What fields offer the best job prospects for women?

The slow economic recovery means it's still tough to find a job. For women, however, the good news is that employment opportunities are emerging in a range of different occupations.

These include not only jobs that have long attracted female employees, including physical therapy, dental hygiene and public relations, but also fields once dominated by men, according to a new survey by job-search firm CareerCast.com

"The professions we have identified pay well, have a large percentage of women working in the field and are expected to offer solid opportunities for growth," said CareerCast publisher Tony Lee.

As of 2012, nearly 58 percent of working-age women were either employed or looking for a job, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The percentage of women in the civilian labor force is expected to rise 9 percent through 2018.


But which careers offer the best opportunities for women? CareerCast examined 200 professions across North America to identify what it says are the 12 best jobs for female workers.

The firm considered several factors in assessing jobs: occupational environment, referring to overall work conditions, physical demands and competitiveness; income; stress level; and outlook, which uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate employment growth through 2022.

The jobs specified in this survey are careers where women represent 60 percent of the workforce and are in areas where female workers earn roughly as much as men. In terms of pay, meanwhile, CareerCast also notes that the salary gender gap is smaller for jobs that made the list.

As the survey shows, women are advancing in some fields once dominated by men. One of the fastest-growing occupations for women is computer systems analyst, which involves managing corporate information systems to ensure they remain secure and glitch-free. CareerCast expects employment in the sector to grow 25 percent over the next eight years.

Of course, the educational requirements needed to land one of these careers vary from job to job. For an event planner, a high school diploma may be sufficient, while education administrators, speech pathologists and market research analysts require at least an associate degree, and often more.

Following are CareerCast's 12 best jobs for women (salary and employment growth data is from the U.S. Department of Labor):

Actuary
BLS Annual Average Salary: $93,680
Projected Growth Outlook (though 2022): 26 percent

Advertising and Promotions Manager
BLS Annual Average Salary: $115,750
Projected Growth Outlook: 12 percent

Computer Systems Analyst
BLS Annual Average Salary: $79,680
Projected Growth Outlook: 25 percent

Dental Hygienist
BLS Annual Average Salary: $70,210
Projected Growth Outlook: 33 percent

Education Administrator
BLS Annual Average Salary: $86,490
Projected Growth Outlook: 15 percent

Event Planner
BLS Annual Average Salary: $45,810
Projected Growth Outlook: 33 percent

Human Resources Manager
BLS Annual Average Salary: $99,720
Projected Growth Outlook: 13 percent

Market Research Analyst
BLS Annual Average Salary: $60,300
Projected Growth Outlook: 32 percent

Occupational Therapist
BLS Annual Average Salary: $55,870
Projected Growth Outlook: 19 percent

Physical Therapist
BLS Annual Average Salary: $79,860
Projected Growth Outlook: 36 percent

PR Manager
BLS Annual Average Salary: $95,450
Projected Growth Outlook: 13 percent

Speech Pathologist
BLS Annual Average Salary: $69,870
Projected Growth Outlook: 19 percent

  • Precious Osagie-Erese

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