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Men accounted for about 75 percent of workers in protective service occupations in 2020

October 15, 2021

Men accounted for about half of all employed people in 2020, but about three-fourths of workers in protective service occupations were men. Among protective service occupations, nearly all firefighters (95.6 percent) were men. Men also accounted for large shares of employment in first-line supervisors of police and detectives (87.3 percent), police officers (82.9 percent), security guards and gambling surveillance officers (75.0 percent), detectives and criminal investigators (73.6 percent), and first-line supervisors of correctional officers (72.3 percent). Women accounted for 45.4 percent of private detectives and investigators, the largest share among protective service occupations.

Percent distribution of employment in protective service occupations, by sex, 2020
Occupation Men Women

Firefighters

95.6% 4.4%

First-line supervisors of police and detectives

87.3 12.7

Police officers

82.9 17.1

Protective service occupations

76.4 23.6

Security guards and gambling surveillance officers

75.0 25.0

Detectives and criminal investigators

73.6 26.4

First-line supervisors of correctional officers

72.3 27.7

Correctional officers and jailers

68.3 31.7

First-line supervisors of security workers

67.9 32.1

Private detectives and investigators

54.6 45.4

All occupations

53.2 46.8

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, White workers accounted for 78.0 percent of total employment in 2020, slightly higher than their overall share of protective service occupations (74.5 percent). However, this varied widely within the protective service field. The largest share was among first-line supervisors of police and detectives, at 89.2 percent in 2020. By contrast, Whites made up 61.0 percent of security guards and gambling surveillance officers and 60.9 percent of correctional officers and jailers.

Percent distribution of employment in protective service occupations, by race and ethnicity, 2020
Occupation White Black or African American Asian Hispanic or Latino

First-line supervisors of police and detectives

89.2% 7.5% 2.3% 14.0%

Firefighters

85.0 8.4 1.2 13.1

Police officers

85.0 10.9 1.9 14.7

Detectives and criminal investigators

82.8 13.9 0.7 17.0

All occupations

78.0 12.1 6.4 17.6

Protective service occupations

74.5 19.4 2.5 15.9

Private detectives and investigators

71.6 21.9 3.8 16.2

First-line supervisors of security workers

70.5 20.9 3.9 11.6

First-line supervisors of correctional officers

63.6 30.6 2.0 11.1

Security guards and gambling surveillance officers

61.0 31.1 3.9 19.6

Correctional officers and jailers

60.9 32.9 2.7 12.8

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (White, Black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to 100 percent because data are not presented for all races. People whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

In 2020, 12.1 percent of all workers were Black, but they accounted for 19.4 percent of people employed in protective service jobs. Among protective service occupations, Blacks were overrepresented among correctional officers and jailers (32.9 percent), security guards and gambling surveillance officers (31.1 percent), and first-line supervisors of correctional officers (30.6 percent). Blacks were underrepresented among firefighters (8.4 percent) and first-line supervisors of police and detectives (7.5 percent).

Asians accounted for 6.4 percent of all workers in 2020 but were underrepresented among protective service occupations, making up 2.5 percent of workers in this job category.

Among protective service occupations, the share of workers that were Hispanic in 2020 ranged from 11.1 percent for first-line supervisors of correctional officers to 19.6 percent of security guards and gambling surveillance officers. Hispanics accounted for 17.6 percent of total employment in 2020, slightly higher than their overall share of protective service jobs (15.9 percent).

These data are from the Current Population Survey. People whose ethnicity is Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. See table 11 for more information.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Men accounted for about 75 percent of workers in protective service occupations in 2020 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/men-accounted-for-about-75-percent-of-workers-in-protective-service-occupations-in-2020.htm (visited November 28, 2021).

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