Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lies and statistics

According to a news update on the ALIA website, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has just released labour force statistics from the 2006 census. The library sector employs 24,849 people. Of these, 10,085 are librarians, 6,510 library technicians and 8,254 library assistants. Interestingly, just over 83 per cent of Australian library workers are female, only a slight movement in the gender breakdown over recent years.

Certainly, in my experience, male librarians can often be looked upon as oddities, and looking at these statistics, it's little wonder why. Even in my branch of librarianship, the majority of my peers are female, and I estimate that 90 per cent of them are middle aged, with little sign of the younger generations coming up to succeed them as they retire. Another demographic trend is at work here, which I won't comment on. I commented on the popular stereotyping of male librarians in an earlier post, so I won't regurgitate what I wrote at the time. This is the downside of working in a highly feminised profession. Needless to say, I find it frustrating at times, but as with other things in life, you just grin and bear it.

1 comment:

Miss Eagle said...

It should also be noted that, until recent years, in spite of the female domination in the library profession, there was gender segmentation advantaging the male of the species. State Librarians - the top dog position - used to be exclusively male. Another area where males did well was in academic and specialist libraries - as opposed to public and school libraries where most of the women (lowly paid) were.