VoxEU Video Education Gender Labour Markets

The end of men

Demand for high-skilled workers who perform cognitive tasks has increased dramatically in the United States over the past four decades, with the biggest change between 1980 and 2000. This policy brief shows that the increase in demand was not experienced equally by both genders: despite rapid growth in employment in high-paying occupations, the probability that a college educated man was employed in such a job fell, while the prospects for college-educated women improved. The key driver seems to be growing demand for social skills, such as empathy, communication, emotion recognition and verbal expression, in which evidence from psychological research indicates that women have a comparative advantage.