10% HRPA Georgia discount not yet applied.
Apply now

Pink Collar Jobs

>> HR Glossary/  General HR Terms / Pink Collar Jobs

What are pink collar jobs?

Pink collar jobs are careers that have historically absorbed the expanding female labor force. Pink collar jobs are typically service-oriented roles that require interpersonal skills and involve caring for others, such as nursing, teaching, secretarial work, social work, and childcare.

While these positions may have male workers, females have traditionally occupied these roles, and the tendency continues to date, although to a lesser extent. 

A brief history of pink collar jobs

To understand pink collar jobs, it would help first to learn a brief history of women in the labor force. Women started taking up roles in the job market during World War II, particularly between 1940 and 1945. 

The term “pink collar worker” was coined by the sociologist William J. Baumol in the 1960s. American writer and social critic Louise Kapp Howe later used and publicized it in the 1970s. Howe used the term to describe the jobs women assumed at the time, such as nurses, teachers, secretaries, etc. 

Today, the line separating male- and female-oriented jobs is blurred because gender barriers have progressively weakened in recent years. However, gender segregation in certain industries continues to exist. This could be due to societal expectations, cultural norms, and structural barriers contributing to the disproportionate representation of women in pink collar jobs.

White, pink, and blue collar jobs: The differences

The term “pink collar” is less known, but white and blue collar are common. So, what’s the difference between the workers operating in each job sector?

1. Pink collar workers

A pink collar worker is an employee who undertakes roles traditionally considered to be women’s jobs, such as teacher, florist, child care, secretary, nurse, domestic helper, etc. These jobs typically rank low regarding status, pay, and career advancement opportunities.

Pink Collar Jobs, White Collar Jobs vs. Blue Collar Jobs

2. White collar workers

White collar workers are corporate-level employees who are involved in office work. These workers have acquired higher education and managerial skills and are usually on a salary. They are called “white collar” workers due to the white business shirts they wear when heading to the office. 

3. Blue collar workers

Manual labor, such as construction or factory work, is often referred to as blue collar work.

Factory workers providing manual labor in production facilities were described as “blue collar” employees because their dress code was predominantly blue work shirts and jumpsuits. Companies required laborers to wear blue work outfits because the color veils grease and dirt spots on the clothes and uniforms.

Examples of pink collar jobs in various industries

There are many pink-collar jobs across wide-ranging sectors, including healthcare, education, and retail. 


Examples of pink-collar jobs in the healthcare sector include:

Pink Collar Job TypeDescription
NursingThe nursing industry is dominated mainly by women; however, men have started taking careers in nursing in recent years. In other words, nursing has become a good career choice for any gender and an excellent option for those who’d like to pursue a career in medicine but don’t want to spend an additional 12 years in training after completing high school.
Medical assistant Medical assisting is another occupation with a high percentage of women employees (93%). It’s one of the careers experiencing growth much faster than other occupations.

Medical assistants work alongside medical doctors, primarily in outpatient and ambulatory facilities, such as clinics and offices of health practitioners. Their duties include taking medical histories, collecting and preparing lab specimens, explaining medical procedures to patients, and providing medication and dietary instructions.
Allied health professionalAllied health professionals oversee the delivery of health services related to identifying, evaluating, and preventing diseases; rehabilitation and health system management; dietary and nutrition services; and many more.

There are wide-ranging pink collar jobs in the allied health category, including dental hygienists, dietitians, occupational therapists, medical technologists, and radiographers.

Education field

The education sector is another industry dominated by women. Pink collar roles are satisfying and pay relatively well compared to other female-dominated occupations in different industries. 

Pink Collar Job TypeDescription
TeachingIn the early 1940s, 75% of teachers were women, vs. 70% today. There’s only one explanation for the slight decline – more men are taking up teaching roles, particularly at higher academic levels.

Educators in grades K-12 have traditionally been women, even before the term “pink collar job” was coined in 1970. Teaching is a career that serves the public, and students learn and grow through direct interactions. 
Early childhood educationPreschool and kindergarten teaching roles remain predominantly female (over 97%). Early childhood teachers specialize in young children’s learning and development and social and physical needs.

Their role is to provide a comfortable and safe environment where children can learn early academics (maths, science, social studies, and reading skills), social, motor, and adaptive skills. 
Educational administratorAn educational administrator is an academic professional who oversees the activities of schools, ensuring that they satisfy the standards for success within an education system.

Their responsibilities include coordinating and managing schools’ academic, administrative, and auxiliary functions. 

Advantages and challenges of pink collar jobs

Like any other collar jobs, pink-collar jobs have their advantages and challenges. 


  • Empowerment and economic independence: Before WWII, women were confined to domestic roles. However, as many men went to war, women assumed the roles that men left behind. They took up roles as nurses, secretaries, midwives, telephone operators, and boarding housekeepers.

    At least five million women entered the labor workforce between 1940 and 1945. That allowed them to earn money and become financially independent. It also empowered them to seek other employment opportunities in other industries, reducing the gender gap that existed before the war.


While pink-collar jobs gave women economic independence, they also continued to face barriers:

  • Gender stereotypes and bias: In gender stereotypes, pink is a color that society associates with women, while blue is associated with men. When it comes to job classifications, these colors delineate workers’ genders. That said, pink collar jobs refer to jobs primarily occupied by women. 
  • Discrimination: Usually, when women take up men-dominated roles, they often face issues like discrimination and sexual harassment, which negatively impact their mental health and limit them from excelling in male-dominated roles. 
  • Limited career advancement: Women experience challenges even after professional training. They encounter the glass ceiling – an invisible barrier that restricts them from reaching executive positions. Therefore, they remain in lower-paying and lower-ranking positions despite their qualifications and professional training. 

Talent acquisition and management best practices

To hire and retain the top talent for pink collar jobs, HR must adhere to the best recruitment practices that include:

1. Use gender-neutral language in job ads

Writing a great job description for a pink-collar job ad requires using gender-neutral language. Some practical ways to engender neutrality in your language include: 

  • Avoid the third-person voice, such as “he” or “she.” Instead, use a second-person voice by addressing the reader as “you.”
  • Include only the essential skills and attributes required for the job.
  • State your commitment to diversity and inclusion.

2. Train hiring managers on bias

To break the stereotype and bias surrounding pink collar jobs, it would help to develop training programs on bias. That will ensure your hiring managers gain the insights they need to recruit the top talents without subjecting the recruits to the discrimination associated with pink collar roles. 

3. Focus on diversity and inclusion

Your recruitment strategy should be geared toward diversification and inclusiveness – hiring people from various backgrounds, attributes, gender, beliefs, ethnicities, and races.

Doing so helps create a culture that supports and accommodates every employee’s ideas, suggestions, and solutions and fosters positive interactions and relationships among staff.  

4. Provide opportunities for learning and development 

Creating robust career development programs within your organization is an effective way of rolling with the changing times and retaining top talent. Employees prefer learning at work, so they can perform their duties effectively.

Moreover, career development ensures they advance their skills to occupy higher positions and increase their earning potential.  

Go to Top