Oregon women without college degrees have fewer options today than they did in 2000, according to a new analysis from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.
The reason? Office support jobs, such as administrative assistants, are now in much lower demand, while jobs like file clerks and typists have been made almost completely obsolete.
“My back of the envelope calculations show the decline of office support jobs in the Oregon economy overall from 2000 to 2015 has resulted in nearly 50,000 fewer such jobs—for both sexes and all ages,” wrote Jon Lehner, an Office of Economic Analysis economist, in the report.
While most reports showing the decline of middle-wage jobs focus on the decline of traditionally male jobs, such as production, transportation and construction, Lehner’s report shows that women are facing a similar erosion of employment opportunity due to technological advancement.
While offices in the pre-Internet era required multiple office support workers, now “one office support specialist serves multiple managers instead with relative ease. Increased productivity can be seen due to computers, software, travel websites and the like,” Lehner wrote.
In 1980, 1 in 5 working age women with a high school diploma or less worked in an office support job. Now, that number is roughly half, Lehner writes.
“The decline of office and administrative support jobs for women with a high school diploma or less rivals the decline of production jobs for men with the same educational attainment here in Oregon,” Lehner wrote.