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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
FRANCES PERKINS, Secretary

WOMEN’S BUREAU
MARY ANDERSON, Director

+

OFFICE WORK IN HOUSTON
1940

SjTtt OT

Bulletin

of the

Women’s Bureau, No. 188-1

United States
Government Printing Office
Washington : 1942

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.

\hp■
Il-i:



Price 10 cents




CONTENTS
Page

Introduction____________________
J ypes of business that employ office workers___ _
__
Demand for new office workers___
________
Beginners___________________
^
Experienced workers____
__________
Character of office occupations__ ___
Occupational distribution... _______
Description of office vrork in Houston’s outstanding industries
Petroleum producing and refining offices___
Oil equipment and supply manufacturing offices
Occupation and type of office_______
Education and experience of office workers
" "
Educational status________________
Education and occupation____________
___
Education and type of office_________
Experience____ I______________
Age factor_______________ _______
Experience and occupation______ ____
Number of positions held______
Experience and type of office.__ _
Earnings in 1940 __________ _
Method of pay________ ________ ’___ " J
Monthly salary rates by type of office
Women__________________
Men____________________
’
Distribution by rate_______ ------­
Monthly salary rates by occupation
Stenographic group__________ _________
Accounting group_____ ___________ " ’
Machine operators_______
Other clerks_________
Special office workers_
_
Supervisory, professional, and so forth
Distribution by rate______
_
Weekly earnings compared with salary rates
Hours of work__________ _______ ____
_
Overtime work and pay _______
Effects of experience and education on rates of pay _
Monthly rates paid to beginners_________ __ _
Advancing rates with experience_____ ______
Occupational experience and salary advancement
type of office and salary advancement __
i Average salary according to number of positions held
i,duration and salary advancement
Age and salary_________________
Annual earnings_________________
Regularity of employment_________
_
_
Annual earnings by type of office. ...
" "_
Annual earnings by occupation...
~~
Personnel policies__________________ _
_
_ *
_
' * ~
Restrictions on employment for sex or marital status .
Source of new employees_____________
Dismissal procedure________________
Retirement systems___________ ~ ~
Salary increases and promotions__________ _
\ arious welfare policies__________ _ _
Houston’s school facilities for training'office workers...




1

3
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5

6
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16
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18
18
19
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22
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24
25
26
29
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46
48
48
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52
52
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54
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56
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hi

CONTENTS

IV

TABLES

I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIIT.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII
XIV

XV
XVI

Number of offices scheduled, number of men and women employed,
and number of records secured, 1940, by type of office—Houston
Distribution bv occupation of all employees reported, and pre­
dominance of men or of women in each occupation—Houston
Number of women and men regular employees in the various types
of office, bv occupational group- Houston _
.......
.......
Total office experience of employees, by occupational group
Houston--------------------------------------------- — - —
VI
Percent distribution of employees according to length of experi­
ence with present employer, by type of office Houston----- -Average monthly salary rates of men and women regular employ­
ees in offices, 1940, by type of office—Houston-----------Percent distribution of men and women regular employees in
offices according to monthly salary rate, 1940, by type of office
Houston--------------------- -----------------------.--------Average monthly salary rates of men and women regular em­
ployees in offices, 1940, by occupation—Houston------Percent distribution of men and women regular employees in offices
according to monthly salary rate, 1940, by occupation Hous­
ton------------------------------------------------------- ------------------ t—
Changes in rates of employees whose total experience has been
with same firm, by years with firm—Houston. --------------44
Average monthly salary of employees with over-all years of experi­
ence reported, by occupational group—Houston------------- Average monthly salary according to length of service with present
firm, bv type of office—Houston------------------ ------------------ - Average monthly salary of employees in the various age groups,
by type of office—Houston--------------------- ;........ ........ - ------------Average monthly salary of employees of various ages, by occupa­
tional group—Houston-------- ---------- ---------------------; ------Percent distribution of employees according to annual earnings
for work in 48 weeks or more of 1939, by type of office Houston _
Average annual earnings of employees who worked 48 weeks or
more in 1939, by occupation—Houston-----------------------------------

‘ CHARTS
I

ProDortion of women and of men in each of the chief occupations—
Houston----------------------------------------------- . FacmS
II. Distribution of women and of men according to monthly salary
rates, by occupation—Houston----------------------------------------------




7

14

40
16
'

44
4'

5
o3
54

Chart I.—PROPORTION OP WOMEN AND OP MEN IN EACH OP THE
CHIEF OCCUPATIONS—HOUSTON
[Each complete figure=*5 percent]
STENOGRAPHIC GROUP

I—-----------------100 percent---------------------j

Secretary

Stenographer

Typiet
ACCOUNTING GROUP
Accounting clerk

Audit and bookkeeping

Bookkeeper, hand

Cashier, teller
MACHINE OPERATORS

itllWiMMMflMtt®
IlMlilitMtttMttM

Bookkeeping and billing

Key punch

Calculating
OTHER CLERKS
Draftsman

Statistical

Tax

Messenger

Stock

Collection and credit

Pile

Record

Telephone




BgWgBWWBBM

OFFICE WORK IN HOUSTON, 1940
INTRODUCTION
Houston was chosen as one of the five cities in which the office
workers’ survey should be made because it presents a picture of office
conditions in a southern port city where the commercial life is domi­
nated by one industry. This industry is the producing, refining, and
distributing of petroleum. Situated within 150 miles of many pro­
ducing oil fields, the city is the center of oil and gas producing and
refining companies and also of manufacturing plants and manu­
facturers’ distributing branches that supply oil-field equipment and
material. Other varied manufacture, unrelated to petroleum but
sharing the facilities available for that industry, also is located in
Houston; rice milling, cotton compressing, cottonseed-oil pressing,
soap and shortening, chemicals, paper pulp, and miscellaneous prod­
ucts also cast the character of service needed in Houston’s offices.
To meet the requirements of these mining and manufacturing indus- '
tries, five major railroad systems service the city. Oceangoing
vessels enter Houston’s deepened ship channel through Galveston Bay
from the Gulf of Mexico. Thirteen banks furnish financial facilities.
A retail distribution system, home, personal, and business servicing
systems, have grown up to care for the needs not only of the 384,514
persons in Houston but, to some extent, of the more than a million
people in Houston’s trade area.1 Educational, governmental, and
social-service activities also have been developed to meet the needs
of this growing industrial city.
The functioning of these industrial, commercial, educational, social,
and governmental bodies is facilitated by approximately 24,000 office
workers.2 “Office workers” as used in this report is an inclusive term
covering not only those usually known as clerical workers, but others
employed in offices whose duties are nonclerical or only partially
clerical in nature. The term includes functions characteristic of
many offices, such as bookkeeping, accounting, credit, collection,
order, billing and statement, pay roll, filing, general record keeping,
secretarial and stenographic activities, and the operation of various
office machines. It also covers specialized groups, such as purchasing
agents, claims examiners, appraisers, personnel managers, publicity
clerks, credit authorizes, whose duties are carried on in the office
but are not of a clerical nature. The term includes persons only part
of whose time may call for clerical procedures, such as route clerks,
lo’ M40d pin2ia2ted by Batten’ Barton’ Durstine, and Osborn and quoted by “Sales Management,” April
2 Estimates of numbers arc based on number of office workers in firms’ schedules, on reports of firms
tfons1 t°heI1r1Vi1»mrhJ)Utrnr’ scheduled; on 1939 Census firm data, on data obtained from specific trade associat
v w n AChaml?er of Commerce, the Community Chest, the Texas State Employment Service, the
x. w. o. A. employment service.




1

2

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

estimators, production clerks, or service personnel; clerical-professional
groups such as auditors, accountants, and statisticians; and such non­
clerical groups as receptionists, messengers, telephone-switchboard
operators, and information persons in offices. In the administrative
and executive group shown separately are included those salaried
employees so designated by the person interviewed in each office.
Thus “office work” covers all occupations the duties of which are
carried on within offices, but not those whose personnel center in an
office but whose duties must be discharged outside the office.




TYPES OF BUSINESS THAT EMPLOY OFFICE
WORKERS
Houston petroleum companies may produce the crude oil, refine it,
and operate pipe lines, qr they may engage in only one of these func­
tions. Many of the services rendered by professional workers or spe­
cialists for large petroleum companies in development and marketing
also are carried on independently by geologists, geophysicists, survey­
ors, drillers, or marketers in offices of their own. All such large and
small company offices, together with the major petroleum offices, gave
employment in 1940 to approximately 7,000 men and women, not
including technical, professional, field workers, nor sales force. This
is by far the largest volume of office employment afforded by any
Houston industry. Petroleum companies vary widely as to the num­
ber of office workers employed. The four large producers and their
pipe-line divisions employ over two-fifths of all petroleum company
office workers; 13 other companies employ 20 to 100 workers each;
while almost half of the office workers are scattered in small numbers
in the many offices of small producers, operators, marketers, surveyors,
drillers, and professional groups.
Oil industry equipment manufacture is carried on in a few7 large
plants and many small factories. In only two companies does the
staff of the plant office and the distribution office exceed 100 in num­
ber; the majority of other factories employ fewer than 10 persons.
This situation is found also in offices of other manufactures. A small
number have staffs of 20 or more, but the majority employ fewrer than
10 clerks regardless of whether the product manufactured is sheet
metal, bags, or bread. In the printing and publishing field there are
four companies that employ from 33 to 97 office workers, but others
employ only a few.
Closely related in function to the distributing offices of local manu­
facturers are the distributing offices of manufacturers with plants clsewhere than in Houston. Only a few outside manufacturers’ distrib­
uting offices employ 5 or more persons. Wholesale merchants, brokers,
and agents, while numerous, employ relatively few per office. It is
estimated that local and outside manufacturers’ and wholesale dis­
tributors’ offices together give employment to something less than
5,000 workers.
Transportation affords employment to about 2,200 office workers.
The large numbers are in the general offices of three major railroads.
Others are employed in division railway offices, by steamship com­
panies, by freight and terminal shipping companies, and by motorcoach and airline offices.
Private banks employ approximately 825 office workers. The
separate establishments employ from 6 employees in a branch bank
to more than 100 in the main office. The more usual number, how­
ever, is around 30 to 50 employees.
423486°—42------2
3



