Wage Earning and Education eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about Wage Earning and Education.

[Illustration:  Diagram 2.—­Men and women 18 years of age and over in clerical and administrative work in offices in Cleveland.  U.S.  Census, 1910]

Diagram 2 shows that girls’ training, if it is to meet the present situation, must prepare for a future in specialized clerical work; boys’ future must apparently be thought of as in mostly the clerical and administrative fields.  The term “clerical” as here used, covers bookkeepers, cashiers and accountants, stenographers and typists, clerks and a miscellaneous group of younger workers such as messengers, office boys, etc.  “Administrative” covers proprietors, officials, managers, supervisors, and agents, but it does not include salespeople.

The usual commercial course gives impartially to boys and girls two traditional “subjects” which they are to apply in wage earning whatever part of the wage earning field they may enter.  These are stenography and bookkeeping.  The evidence collected during the survey shows that these are rarely found in combination except in small offices.  Of the men employed who are stenographers, the majority are of two kinds:  (1) those who use stenography incidentally with their other and more important work as clerks, and (2) those for whom stenography is but a stepping-stone to another kind of position.  The only firms which make a practice of offering ordinary stenographic positions for boys are those which restrict themselves to male employees for every kind of work.

Independent stenographic work of various kinds is of course open to the sexes alike.  In Cleveland there are a few women in court stenography.  The 10 public stenographers’ offices were found upon inquiry to include two men and 10 women.  No figures regarding convention reporters were obtainable.  In the positions of the bookkeeping group also there was some sex difference.  The accountants, bookkeepers, cashiers, pay-masters and other persons of responsibility are, in large offices where both sexes work together, much more likely to be men than women; the assistants who work with these may be of either sex, but girls and women are likely to make up the greater portion.  Of the small office this is less generally true.  Boys who do machine operating are usually clerks whose machine work, as in the case of stenography, is merely an adjunct to other work; with girls machine operating is either the whole of the position or the most important part of it.

The essential difference between the clerkship which boys for the most part hold and the general clerical work which girls do is that the boys’ work is unified and is a definite, separate responsible part of the business, usually in line for promotion to some other clerkship; the girls’ is a miscellany of more or less unrelated jobs and is not a preparation for specific promotion.

A GENERAL VIEW OF COMMERCIAL WORK

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Wage Earning and Education from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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