Women and the Economy
Workforce Participation and Occupations
Women account for 44% of the full-time civilian workforce residing in Montgomery County. Using 5 years of data collected by the US Census (2011-2015), the chart below shows the share of the workforce accounted for by women in 8 main occupational categories and a number of additional sub-categories. This data looks only at residents with full-time, year-round employment.
Female Share of Workforce in Select Occupational Categories
Female Share of Workforce in Popular Occupations
The chart below provides a more granular look at specific occupations by showing the same information for most commonly held jobs in Montgomery County. Childcare workers, Maids, Administrative assistants, and Registered nurses are the most female dominated occupations in the County. Certain construction jobs and truck drivers are the most male dominated. Of note, software developers (29%) and computer systems analysts (34%) also rank near the bottom.
Labor Force Participation by Age
Women and men have nearly even labor force participation up to the age of 25, after which a roughly 12 percentage point gap persists between the ages of 30 until the age of 60. Note, however, that female labor force participation remains over 80% during these years. The gap in labor force participation widens a bit further after 60 (peaking at a 16 percentage points gap during age 70-74).
Labor Force Participation over Time
The figure below shows the rapid growth in labor force participation among women, from 1910 to 1990. The participation rate has continued to grow in the last decade.
Using the same data, the Census reports that women in Montgomery County earn 82 cents on the dollar compared to their male counter-parts (looking only at civilian residents who are employed full-time and year-round). As a category, Computer, engineering, and science occupations have the strongest pay parity at 87%. Women make more than men only in the sub-occupation group of community and social services (112%) -- (this may also be true in Construction, not included in the graph, where women only account for 2% of the workforce, resulting in limited data availability). Healthcare support occupations has 1:1 parity in pay. The biggest pay gaps are present in Building and grounds cleaning (67%) and in Healthcare diagnosing and treating practitioners (57%). Note that research shows that women who earn more than their male partners tend to under-report their personal income, even on Census forms.
Median Annual Earnings for Women Relative to Men
The results of the US Economic Census of 2017 will not be released until 2019. For this section, the analysis will instead uses the 2012 Economic Census.
The chart below shows the share of employees held by women owned businesses in select industries, with admin and support services leading the way.
County Government Workforce
The Montgomery County Government (not including Montgomery County Public Schools) employed more than 3,750 women in regular/permanent positions in 2017, accounting for 40.5% of all employees (analysis based on 2017 salary dataset released on dataMontgomery). The share of women employees differs tremendously across departments, from 84% in the Department of Health and Human Services to 8% in Fire and Rescue Services. The chart below shows the 2017 distribution for all County departments and offices with 20 or more staff. Of note, two-thirds of staff in the Office of the County Executive are women, including all three Assistant Chief Administrative Officers and two of three Special Assistants.