalk.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey Public-Use Microdata Sample. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

About this DataRelated Indicators
../cmsData/xls/suppIII-3l.xlsx../cmsData/ppt/III-3l.ppt../cmsData/pdf/III-3l.pdf

Endnotes

[1] In 2015, 40.6% of humanities majors possessed at least one advanced degree (see Supplemental Table III-4).