4

OFFICE WORK. AND OFFICE WORKERS

Investment companies, building and loan associations, personal and
chattel loan associations have been grouped as “other financial insti­
tutions.” No single firm employed 50 office workers but together their
employment reached approximately 500 persons.
All types of insurance are written by insurance firms in Houston,
which is the seat of home offices, branch offices, many agent offices,
as well as insurance analysts and inspection services. A few offices
have more than 100 workers, but the majority of offices are small.
A careful estimate of numbers employed in office capacities indicates
something more than 1,200 office workers Qpncerned with insurance.
Houston is served by two gas companies, a light and power com­
pany, the telephone company, and telegraph companies. Four of
these companies employ about 100 or more office workers, and the
total for all such companies is over 900.
Government offices give employment to an even larger group. The
city and county business requires approximately 600 office workers,
though many of such offices have but one worker. These figures do
not include the public school system nor hospitals, which are classified
elsewhere. State offices in Houston include the State Employment
Service, Highway Department, Department of Public Welfare, Prison
Board, and other offices with only a few clerks. The Federal Gov­
ernment increases the total of office workers in Houston by some 500
or more. Many Federal offices employ groups of workers not com­
parable with other types; the Post Office is illustrative of workers not
included in this survey.
The city school service, the schools of higher education in the city,
and the private schools give employment to about 175 in their offices.
When professional workers are excluded from hospital and social
agency offices, the numbers in such offices are not large, totaling
about 275.
Only a few of the retail stores in Houston employ large numbers of
office workers; in fact, only three employ 50 or more. Though many
of the thousands of small stores employ, no clerical service, it is esti­
mated that about 1,200 workers have employment in office capacities.
Hotels, restaurants, and other eating places, laundries and other per­
sonal service establishments swell the number engaged in clerical
pursuits.
Over and above all these businesses and services are the great num­
bers of small offices engaged in advertising, real estate, and other forms
of business, attorneys’, doctors’, and other professional offices, and
organization offices. Many of these have no employees, many others
have only 1; a few offices have more than 10. But here again the total
reaches over 2,000.
The business structure of Houston is such that the majority of office
workers find employment with small firms, transacting different types
of business. Only in a few oil companies, a few manufacturing plants,
in two railroad offices, in several banks and insurance companies, in
the utility offices, and in a very few wholesale and retail distribution
offices are large numbers employed by a single firm.
DEMAND FOR NEW OFFICE WORKERS

The demand for office workers varies from year to year as changing
conditions affect the type and volume of business in the cl tv. Hous­



TYPES OF BUSINESS—HOUSTON

5

ton grew in population and commercial activity from 1929 to 1939:
The 1940 Census of Population records a 32-percent increase over
1930 in persons in the city; the Census of Wholesale Trade shows a
48-percent increase in wage earners in the 10 years 1929 to 1939.
The Houston Chamber of Commerce reports 600 new business
activities launched in 1939,3 most of which are concerned with mer­
chandising, the professions, or petroleum; this in spite of the fact that
the European situation had repercussions in the city’s basic industries.
Petroleum, cotton, and shipping had been affected adversely by war
conditions in 1940. But the building of a few factories for making
products for consumption in this country also began in Houston in
the same year.
In addition to changes in demand for office workers following such
business shifts, normal losses in staff due to advancement to other
positions, changes to other occupations, sickness and death, go on
continuously. These shifts are reflected in the proportion of new
office employees taken on in 1939. “New employees” are persons
employed for the first time by a specific firm. They may be beginners
in office work; or they may be experienced persons, unemployed or
transferring from one firm to another, or from other communities.
New employment may have resulted because of the opening of an
office, or the expansion of activities in an established office, or through
replacement of other workers. Regardless of cause, men and women
employed by an office for the first time in 1939 formed approximately
12 percent of the total number of office employees in 1940. Such was
the degree of adjustment taking place in one year.
Examination of the composition of such change reveals close
correspondence between numbers of new workers employed and the
reported condition of specific industries. For example, the addition
of new workers in railroad offices is infrequent, due to the policy of
priority in employment of older employees. The lack of expansion
of the petroleum industry resulted in a change of only 6 percent in
numbers employed. In wholesale distribution, however, the increase
was marked; it was largest in the many small offices engaged in
rendering business, professional, and personal services in the city.
Beginners.

About 4 in every 10 new persons employed in offices were beginners.
The number (1,150) corresponds roughly to the oral statements of
schools as to the numbers they had placed, it may be taken to
represent thefl939-40 demand for beginners, whether as additions to
the office staff or as replacements.
The question has been asked as to how much time elapses between
leaving school and securing the first job in an office. In the present
study this question was confined to people beginning work in 1935 or
thereafter, so it represents conditions between 1935 and 1940.
Seventy-two in every 100 women secured their first office job within
a year after graduation; 19 in every 100, more than a year after
graduation but before 2 years were past. Thus 91 percent of the
women reported had secured work within a relatively short time after
completing school. Men reported seem to have had more difficulty
in securing jobs; only 58 in every 100 secured their office jobs in the
first year, and 17 in every 100 in 1 but less than 2 years, after leaving
3 Based on utility connections.




6

OFFICE WORK AKD OFFICE WORKERS

school. While all but a few women went first into office work, about
one-fifth of the men engaged first in some other type of employment.
Eleven in every 100 men who had not secured an office job within 4
years had engaged in other than office work. Among these were
college as well as grammar-school graduates.
Experienced workers.

How’ many of the experienced workers employed had been dismissed
by other firms through reductions in staff or through closing offices in
Houston is not known. However, the offices in which the largest
number of experienced persons were taken on in 1939. were those of
new or expanding firms, indicating that a part of the new employment
of experienced workers was the result of new developments in business
or in the professions.
Whatever the cause of employment of new office workers, a con­
servative estimate of the requirement of additional workers would
appear to be about 2,800 a year under 1940 conditions.
There is a limited demand for office workers as “extras,” that is,
for employment over short periods. The educational system employs
more extra clerks than regulars during a part of the year. Printing
and publicity firms call for mail clerks and other clerks for special
work. For the most part, however, extras are employed during
vacation periods to substitute for PBX operators, stenographers, or
other personnel in small offices.




CHARACTER OF OFFICE OCCUPATIONS
Jn addition to the data concerning the types of offices and their
requirements as to services, a detailed sample study was made of the
occupations in each type of office, the qualifications possessed by those
employed in such occupations, the salaries paid, the annual earnings,
the hours worked, the possibilities of advancement, and other firm
policies relating to the many phases of office employment.
A cross-section picture of all types of offices in Houston was desired.
This was secured with the exception of the electric power and gas
company offices, which refused access to their pay rolls and office
personnel records. While their office employees represent only 2%
percent of the total number employed in Houston, the cross-section
picture is out of focus to the extent that these companies may have
conditions of employment somewhat different from those of other
companies. Descriptions of occupations in this kind of office will be
Table

I.—Number of offices scheduled, number of men and women employed, and

number of records secured, 1940, by type of office—HOUSTON
Number of men and
women employed

Employee records secured
Employees

Numoffices
sched­
uled

Type of office

Total

Men

Worn-

Num­
ber
of
offices

Total

Men

Per­
Num­ cent of
ber
total

Women

220

9,232

5,329

3,903

216

7,163

3,823

3, 340

46.6

18

8

303
435

160
154

143
281

18
8

303
435

160
154

143
281

47.2
64.6

3
2

1,233
318
601

957
62
208

276
256
393

3
2
0

718
318
0

552
62

166
256

23.1
80.5

19

3,411

2,383

1,028

U9

2,467

1,492

975

39.5

6
35

242
827

98
547

144
280

6
35

242
827

98
547

144
280

59.5
33.9

14
6

175
258

88
43

87
215

14
6

175
258

88
43

87
215

49.7
83.3

5

409

223

186

5

409

223

186

45.5

5

461

243

218

5

461

243

218

47.3

2
94

121
438

10
153

111
285

2
93

121
429

10
151

111
278

91.7
64.8

Oil producing, refining, and dis-

Department and apparel stores----State, city, and county govern-

Other types of office................ .

---

1 Group occupational data were reported by 2 companies, individual employee data being unobtainable.
For this reason tables showing data for individuals—for example, personal information such as age, edu­
cation, experience; percent distributions; salaries other than the simple arithmetic average (the mean)—
are based on the smaller nnmbers, with reports by 17 oil companies.




