Secretarial work has been described as one of the most persistently gendered of all occupations.
Historically, it has been characterised as a ghetto occupation with three key features:
- low status and poor pay,
- narrow and feminised job content and
- poor promotion prospects.
In this article, we report on the findings of a questionnaire survey involving 1,011 secretaries. We found evidence of continuity and change. Secretaries are now better qualified and generally well-paid. A minority is undertaking complex managerial tasks. However, most secretaries continue to perform traditional tasks and career prospects for all remain bleak.
We conclude that processes of role gender-typing are deeply entrenched and that secretarial work remains largely a ghetto occupation.