Economy gender gap

July 14, 2011 2:06:45 PM PDT
The healthcare industry has been a rare bright spot in a dismal jobs market. It is also one of the reasons why 47-year old Stephen Waugh switched careers from a major tech firm to nursing. He landed a job at the Stony Brook Medical Center, where he saw an opportunity in a field that is traditionally dominated by women.

"I don't know if I was foolish or not, but I did, partly because I did come into the workforce as a man in his 40s going into this field where I knew there wouldn't be a lot of men my age that I would be competing for jobs with," said Waugh.

Researchers say that healthcare is one field where men are finding jobs at a faster rate than women. Since the recovery started two years ago, men gained 805,000 jobs, while women lost 281,000 jobs in that same period. It is a major shift from the start of the recession, when men were the big job losers. Economists say it's not surprising they are now gaining jobs faster.

Layoffs for teachers and librarians are hurting women more. On a broader scale, some recruiters are seeing an uptick in job seekers.

With no dramatic improvement expected soon for the jobs front, one newcomer to the healthcare profession isn't complaining about making less and working harder.

"I'm incredibly grateful for what I get to do every day. But secondly, I feel like I dodged a bullet," said Waugh.