7

8

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

found in the report on Philadelphia in the present series. Wages paid
in Philadelphia and in other cities in the present study will indicate
wage possibilities.
The survey of offices was conducted in the spring and early summer
of 1940 by interviews with officials of the various firms and by tran­
scription of data from their pay-roll cards and individual employee
records. A survey was made also of all schools offering courses for
office workers in an endeavor to measure the volume of training
against the need for office service.
Table I shows, by type of office, the total numbers of employees
and the numbers for whom records were secured in the firms scheduled
by the Women’s Bureau.
OCCUPATIONAL DISTRIBUTION

As has been stated, two factors dominate the Houston office scene:
(1) The petroleum industry, and (2) the large proportion of small
offices. In this survey about four-fifths of the offices visited had
fewer than 25 employees and less than one-tenth had 100 or more.
It is not surprising, therefore, to find one-fourth of the workers in the
secretarial and stenographic group, employed as typists, on dictating
machines, as stenographers and secretaries. Small offices demand per­
sonnel for the taking of dictation and to do typing but they are likely
to call on them for many other services when employed. Large offices
may limit the activities demanded of each occupation to the basic
skills, but even in large offices there are wide differences in the char­
acter of work stenographers, typists, and secretaries are called upon
to do. These positions generally are filled by women, though men
stenographers and typists are employed by petroleum companies, by
railroads, by manufacturing and distributing firms, and in Federal
Government offices to a limited extent.
Bookkeeping and accounting are done by 13 of cveiy 100 office
workers. Under this head are included accountant-clerks, audit and
bookkeeping clerks, hand bookkeepers, and cashiers and tellers.
Women are employed as cashiers and tellers as frequently as men, but
in the other accounting occupations men greatly predominate.
Another distinct occupational classification is the machine operator,
that is, operators of bookkeeping and billing machines, calculating
machines, key punches, and other office machines. Only 7}{ in every
100 are employed in these capacities. Calculating and key-punch
operators are women. Men and women are employed as bookkeepingand billing-machine operators, but men more frequently than women
operate duplicating and tabulating machines.
There are many other office occupations which require specific skills,
occupations somewhat similar from office to office. In many offices,
however, the type of business determines the work which employees
must do and transfer to a different type of business would involve a
retraining period. Because the numbers in specific occupations are
often small, only the occupations in which 25 or more persons are
employed are listed separately. These are to a large extent the occu­
pations found in various types of offices. All other clerks are shown
by the type of industry in which they are engaged.




CHARACTER OF OCCUPATIONS---- HOUSTON
Table

II.

9

Distribution by occupation of all employees reported, and predominance
of men or of women in each occupation—HOUSTON
Total
Occupation

Women

Men

Number

All occupations____

__
_

Percent
of grand
total

Number

Percent
of group
total 1

Number

Percent
of group
total1

_ _
_

2 5,815

100.0

2,690

46.3

3,125

53.7

Administrative, executive, elerieal-professional_______________________________
Extra and part-time workers
Regular office workers ________________

562
56
5,197

9.7
1.0
89.4

51
43
2, 596

9. 1
76.8
50.0

511
13
2, 601

90.9
23.2
50.0

Regular:
Stenographic group

1, 450

24.9

1,234

85. 1

216

14.9

370
700
336
44

6.4
-12.0
5.8
.8

304
584
302
44

82.2
83.4
89.9

66
116
34

17.8
16.6
10.1

761

13.1

209

27.5

552

72.5

346
96
150
169

6.0
1.7
2.6
2.9

45
24
53
87

13.0
25.0
35.3
51.5

301
72
97
82

87.0
75.0
64.7
48.5

434

7.5

305

70.3

129

29.7

147
137
42
61
34
13

2.5
2.4
7
1.0
.6
.2

87
132
12
58
8
8

59.2
96.4

40.8
3.6

95. 1

60
5
30
3
26
5

1, 495

25.7

490

32.8

1,005

67. 2

62
44
67
85
190
37
37
137
32
26
38
25
47
45
113
66
64
180
63
137

1.1
.8
1.2
1.5
3.3
.6
.6
2.4
.6
.4

17

27.4

72.6

27

40.3

88
37
6

46.3

45
44
40
85
102

.4
.8
.8
1.9
1.1
1.1
3. 1
1.1
2. 4

4
62
56
8
27

54.9
84.9
12.5
15.0

137

100. 0

763

13. 1

323

42.3

440

57.7

101
26
57

1. 7
.4
1.0

56
25
30

55.4

44.6

52.6

45
1
27

106
103

1.8
1.8

31
37

29. 2
35.9

75
66

70.8
64. 1

132
70
50
32
86

2.3
1.2
.9
.6
1.5

9
43
5
30
57

6.8
61.4
10. 0

93.2
38.6
90.0

66. 3

123
27
45
2
29.

294

5.1

35

11.9

259

88.1

Secretary_____
Stenographer-_ _______ _____
...
Typist________ ___ _____ _____ .
Dictating-machine transcriber
Accounting group__ _______

____

Accounting clerk
Audit and bookkeeping clerk____
Bookkeeper, hand ____________
Cashier, teller
Machine operators-

_
_

______

Bookkeeping and billing
.
Calculating ______ ______ _____
Key punch ________ __________
Addressograph

.......

.......

Other clerks_____________ ______ _
Billing and statement
Collection and credit
Draftsman
File____
Mail'
Messenger

Record.......... Service desk.
Statistical
Stock
Tax

____

_____ ___ _ _.
________ .... .

Clerks not elsewhere classified...
Finance and insurance. _ ______
Printing and publishing...............
Other manufacturing and wholesale distributors
All Government offices.
Oil producing, refining, and distributing _________________ __
Telephone and telegraph
Railroads ___________
______
Other types of office................
Special office workers___________

8
11
2

1 Percent not compute! where base less than 50.

! Excludes employees of 2 oil companies not reporting detailed data.




31
137
24
26
27
23
47
41
51
10
56
153
63

4.9

59.7
100. 0
53. 7
100. o

45. 1
15. 1
87.5
85.0
100. 0

47.4

33.7

10

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

In clerical occupations listed separately women exclusively are
employed as receptionists and as telephone operators. They are
found also in relatively large numbers at service desks, as collection
and credit clerks, file clerks, and record clerks. Men exclusively are
employed as claims examiners, draftsmen, messengers, shipping clerks,
production clerics, and tax clerks.
1 “Special” office workers, or those who have specialized nonprofes­
sional duties of a nonclerical nature, comprise 5 in every 100 em­
ployees. Only one-eighth of such workers are women.
Over and above these groups is the administrative, executive, and
clerical-professional group. The persons listed as administrative and
executive are those so designated by the firm. Included are such
occupations as general manager, office manager, department head,
production manager, other supervisor, executive secretary, chief
clerk, administrative officer, cashier, and comptroller. Among the
clerical-professional workers attached to Houston offices are auditors,
accountants, and statisticians, actuaries, advertising-copy writers,
editors, and nurse-secretaries. Professional workers such as attorneys,
social workers, technicians, dietitians, chemists, doctors, pharmacists,
engineers, geologists, and paleontologists were not included in this
study. This administrative, executive, and clerical-professional group
constitutes 10 percent of the office workers in Houston. Ninety-one
percent of these employees are men.
Extra and part-time workers, largely women stenographers and typ­
ists, comprise 1 percent of all employed at the time the pay-roll data
were secured.
DESCRIPTION OF OFFICE WORK IN HOUSTON’S
OUTSTANDING INDUSTRIES

While the size of the office is as much a factor in determining the
specific tasks to be done as is the type of business, the work required
in Houston’s prevailing office-employing industries can best be
understood if occupations are described as lound in companies where
size permits distinct division of functions.
Petroleum producing and refining offices.

The work in petroleum company offices may be analyzed under
five or six general departments, though the organization in any one
company may vary greatly from such an outline. These general
departments are: Lease and land, Production, Purchasing, Account­
ing, Sales, and General administration.
In the lease and land department are found some occupations that
require specialized knowledge or training and some duties other
than ordinary clerical activities. Employees in such occupations
have been classed as special workers and have occupational titles
such as lease recorder, title clerk, land and title man, leaseman,
landman, or lease hound. These employees are all men who have
technical legal knowledge and whose duties include contacting and
making “Negotiations with land owners for drilling leases, oil royalties
and land options.” They “must be familiar with company policies




CHARACTER OF OCCUPATIONS- HOUSTON

11

and practices and with local. State, and Federal laws relating to
petroleum leases.” 4
.
In the production department are found some office occupations
peculiar to the oil industry. The work in this department may be
handled in various divisions, such as geological, engineering, refining,
and measurement.
In the geological division, whose function is to analyze rock and
soil specimens and carry on exploration for new oil fields, clerical
work such as secretarial, stenographic, and filing may require some
knowledge of scientific terms. In this division also may be occupa­
tions only partly clerical. Unless the employee spends half or more
of his time at clerical work he is not included in this study. “Sample
workers” and “scouts” are of this type of occupation. The former
may well be a beginning job for a young man with a little technical
knowledge." He washes samples sent in from the field and decides
whether to turn them over for further examination to a trained
geologist or paleontologist; in addition, he may keep records and
files and do general clerical work in the department. A few sample
washers are included in tables under the group “clerks not elsewhere
classified” for the oil industry. Scouts, part of whose work may
be clerical, “investigate and obtain from other oil fields information
concerning drilling operations, geological data, land and lease deals.” 4
Some scouts may be classed as professional rather than clerical
workers, as they must have a “knowledge of production engineering,
oil field practices, and geology.” 4 The few scouts who are included
in this study are classed as special office workers. In this division
and also in the engineering division may be found map or log charters,
an occupation requiring less technical knowledge or training than
that of draftsmen, but nevertheless requiring the ability to under­
stand and interpret the field notes of geologists or engineers. These
special occupations have been classed under special office workers,
as have some junior draftsmen in the engineering division who have
not had complete engineering training and make fairly routine, or
simple drawings or charts.
In the measurement division records are kept of the amount of
oil produced, stored, or piped. If a pipe line is operated there are
in the division “dispatchers,” who keep the oil or gas flowing through
the line on correct schedules and at proper pressures. They must
contact various points along the pipe line to check on the flow, and
keep in touch frequently with field stations. Usually these men
have worked in the field, as they must have considerable experience
and knowledge. This group also has been classed as special office
workers.
.
The accounting department may be made up of station accountants
as well as traveling accountants who supervise accounts of branch
plants. Only the former are included in this study. The depart­
ment keeps all kinds of cost and operating records, prepares pay
rolls, financial reports and tax returns, social security taxes, and
makes special analyses of sales, costs, and labor figures. Occupations
are hand bookkeepers including ledger clerks, bookkeeper cashiers,
investment ledger clerks engaged in the manual posting of books for
i xi. S. Department or Labor.
Definitions of Titles. .Tune 1939.
423486°- 42-------3




Employment Service.

Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

Part 1,

12

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

cost and operating records. Bookkeeping-machine operators, tabu­
lating-machine operators, timekeepers, pay-roll clerks, file clerks,
typists, and stenographers are found in this department.
In the purchasing, sales, and general administration department*
are found order clerks, distribution clerks, job-order clerks, invoice
clerks, who are responsible for the performance of specific tasks.
These or other members of the staff may supervise the work of pur­
chase-order clerks, checking clerks, posting clerks, accounting clerks,
file clerks, or others engaged in repetitious work. Addressing-and
mailing-machine operators, dictating-machine transcribers, typists,
stenographers, secretaries, PBX operators, messengers, and reception
clerks complete the picture of usual occupations in a large petroleum
company.
Oil equipment and supply manufacturing offices.

Oil refining tool, equipment, and supply manufacture also is pecu­
liar to Houston and offers employment to large numbers of office
workers. The feature distinguishing the office work in these tool and
equipment manufacturing companies is the relatively large number
of employees who fall on the borderline between clerical and shop
workers. These are men stock clerks or stock record clerks whose
duties may include cutting, assembling, cleaning stock, as well as
keeping a great variety of records concerning the stock and its move­
ments. More than half the stock clerks in Houston are in oil equip­
ment manufacturing establishments.
For convenience, the work in the offices of tool and equipment man­
ufacturing companies is outlined by departments though the organiza­
tion of the work may be very differently arranged in specific companies.
In the engineering department, clerical workers keep files of draw­
ings, blue prints, specifications, records of materials, and estimates
concerning tool and equipment designs. They do mathematical com­
puting and simple drafting, and provide information for the production
department by writing shop orders or revising drawings or specifica­
tions.
The production department’s staff prepares and issues estimates and
orders for new shop equipment, for tool patterns, and other basic
parts. It also issues plant work orders based on schedules of produc­
tion planned with other departments such as stock, material control,
and shop performance. Records are typed and filed for all estimates
and orders. Time-study men analyze and time the productive proc­
esses, maintain production records, prepare and submit reports. The
inspection group keep records of inspection tickets and make reports
concerning inspected and finished products.
The material control department keeps careful records of the amount
of material on hand, in warehouses, in process of manufacture, and in
finished state, and maintains control and a proper balance of stocks.
The clerical staff checks all invoices, all discrepancies, files stock rec­
ords, checks shipping orders, inspection tickets, keeps record of deliv­
eries and of the conditions of stock, rough and finished.
The shop performance department keeps records of the extent to
which production is following schedule. Clerical workers check and
verify reports on finished products and products in process, compile
data on time cards in relation to production to determine efficiency,




CHARACTER OF OCCUPATIONS---- HOUSTON

13

post reports on progress of materials through manufacturing process,
file and close orders and check rush orders. They also check tools
and order needed tools.
The stock department, under a head stockkeeper, has stock clerks
and receiving clerks who receive, store, distribute and keep records of
stock, its source, progress, and destination. They write tickets, fill
invoices, make up work sheets, check stock records against material
control records, make up hills of material used. Among these stock
clerks are the so-called peripheral clerical employees, for their duties
may include nonclerical work, such as cutting steel, cleaning and assem­
bling patterns, and other such duties in connection with filling stock
requisitions.
The purchasing department employs purchase-record clerks, billing
clerks, and a purchasing agent. The shipping department has invoice
clerks, typists, shipping clerks, who check shipping orders against the
product to go out, keep files of orders, record all shipments, give value
of export shipments to traffic manager, attach and check confirmation
to invoices, send shipping order acknowledgments. A special man­
ager and a traffic clerk handle all matters relating to transportation,
negotiating with rail, truck, and steamship lines for rate reductions,
adjusting claims for losses and overcharges, routing freight over the
most favorable lines, verifying rates, preparing rate sheets.
The sales department order clerks, who handle and post records
concerning orders, see that the necessary routine for filling them is
followed. This department also has stock-record clerks who answer
inquiries with reference to quotations on stock for sale, and see t.list
adequate stocks arc maintained for the sales department. There may
he a manager who handles sales correspondence, compiles statistics
on sales, and supervises the clerical workers, and an advertising mana­
ger who writes up catalogues, publicity, puts on exhibits, and pro­
motes the company’s products in every way. This work calls also
for a billing-machine operator, a shipping-order clerk who checks up
the shipping department and keeps records of all orders sent out, and
an adjustment clerk who handles all complaints from customers.
General, administration may include a personnel department that
keeps time records, personnel files, job ratings, and other files relating
to the factory and office personnel. Special clerks may aid with
first-aid records, safety campaigns, and other activities.
.
In addition to the special services rendered, throughout each of
these departments are found secretaries, stenographers, typists, file
clerks, messengers, and others carrying on the usual clerical activities.
In contrast to the foregoing detailed analysis, a cotton-compressing
firm reports simply the following seven groups of occupations: Cotton
classers and checkers, clerks, secretaries, accountants, bookkeepers,
telephone operators, and tabulating-machine operators.
As a detailed description of office occupations in railroads, insurance,
banks, and other firms, found in other cities as well as Houston, is
presented as part of the complete report, such description will not be
repeated here. It is important to remember, however, that the small­
ness of many offices in Houston places importance on the general
clerk-stenographer.




14

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

OCCUPATION AND TYPE OF OFFICE

The accompanying table III shows to what extent the various occu­
pational groups are employed in each type of office.
Table III.—Number

of women and men regular employees in the various types of
office, by occupational group—HOUSTON
J
Number of regular employees

b£
a
C
c
a
0)
Sx
co
8
e
©

Type of office

Ui
rC
E
3
£

All types ___
Banks and other finance___
Insurance__________________
Railroads________________
Telephone and telegraph.."’”"”
Oil producing, refining, and dis­
tributing____ ________

Total

3
a
©
£

s
a

Steno­
graphic
group

Ac­
count­
ing
group

Ma­
chine
opera­
tors

a
0)
a
o
£

a
CD
a
o
is

a
d
a
o
£

a
a>
s

a
Q
s

Other
clerks
(see
tabic II
for
specific
occupa­
tions)

1

s
§

o
£

a
a>
£

Clerks
not else­
where
classi­
Special
fied
office
(duties
workers
depend
on type
of
office)
a
<D
a
o
£

a
CD
£

214 2, 596 2, 601 1, 234 216 209 552 305 129 490
1005 323 440
18 137 131
62
2 10 47
6 23 34 31 — 19
24
8 265 117 138
7 11 28 26
9 56 26 32 26
3 158 423
71 46 15 115 40 18 26 170
5 45
2 248
57
43
2 18
3 15
1 129 42 43 27

©
E
o
£

a
§

35 259
1
2

9
21

1

29
2

17

313

689

194

76

24

47 260

Printing and publishing . _
Other manufacturing_____ _ _ _

3

76

6
35

141
273

85
481

51
116

1
38

26
18

19
90

9
74

14

24 33
41 258

Wholesale distributors________
Department and apparel stores.

30
23

27
52

1
1

5
29

14
6

86
206

85
39

43
30

1

9
49

10
11

13
48

8
3

13
45

Federal Government__ ______
State, city, and county govern­
ments____________'______

8
30

23
2

4

5
6

s

181

166

141

22

7

47

5

12

17

28

11

18

5

210

208

127

9

13

21

7

13

19

86

26

48

18j

31

2
93 j

108
270

6
114

78
140,

12

2
26

2
1
29 J

4

1
38

3
33

25
57

1
29

1
3

Education..

_______

Other types of office

____

_____

5 130

55

38
17

9 123

39

7

When read across, table III serves to show for each type of office
the relative employment of the various occupational groups- when
read up and down it shows for each occupational group the relative
employment m the various types of office.
ruative
Women.

Seventeen oil companies employ the largest number of all the
women reported (12 percent of the total) and the largest number of
tbe stenographic group, though the latter average only 11 per oil
ffim m contrast to more than twice that in railroads and in local and
Federal Governments. The 2 educational offices average 39 women
pei irm m the stenographic group and insurance averages 17 The
stores and wholesale distribution appear to be small employers of
women for such occupations.
employers oi
K ™f at°reS an-d prmtln" .and Publishing lead all other offices in num­
ber of women in accounting occupations, though averaging only 8
and 4 to the firm. Oil and education offices employ few
7




CHARACTER OF OCCUPATIONS—HOUSTON

15

Manufacturing employs the most women machine operators, and
oil and stores follow; however, the first two of these average only
two or three to a firm, whereas the. stores average eight. Banks,
the Federal Government, and the educational offices employ very
few.
As stated, the oil industry employs the most women in all occupa­
tions combined, though with an average per firm of only 18. The
two telephone and telegraph companies average the most per firm,
124; railroads and education average respectively 52 and 54, local
government offices 42, the Federal Government 36, the store group
34, and insurance 33. Wholesale distribution, education, and banks
employ the smallest numbers.
Men.

