Best-Paying Jobs That Women Aren't In

With more women in the workforce, what fields should they consider? (Hint: study engineering.)

By Jenna Goudreau

Women comprise just under half of the U.S. economy and have lost fewer jobs than men in this recession, putting them in position to become the majority of the nation's workers. Yet women remain concentrated in low-paying sectors of the workforce. The Department of Labor (DOL) reports that in 2008 the most common occupations for women were secretaries and administrative assistants, registered nurses and elementary and middle school teachers.

In hopes of finding the best jobs women haven't yet discovered, ForbesWoman has created a list of the best-paying jobs that women aren't in--but should be. Based on a 2008 DOL list of nontraditional jobs for women (women make up less than 25% of the field) and 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on earnings by occupation, we ranked the top 20 jobs that women will want to consider.

Click here to see the Top 10 Best-Paying Jobs Women Aren't In

Coming in at No. 1 on our list is chief executive. Despite the fact that women are earning more business degrees than ever--the Department of Education (DOE) reports that women earned twice as many undergraduate business degrees than education degrees in 2006-07--men still hold the majority of these top positions. Chief executives' median weekly earnings are $1,903, or about $99,000 a year, but the percentage of women in the position is just 23.4%. And in the top 500 companies in the U.S., only 3% are women. However, with more young women choosing business degrees, the playing field may even out in the next few decades.

The second most appealing job still to gain traction with women is engineering. Females comprise only about 12% of all engineers, yet it's one of the best-paying and fastest-growing fields. Only 6.3% of engineering managers are women, and they make a median of $1,752 each week, or about $91,000 per year. From aerospace and chemical engineers to computer software and civil engineers, women are in the minority. By choosing engineering over nursing, for example, a woman could earn three to four times more each week.

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On our list of the Top 10 Jobs: …10. Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters

Median Weekly Earnings: $1,067

Median Yearly Earnings: $55,484

Percent of Women in the Field: 4.7%

What They Do: Coordinate crews on freight and passenger trains, including reviewing schedules, appropriately distributing weight and overseeing passenger safety.

9. Architects (except naval)

Median Weekly Earnings: $1,128

Median Yearly Earnings: $58,656

Percent of Women in the Field: 24.8%

What They Do: Design and plan public and private spaces like rooms, buildings, parks and complexes.

8. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts

Median Weekly Earnings: $1,130

Median Yearly Earnings: $58,760

Percent of Women in the Field: 23.7%

What They Do: Design, test and evaluate network systems, including local area networks, wide area networks, Internet and intranet.

7. Managers of Police and Detectives

Median Weekly Earnings: $1,200

Median Yearly Earnings: $62,400

Percent of Women in the Field: 14.7%

What They Do: Supervise and coordinate police officers.

Click here to read the full list of The Top 10 Best-Paying Jobs Women Aren't In.

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