clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The robot-proof job men aren’t taking

Nursing is the job of the future. Why is its workforce still 90 percent female?

Liz Scheltens is a senior editorial producer for the Vox video team.

This is the third episode in a six-part video series about the future of work. Follow the series at

It’s easy to imagine that the jobs of the future, if they even exist, will all revolve around technology. But it turns out that the jobs least likely to succumb to automation are those that involve building human relationships. Health care is a prime example. An aging population has pushed demand for nurses, physician assistants, and physical therapists through the roof, and these jobs all have higher-than-average salaries and major expected job growth.

These fields share something else in common — they’re dominated by women. Despite the erosion of traditionally “masculine” fields like manufacturing, men just aren’t taking these high-paying, in-demand health care jobs in the numbers you’d expect. For decades, nursing in particular has been considered “women’s work,” in part because it’s assumed that women, more so than men, have a kind of innate capacity for caring and empathy.

But men in nursing say this mindset is holding the industry back. For them, caring and empathy are skills that can be developed, not traits someone is born with or without based on their gender. To learn more about how and why gendering jobs is keeping men out of the economy, check out the video above.