Seventeen oil companies employ also the largest proportion (26
percent) of all men employed; further, they employ the largest pro­
portion in each occupational group. In no group, however, does oil
employ the highest average per firm. In the stenographic group, for
example, oil averages only 4 men per firm, in contrast to the railroads’
15; in accounting, only 8 per firm, in contrast to 38 in the railroads;
of machine operators, only 1 per firm, though the railroads average
6; of “other clerks,” 15 per firm, but the railroads average 57; and
the other groups also present contrasts.
Oil is followed as regards the total by manufacturing, and that
industry by railroads, but the 35 manufacturing companies average
only 14 men per firm, with very small numbers in each occupation,
whereas railroads have the highest average for the total (141) and
also the highest in all groups. Education and the stores scheduled
employ the fewest men in office capacities.




EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE OF OFFICE
WORKERS
Three-fifths of the Houston office managers stated as a policy
their willingness to employ inexperienced persons. The occupations
in which beginners are employed are. similar in the various types of
firm: Quite generally, inexperienced typists, stenographers, mail and
file clerks, runners, messengers or office boys, receptionists, billing
clerks, and comptometer operators are given employment.
Educational status.

Very few firms seek college men and women. About half require
high-school status, though not always is graduation demanded.
About half require such special training as is called for in specific occu­
pations.
«
The persons actually employed in positions have had varying
amounts of education. As a group, 53 of every 100 women as com­
pared with 36 of every 100 men are graduates of high school. Four of
every 100 women in contrast to 8 of every 100 men have only gram­
mar-school education, but 6 of every 100 women in contrast to 12 of
every 100 men have completed college. The records concerning
special business courses taken are incomplete, but those available
indicate that 57 of every 100 women, but only 32 of every 100 men,
have business-school education.
Education and occupation.

In the stenographic field more than half the women employed
have completed high school. About one-fifth have had some college
work, and one-tenth have completed college. While a large number
in this group do not report as to whether they attended business
school, about two-thirds have had such courses. A larger proportion
(37 percent) of women secretaries have been to college, but 49 in
every 100 finished high school only. Considerably larger proportions
of women typists than of stenographers or secretaries failed to com­
plete high school. Men employed in the stenographic group are few,
but the proportions at the extremes of college completed and gram­
mar school only are larger than among women. Obviously, special
circumstances influence the appointment of men in this field.
In the bookkeeping and accounting group almost one-sixth of the
men have completed college and one-fifth have been to college but
are not graduates. Of the women in this group less than one-fifth
have been to college and almost none are graduates. Half of the
women are high-school graduates and another fourth have some
high-school training. Many more women than men reported a
business-school training. Well over half (55 percent) of the men and
women employed as machine operators are high-school graduates.
As many as 57 percent of the women reported definite business-school
16




EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE---- HOUSTON

17

training, but the proportion of men with such training is only 32K
percent.
Half the women file clerks are high-school graduates and the same
number have business-school training. More than a fourth have
been to college. Half the men file clerks also have completed high
school, but only one-seventh have business-school training. Though
comparatively few women who have attended college are employed as
general clerks, men with partial or complete college training are
found among file clerks, mail clerks, stock clerks, statistical clerks,
tax clerks, and production planners. However, the larger proportion
of men in these occupations have only liigh-school education.
In the group of clerks employed in specialized work for specific
types of firms, completion of high school, with a special businessschool course, is the major prerequisite for women. Many more men
than women have had some college work and a much smaller propor­
tion have taken a business-school course.
Education and type of office.

The amount of education workers have had is tied up to some
extent with age. Where there are many older employees there is a
larger proportion of grammar-school workers, as attendance at high
school or college was not so customary 20 years ago as it is today.
In the railroads, which because of seniority policies have a large number
of older employees, 18 percent both of women and of men have gram­
mar-school education only. The only other type of office employing
a considerable group of women with only grammar-school education
is the retail-store office. Petroleum offices and wholesale distributing
offices have male employees 10 percent of whom have only grammarschool education.
Naturally, the highest proportion of women college graduates is
that reported by the offices of educational institutions. In govern­
mental offices are found a number of women with some college train­
ing, but liigh-school graduates exceed these in number. With the
exception of workers in education, railroads, and retail trade, con­
siderable proportions of women office workers report business-school
training.
Men college graduates are found to the largest extent in insurance
offices and Federal offices. Half those in financial offices have com­
pleted high school only, and one-third have some college education.
Of men in the oil industry about one-third stopped after completing
high school and one-fifth did some additional work at college.
The growth of Houston’s population is indicated by the fact that
about 60 percent of the men employed in offices received their educa­
tion elsewhere than in Houston. The proportion of women office
workers who were not educated in Houston is about 53 percent.
Experience.

In the case of women, experience appears to be closely related to
age. Women with 20 years or more of experience comprise 17 in
every 100 employed, as do women who are 40 years of age. and over.
Fourteen in every 100 have 15 and under 20 years of experience and
15 in every 100 are 35 and under 40 years of age; 20 in every 100
have 10 and under 15 years of experience and 20 percent are 30 and
under 35 years old; 22 percent have 5 and under 10 years of experience




18

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

mid 21 percent are 25 and under 30 years old. The 5 in every 100
with less than 1 year’s experience corresponds with the 5 percent under
20 years of age.
The correspondence between experience and age is not so distinct
among men as among women, but it follows the same pattern at the
higher experience and age levels.
Age factor.

i ixed policies concerning th e age at which persons will be employed
in Houston offices are rare. This is true not only of a beginner’s age
but of the maximum age at which any person will be employed. In­
sofar as any firm policy was ascertained, neither boy nor girl* under 18
was to be employed. Actually only 5 in every 100 employed in offices
m 1940 were under 20 years of age.
Women office workers are spread evenly in the 5-year age groups
trom 20 to 35 years; one-fifth of the total are found in each such
group. After 35 years of age, fewer women are employed. The
picture for men is very different. The largest proportion, just over a
fourth, are 40 years and older. While a fair proportion of men are
lound m each age group, there is far less regularity than occurs among
women. Eighteen in every 100 men are 20 and under 25 years of age
21 are 25 and under 30, 17 are 30 and under 35, and 13 are 35 to 40. * ’
Railroad offices and city, State, and county offices employ men
of 40 years and over to the largest extent. At least a fourth of the men
in the petroleum industry and in wholesale and distributing offices are
in this older group. Insurance companies, banks and other financial
houses, and manufacturing offices employ men of 20 and under 30
years in largest number.
Employment of men under 20 years is related to the prevalence of
messenger or office boy, mail, and file-clerk jobs in the different types
of offices. Bookkeepers and accountant clerks are numerous in each
group from 25 years on. Shipping, stock, and order clerks are of all
ages. Billing, statement, collection, and tax clerks tend to be older
men.
Girls under 20 years are employed more frequently by small offices
insurance companies, and retail-store offices. They enter as beginnmg typists, stenographers, mail or file clerks, retail stock clerks, or
receptionists. The railroad offices have the largest proportion of
women of 40 years and over. Oil and local government offices also
retain their older women workers.
Experience and occupation.

Only the telephone-operator, file-clerk, and receptionist group has
as many as 5 percent with experience of less than 1 year. For this
group the figure is 11J4 percent. While all occupations hire beginners,
7 m 10 of all women with experience reported have worked at least 5
years, most of them 10 years and more. Of the stenographic group
only 5 in every 100 have worked less than a year, and another 5 have
worked 1 and under 2 years; in contrast, 23 in every 100 have worked
5 and under 10 years, and 46 have worked 10 vears or more. The
accounting group of women have but 16 percent with less than 5 years’
experience, and 64 percent have worked at least 10 years. Even
among machine operators and other clerks, the very great majority
have an over-all of 5 or more years’ experience.




19

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE---- HOUSTON

Men employed as special office workers, that is, at work of a
nonclerical nature, usually are men with 10 years or more of experi­
ence. The accounting group also is made up of more experienced
men. The inexperienced group are the messengers and file and mail
clerks.
Table

IV.— Total office experience of employees, by occupational group—HOUSTON

Occupational group

Number
of em­
ployees
reported

Percent with total experience ofUnder 1
year

3, under
5 years

5, under 10 years
10 years and over

WOMEN

►A-*"
>

1, under
3 years

___________

1,484

5.2

11.6

11.5

22.1

49.6

Stenographic group______________ _____
Accounting group
Machine operators_________
Receptionists and related occupations .
Other

Total-- ____ ___ _

722
118
218
165
261

4.8
3.4
3.7
11.5
4.2

12.3
6.8
10. 1
13. 3
11.9

13.6
5.9
9.6
9.7
11.1

23.4
20.3
20.2
17.6
23.8

45.8
47.9
49.0

MEN
^

^

Total______________________ _____
Stenographic group
Accounting group.- __________________
Machine operators_______ ______________
Billing and related occupations
Shipping and related occupations
Messengers ____________
File and mail clerks_______ ____ ________
Special office workers
Other

1,709

6.0

10.4

13.7

16.6

53.3

169
427
93
85
172
74
97
146
446

5.3
.9
2.2
4.7
2.3
45.9
22. 7
1.4
4.7

5.3
6.1
18.3
7. 1
10.5
36. 5
26.8
3.4
9.9

13.0
11.7
20.4
17.6
18.6
10.8
18.6
6.8
13.5

20.7
14.1
23.7
16. 5
20.3
- 2.7
6.2
17.8
18.8

55. 6
67.2
35.5
54.1
48.3
4. 1
25.8
70.5
53.1

Number of positions held.

^
^
.

*■
>

Of the women with experience reported, almost half have had 2
or more positions other than that with the firm in which employed at
time of survey. Most of these are women with experience of 5 years or
more, but a few with multiple jobs have had short work histories. The
proportion of men who have had 2 or more jobs is but 36 in every 100;
these are chiefly men with 20 or more years of experience. For about
a third of the women and over two-fifths of the men, all experience has
been in the present place of employment. While the younger em­
ployees are in this group, it includes both men and women of long
experience.
Ten or more years of experience in the present place of employment
was reported for 29 in every 100 women and 35 in every 100 men; 5 and
under 10 years with one firm was reported for about 17 in every 100
women and 18 in every 100 men.
Experience and type of office.

*■
*■

The proportion of experienced workers employed varies by type of
office. In the railroads, over four-fifths both of men and of women
have had 10 or more years of experience with the same road. Telephone and telegraph companies have employed about one-half of
their women and three-fifths of their men 10 years and more. In
petroleum companies, more than half of all the men and women em423483°- 42-------4




20

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

ployed have been with the same firm at least 5 years, and 27 percent
of the women and 37 percent of the men have been there 10 years and
longer. City, State, and county government offices have had about
half their office workers for 5 years or longer. The Federal Govern­
ment offices have employed many men and women between 5 and 10
years, but only a small proportion have been there as long as 10 years.
Less than 3 years of experience in the same office was reported for
almost 4 of every 10 women and for 3 of every 10 men. Such pro­
portion was greater in the small offices, which are the offices employing
the younger workers. It would appear that a small Houston office1 is a
place for beginners to gain experience, but that it does not afford
opportunity of advancement, especially for women.
Table

V.—Percent distribution of employees according to length of experience with
present employer, by type of office—HOUSTON
Number
of em­
ployees
reported

Type of office

Percent employed by present firm—
Under 1
year

1, under
3 years

3, under
5 years

5, under
10 years

10 years
and over

WOMEN
All types

................................. .........

2, 424

17.1

21.8

15.6

17.0

28.5

131
259

26.7
20.8

22.1
21.2

19.1
13.1

16. 0
13. 1

16.0
31.7

___

142
247

9.3

4.9
8.9

7. 0
20.2

13.4

48.2

Oil producing, refining, and distributing.-

303

11.2

22.1

15.5

23.8

27.4

Printing and publishing_____
Other manufacturing. .................................

94
268

26.6
21. 3

13.8
22.0

16.0
21.3

13.8
14.9

29.8
20.5

Wholesale distributors...
Department and apparel stores......

84
159

21.4
13.8

25.0
28.3

10. 7
18.9

16.7
15.1

26.2
23.9

Federal Government
State, city, and county governments

181
206

14.4
14.6

27. 1
18.4

9.9
18.9

38. 1
26.2

10.5
21.8

Education______ ______________________
Other types of office_________

87
263

21.8
27.0

29.9
37.3

17.2
11.4

14.9
8.0

16.1
16.3

Banks and other finance
Insurance........______

......

..........

Telephone and telegraph__________

.

MEN
All types

2. 462

11.7

18. 7

16.7

18.2

34.7

__________

126
116

20.6
19.0

18.3
12.9

21.4
12. 1

15.1
27.6

24.6
28.4

...

393
52

2.8
9.6

6.6
11.5

4.3
13.5

2.8
3.8

83.5
61.5

Oil producing, refining, and distributing .

679

6.9

18.3

17.7

20.6

* 36.5

Printing and publishing
Other manufacturing.___ .____ _____ __

45
459

26.7
13.7

20.0
28.5

24.4
26.6

17.8
14.4

11.1
16.8

Wholesale distributors
...
Department and apparel stores................__

73
35

30.1
«

15. 1
0)

12.3
0)

164
205

12.8
11.7

23.2
18.5

15.2
13.7

45.7
29.3

6
109

28.4

0)
22.9

21. 1

(i)
17.4

Banks and other finance ...
Insurance___ ___
Railroads__________________
Telephone and telegraph _

Federal Government....
.
State, city, and county governments
Other types of office___ ...

.............

1 Not computed; base too small.




. _.

16.4

pi

pi

26.0
3.0
26.8

(l)
10. 1

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE---- HOUSTON

21

Educational offices report employment of under 3 years for over
half their women clerks. Other businesses in which 4 of every 10
women have been less than 3 years with the firm are banks and other
finance, insurance, Federal Government, retail and wholesale dis­
tributing, manufacturing, and printing and publishing. Men have
longer terms of employment in the same firm than women have; only
in wholesale distribution, printing, manufacturing, and small offices
have as many as 40 percent of the men been less than 3 years with
the firm.
That somewhat more than their share of recent appointments
have gone to women is apparent from a comparison of the propor­
tions of men and women among total employees and the proportions
of men and women among employees taken on in the past 3 years.
Such a comparison indicates for the 13 groups and their total that
women comprise a larger proportion among new than among all
employees in 8 cases, their due proportion in 2 cases, and hiss than
their due proportion in only 4 cases, the last-mentioned being rail­
roads, telephone and telegraph, the store group, and printing and
publishing.
Judged by table V, the railroads due, of course, to their seniority
system—have the highest proportions of long-term employees, well
over 80 percent both of women and of men having been at least 10
years with the present employer. Owing to this fact and recent lessprosperous conditions for the railroads, few employees have been
taken on in the past decade.
In telephone and telegraph also are large proportions of longservice employees 48 percent of the women and 61 % percent of the
men—and correspondingly small proportions of those with brief
experience. Insurance, banks, wholesale trade, local government, in
fact, practically all others, have considerable proportions at 10 years
and over, with fairly steady accessions over the decade. The few
exceptions to the record of long service are Federal Government, with
only 3 percent of its men but 10% percent of its women so long as 10
years with the Government; men in printing and publishing, with
only 11 percent of the small group employed so long; and men in
“other offices,” with 10 percent.




EARNINGS IN 1940
The data that form the basis of this section of the study consist of
pay-roll records for 7,163 workers obtained by the Bureau’s agents in
216 Houston offices. The specific information requested included
method of pay, salary rate, actual earnings, and duration of employ­
ment for each employee, in two large oil companies these detailed
data were obtained for groups rather than for individual employees,
so most of the information presented and analyzed here is confined
to the smaller total of 5,815 employees in 214 offices. The vast
majority of these office workers, 2,601 men and 2,596 women, are
employed as regular office workers; relatively small groups are on a
part-time or extra basis. Only a few hold administrative, executive,
or professional positions.
METHOD OF PAY

In the offices scheduled it is the general practice to pay the employees
on a monthly or yearly basis. All employees in insun n to, govern­
mental, and educational offices, and all men in telephone and tele­
graph offices, are paid monthly or yearly rates, as are more than ninetenths of all employees in finance and in oil offices, of men in the
group “other types of office,” and of women in telephone and tele­
graph oflices. From seven-tenths to nine-tenths of all employees in
manufacturing and railroads, and of women in “other types of office,”
also are on a monthly or yearly rate of pay.
.
However, a substantial proportion both of men and of women in
railroad offices, somewhat over one-fourth of each sex, are paid by
the day. This is the only office classification in which a significant
number of employees are paid on a basis of less than a week.
Weekly rates of pay prevail in the trade industries; 98 percent of
all in retail trade offices and 61 percent of all in wholesale trade and
distributing offices are paid on such a basis. In printing and publish­
ing there is more variation in the method of pay. Only 42 percent
of the men, but 57 percent of the women, are paid monthly or yearly
rates, and 58 percent of the men and 41 percent of the women are
paid by the week.
Of the small group of part-time and extra office employees (56
persons), 28 were paid by the month, 9 by the week, 16 by the day,
and 3 by the hour.
Though there are variations in the method of pay among firms, as
just shown, the salary rates reported have been converted to a
monthly basis in order to insure comparable data for all employees.
The summary following gives the proportion of employees in each
type of office who are paid monthly or yearly rates.
22




28

EARNINGS IN 194 0—HOUSTON

Percent of employees with
monthly or yearly rates
of pay

Type of office

Women
Banks and other finance______ ____ ___
Insurance____ •
_ ____ __________
Railroads____________________________
Telephone and telegraph______________
Oil producing, refining, and distributing
Printing and publishing..............................
Other manufacturing___
_
Wholesale distributors_
_ _
_
Department and apparel stores
____
All Government offices-..............................
Education _________
_____________
Other types of office.. .
_____ ___

Men

97.8
100. 0
71.5
91.5
96.5
56.7
71.8
37.2
1.5
100. 0
100.0
86.7

97.7
100.0
73.0
100.0
99.3
42.4
87.1
38.8
5.0
100.0
100. 0
98.2

MONTHLY SALARY RATES BY TYPE OF OFFICE

The salaries paid to office workers are influenced by many factors.
They vary by type of office and by occupation and according to the
sex of the employee. Further, the rate is influenced by the em­
ployee’s age, education, and experience.
.
Table

VI.—Average monthly salary rates of men and women regular employees in

offices, 1940, by type of office—HOUSTON
W omen1

Men
Average salary rates1

Average salary rates1
Type of office

Total
num­
ber of
women Mean

Quartiles
Me­
First dian Third

Total
num­
ber of
men Mean

Quartiles
Me­
First dian Third

All types2..................... ..........

3,246

$108

$80

$100

$124

3,299

$145

$110

$143

$171

Banks and other finance------ -----Insurance ____________________

137
265

102
96

81
76

96
91

115
110

131
117

126
137

100
100

125
131

160
171

Railroads______________ _______ Telephone and telegraph-. -------

158
248

136
98

125
81

134
100

150
116

423
57

155
114

135
70

156
100

177
148

Oil producing, refining, and distributing 2

963

127

100

115

131

1,387

153

125

160

181

Printing and publishing
Other manufacturing-.....................

141
273

93
105

74
87

90
100

108
121

85
481

97
138

63
108

79
131

116
160

Wholesale distributors
Department and apparel stores_
_

86
206

94
74

79
59

91
71

106
81

85
39

118
98

87

111

150

Federal Government..- ------- -.State, city, and county governments

181

108

90

106

121

166

148

106

135

168

210

123

105

123

140

208

155

126

151

166

108
270

98
83

76
65

86
81

110
96

6
114

127

86

126

161

42

$158

261

$224

$195

$213

$251

Other types of office----------- ------ Supervisory (not included above):

1 Mean—arithmetic average. First quartile—one-fourth of the rates are below and three-fourths above
the figure given; median—one-half are below and one-half above; third quartile—three-fourths are below and
one-fourth above. Averages not computed on very small bases.
1 Two oil firms, employing 650 women and 698 men, reported only the mean. Quartiles are for the smaller
number. For such smaller number the mean is: For women: All types, $102; the oil group, $119. For
men: All types, $143; the oil group, $155.




24

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

Table VI shows for each type of office the average salary rates of
women and of men on the 1940 pay-roll records.
The average (mean) salary 5 of the 3,246 women in all types of
office is $108. The average ranges from $74 in department and
apparel stores to $136 in railroads, a difference of $62. Women’s
average is well above their general average of $108 also in city, State,
and county governments ($123) and in oil offices ($127); that for the
Federal Government equals the general average, and those for man­
ufacturing and banks and other finance fields are slightly below it.
In all other types of office the average is below $100 a month.
The difference in average salary between men and women, with
the men’s higher than the women’s in every case, ranges from $4 in
printing and publishing and $16 in telephone and telegraph to be­
tween $40 and $45 in the total, in insurance, the Federal Government,
and in “other types of office,” and to $66 in supervisory positions.
Women.

In railroad offices, the average of women is relatively high because
one-third of them are secretaries, stenographers, and bookkeeping
and accounting clerks who average more than $145; a small group of
PBX operators average $100; but no other occupation in this type of
office has an average below $110. The few file clerks reported by rail­
road offices have an exceptionally high average when compared to
file clerks elsewhere. The local government offices with an average
of $123 rank second, due to their special office workers, secretaries,
machine operators, and audit clerks, who average over $135. Only
an insignificant number are. low-paid mail and file clerks, reception­
ists, information clerks, and telephone operators. In oil companies,
whose women employees, with an average of $127, rank second in the
salary scale, about two-fifths of the women are stenographers, with
an average of $121, more than the corresponding group in any other
type of office except railroads. One-seventh of the women are highsalaried secretaries, hand bookkeepers, and special office workers.
In department and apparel stores, in contrast, an appreciable
number of women are in very low-paid occupations. Offices in these
stores generally pay lower salaries than are paid for similar work in
other offices. For example, in only four occupations, comprising oneeighth of the women, do employees average as much as $90; these
include secretaries, hand bookkeepers, bookkeeping-machine opera­
tors, and pay-roll clerks. Just over three-tenths of the women, in­
cluding typists, bookkeeping and billing and statement clerks, tuberoom girls, file clerks, record clerks, order clerks, and general office
workers, average $65 or less.
The relatively low averages in printing and publishing and whole­
sale trade also are due to the proportions of employees in low-wage
occupations, such as general office clerks, typists, billing and state­
ment clerks, telephone operators, file clerks, and in printing and pub­
s In the statistical summaries of average salaries the arithmetic average (the mean) is computed for groups
of 25 or more persons, but the quartiles are given only for groups of 50 or more persons. The quartiles
represent the points in the wage scale below which fall respectively one-fourth (1st quartile), one-half
(median), and three-fourths (3d quartile) of the employees’ salaries when arranged in order of amount.
In the text discussion, isolated cases of higher or lower salaries for 1 or 2 employees are in most cases dis­
regarded.




EARNINGS IN 1940----HOUSTON

25

lishing, circulation and editorial clerks, in wholesale trade calculating
machine operators. Few women in these two types of office are in
occupations with an average of as much as $110 a month.
In Federal and in manufacturing offices the average salaries of
women are more than $100, and in both of these the majority of the
women, from six-tenths to seven-tenths, are in occupations with
averages ranging from $100 to $120. In Federal offices most of these
women are typists and stenographers; in manufacturing the most
important groups are. stenographers and machine operators.
The largest group of women in telephone and telegraph offices,
nearly one-fourth, are service-desk clerks, who average $107. But
more than one-third, employed as record clerks, general clerks, and
PBX operators, have averages varying from $99 down to $86. In
education offices there are two major occupational groups; about
seven-tenths are relatively low-paid secretaries, averaging only $95,
and just over one-fifth are general office clerks who average $99.
In insurance offices over one-fifth of the women office workers are
stenographers, who average $99, and though there are several smaller
groups—secretaries, some machine operators, general clerks, and
renewal clerks—who average above $100, the general average is some­
what lower, due to the fact that three-tenths of the total are typists,
file clerks, and others with averages of less than $80.
Men.

In all types of office combined, men regularly emnloyed average a
salary of $145 a month. In the various types of office there are ex­
tremely wide differences.
The highest average (mean) salary of men is that of the railroads
and the local government offices, $155, followed closely by the oil
industry with an average of $153. The first quartile is highest it
railroads, but the oil industry has the highest third quartile. Rela­
tively high wages are paid also in the two government classifications,
particularly the county government, which heavily dominates the
local group and has an average of $170.
An important factor explaining the salaries paid in these four
types of office is that they employ a significant number of workers who
do specialized work requiring considerable training or experience.
For example, from unpublished figures it is clear that well over twofifths of the men in railroads work as accounting and bookkeeping
clerks, rate clerks, special office workers, and secretaries. The major
groups in oil companies are accounting clerks, draftsmen, special office
workers, and statistical clerks. Roughly one-half of the city, State,
and county workers are tax clerks, special office workers, and hand
bookkeepers, and in Federal offices about one-fourth of the men are
special office workers, hand bookkeepers, and correspondence clerks.
The lowest salaries are paid to men in printing and publishing and
in department and apparel stores, in each case the average being below
$100. In printing and publishing nearly three-fifths of the men are
in low-paid occupations—over one-third of them messengers and file
clerks and almost one-fourth circulation and counter clerks. About
1 in 4 of the small group of men in the store group are bookkeeping
clerks and shipping clerks, with averages below $80; a similar propor-




26

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

tioii are credit and mail clerks and messengers, with averages below
$60. As will bo shown later, the men doing similar kinds of work in
the group of offices described in the preceding paragraph are in general
much better paid than these in printing and publishing and in the
stores.
In an intermediate position, with salaries somewhat below the gen­
eral average for all men, are manufacturing ($138), insurance ($137),
and finance ($126). In manufacturing, a large proportion of the men
are in high-paid occupations; about one-fourth are special office
workers, secretaries, hand bookkeepers, statistical clerks, and general
office workers, with averages ranging downward from well over $200
to just under $150. However, more than 5 percent of the total, em­
ployed as messengers, file clerks, certain machine operators, and typ­
ists, average $100 or less, and nearly as many are stenographers, who
average less than $120. In finance and insurance offices there are
large numbers of special office workers, cashiers, tellers, and various
bookkeeping and accounting clerks. On the other hand, finance com­
panies employ considerable numbers of machine operators, messen­
gers, and transit clerks, who are paid relatively low salaries.
The low average for the men in telephone and telegraph offices ($114)
is due in large measure to the fact that about one-third are route-aid
clerks and nearly as many are mail clerks, telephone operators, and
general clerks, also at the lower levels. Wholesale trade also has a
considerable proportion of low-paid workers, such as record clerks, mes­
sengers, mail clerks, and machine operators, and these reduce the gen­
eral average for all.
Distribution by rate.

Table VII shows for the same groups of women and of men what
proportions have actual salaries of under $75, $75 and under $100,
$100 and under $125, and so on. In general, the percent distribution
corresponds closely with the foregoing analysis of average salaries.
For example, in department and apparel stores, which have been
shown to pay women office workers less than they earn in other types
of offices (averaging only $74 a month), 56 in every 100 women are
paid less than $75, and only 0.5 percent, that is, only 1 of the 206
women reported, earns as much as $150. The group' with the next
lowest average ($83 for “other types of office”) pays 35 in every 100
women less than $75 and pays only 5 in 100 as much as $150. At the
other end of the scale, railroads, whose women employees average $136
a month, pay only 1 of the 158 women reported less than $75, and pay
$150 or more to 39 of the 158. The oil industry, whose two largest
companies do not report percent distribution, pays less than $75 a
month to only 5 of the 313 women reported and pays $150 or more to
54 of them.
In the case of men, the oil offices pay less than $75 to only 5 in
every 100 of the 689 men reported, and pay $200 or more to 16 in
every 100'. The railroads, which also pay less than $75 to only 5 in
100 men, pay as much as $200 to 13 in 100 men. The Federal Gov­
ernment pays less then $75 to only 1 of the 166 men reported and
pays at least $200 to 30 of them; practically one-half are paid $100
and under $150.




f

Table VII —Percent

V

i

•

T

1

I

T

y r

distribution of men and women regular employees in offices according to monthly salary rate, 1940, by type of officeHOUSTON
Men

Women

Type of office

Percent1 of men with monthly
salary rate of-

Percent1 of women with monthly
salary rate of—
$75,
under
$100

$100,
under
$125

$125,
under
$150

$150
and
over

Total
number
of men

TT 1

$75,
under
$100

$100,
under
$125

$125,
under
$150

$150,
under
$200

$200
and
over

2,596

15.6

31.2

29.2

15.3

8.7

2, 601

7.8

10.5

14.9

20.0

34.9

11.8

137
265

13.1
18.9

38.7
35.8

27.0
31.3

12.4
6.4

8.7
7.6

131
117

8.4
9.4

14.5
13.7

23.7
18.8

20.6
14.5

27.5
29.1

5.3
14.5

Railroads______________ ____ _________
Telephone and telegraph______________

158
248

.6
17.7

4.4
31.9.

24.7
38.7

45.6
10.9

24.7
.8

423
57

5.2
29.8

5.0
19.3

7.6
10.5

24.1
15.8

45.4
17.5

12.8
7.0

Oil producing, refining, and distributing.

313

1.6

19.2

39.6

22.4

17.3

689

5.1

7.8

10.7

15.2

44.8

16.3

9.4
23.7

9.4
28.9

4.7
8.3

Printing and publishing---------- -------Other manufacturing_________________

141
273

26.2
7.0

35.5
38.1

27.0
31.1

7.8
15.0

3.5
8.8

85
481

42.4
5.0

24.7
11.0

9.4
23.1

Wholesale distributors_____________
Department and apparel stores-------------

86

15.1
55.8

47.7

22.0

14.0

1.1

85
39

9.4

28.2

21.2

15.3

22.4

3.5

Federal Government__________ ____ State, city, and county governments-----

181
210

2.9

33.7
8.6

43.6
38.6

16.6
34.8

6.1
15.3

166
208

.6
1.0

15.7
1.9

23.5
11.1

25.3
26.9

16.9
49.0

18.1
10.1

Education ............... .....................................
Other types of office.....................................

270

35.2

40. 7

15 7
14.1

4.8

10.2
5.1

6
114

15.8

13.2

17.5

20.2

21.9

11.4

0.8

4.2

21.5

19 4 0 — H O U ST O N

All types_______________________
Banks and other finance_______________
Insurance____________________________

E A R N IN G S IN

Total
number
of women TT 1
$7 5

73.6

Supervisory (not included above)
All types............................ i__.i

42

261

i Percents not computed on very small bases.




to

28

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

Chart II.—DISTRIBUTION OF WOMEN AND OF MEN ACCORDING TO
MONTHLY SALARY RATES, BY OCCUPATION—HOUSTON
*100,

under

*125,

*150

Under

under

Sioo
□

*125

*150

over

Z77>.

r~i

■1

STENOGRAPHIC GROUP
Secretary

100 percent
Women
Men

Stenographer

"V////////////X

Women

"V/////M

Men

Typist

Women

ZZZZZZ7A~

Women

'ZZ/////A

ACCOUNTING GROUP
Accounting clerk

Men

Audit and bookkeeping clerk Men

Bookkeeper, hand

VZA/AZZA

Women
Men

Cashier, teller

VZZZ?,

Women
Men

MACHINE OPERATORS
Billing

Key punch
Calculating

~W/ZZ/ZZAZA~

Men
Women |

'WZZZ//ZZ/ZZZZZA

Women 1

~Z7/A77777/A,F

OTHER CLERKS
Draftsman

Uen

[

Statistical

Men

£

Tax

Men

£

Messenger

Men

Stock

Men

File

YZ////M

Women
Men

Record

Women
Men

Telephone




Women |

VZZZAA,
zzzzaza/aazz,

Azzzzm
AZZZZZZZam

EARNINGS IN 194 0—HOUSTON

29

MONTHLY SALARY RATES BY OCCUPATION

Before considering the factors that influence the salaries paid to
employees within an occupational group, it is important to have a
general idea of the relative rank of such groups, for there are extremely
wide variations in average salaries. For example, men employed in
work requiring little or no education or experience, such as messengers
and mail clerks, average less than $90 a month. In contrast, those
required to have special training or knowledge of a particular type of
work, such as rate and statistical clerks and the secretaries, have aver­
age salaries of from $160 to just over $180, and the special office
workers average $213. Among the women the reception, file, and
credit clerks average less than $90, whereas the secretaries and hand
bookkeepers average just over $120 and the special office workers
almost $160.
In table VIII and the statistical summaries that follow, the quartile
figures are given only for occupational groups of 50 or more persons,
whereas the arithmetic average (the mean) is given for each group
of 25 or more.
Stenographic group.

Women in the stenographic, group have an average salary of $108 a
month. By occupation, the average varies from $97 for typists to
$121 for secretaries. The large group of stenographers have an
average of $106. Secretaries and stenographers have much their
highest salaries in railroad and oil offices, and are paid the lowest
salaries in department and apparel stores, education, various small
offices, wholesale trade, printing and publishing, and insurance.
High and low average salaries are $155 and $90 for secretaries and
$149 and $80 for stenographers.
Typists’ average. salaries range from roughly $60 to $135. The
highest averages are in railroads, oil, local government offices, and
the Federal offices; the lowest are in insurance and “other types of
office.”
Table VIII gives also the average salaries of men in the steno­
graphic groups. For all occupations combined (from unpublished
figures) the averageis $148, but it varies from a high of $181 for
secretaries to a low of $114 for typists. Stenographers, the largest
of these groups, average $140. Men secretaries in railroad and oil
companies average roughly $195. Men stenographers earn their
best salaries in oil companies ($156), followed by railroads ($146);
these salaries are considerably higher than those of stenographers
reported in manufacturing. Federal offices pay their men typists
slightly more than the general average for all men typists, and con­
siderably more than is paid to those reported in manufacturing
offices.




30

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

Table VIII.—Average monthly salary rates of men and women regular employees

in offices, 1940, by occupation—HOUSTON
Women

Men

Average salary rates 1
Occupation

Total
num­
ber of
women Mean

Quartiles
Me­
First dian Third

Average salary rates»
Total
num­
ber of
men Mean

Quartiles
Me­
First dian Third

2,596

$102

$80

$100

$124

2,601

$143

$110

$143

$171

304
584
302
44

121
106
97
107

90
86
80

125
101
95

150
125
115

66
116
34

181
140
114

151
116

176
138

201
165

2 69

105

75

99

126

53
87

121
92

96
66

114
90

145
108

301
72
97
82

152
131
157
153

130
102
136
121

160
151

173
156
176
175

45
42
132

90
112
102

3 60

120

105

125

131

85

101

125

58

104

91

101

116

76

171
86

190
111

60
115
121

65
131
138

71
146
166

101

126

141

115
141

136
151

177
161
165

Stenographic group:

Accounting group:

Machine operators:

Tabulating_________________
Other_________ _____ ________

30

103
137

28

94

26
13

27

80

88
43

89

45
44
40
85
102

152
181
134
162
95

31
137
*50
50
47
41
51

88
67
133
138
142
' 170
123

153
63

164
138
152

45

115

Other clerks:

File____ __
Mail___________ ____________
Messenger______________ __ .
Order and shipping........ .......... .
Pay roll and timekeeper,....... _
Production_
_
_______
Service desk................ ..................
Stock_____________ ____ ____ _
Tax_______________________
Telephone____ ______________

62
56

101
107

70

91
96

85

105
107

109
122

91

75

90

106

62
25
31

104
99
76

84

101

120

43
39

99
110
94

70

92

120

39
78

68
82

61

76

96

32

129

35

157

259

213

171

201

250

42

Other types of office.-.............

97

56

Clerks not elsewhere classified in—
Finance and insurance___ ____
Education_____________ _____
Printing and publishing
Other manufacturing and
wholesale distributors..
All government offices_
_
Oil producing, refining, and
distributing
____ . _.

27
137

$158

261

$224

$195

$213

$251

27

89

75
66

137
137

101
125

126
140

155
160

123
37
45

134
105
143

101

140

161

1 Mean—arithmetic average. First quartile—one-fourth of the rates are below and three-fourths above
the figure given; median—one-half are below and one-half above; third quartile—three-fourths are below
and one-fourth above. Averages not computed on very small bases.
1 Includes audit clerks.
* Includes bookkeeping-machine operators.
* Not included in total.




31

EARNINGS IN 194 0—HOUSTON

The following summary shows the averages for women in this group.
Average monthly salary rates
Occupation and type of office (women in
stenographic group)

Number of
women 1

Quartiles
Mean
First

Stenographic group—total.
Secretary _ .....
Oil producing, refining, and distrib­
uting__________________ __________
Federal Government-----------------------Education___________ _______ _______
Other types of office.----------------------Stenographer---------------------------------------Railroads__________________ ______
Oil producing, refining, and distrib­
uting--------------- ------ ------------State, city, and county governments..
Federal Government------- -------- -------Banks and other finance----------.. - - Manufacturing other than printing
and publishing
Insurance
Printing and publishing------------------Wholesale distributors----- ---------------Other types of office------------------------Typist.------------------------------- --------------State, city, and county governments..
Oil producing, refining, and distrib­
uting-------------- -------------------- -----Federal Government--------------- ------Insurance____________ _____ -...........Other types of office-----------------------Dictating machine transcriber----- ----------

1,234

$108

304

121

37
28
77
584
27

152
129
95
106
106
149

121

121

50
33
54

117
114

80
58
37
26
69
302
51

101

30
74
50
30
44

Third

Median

111

125

101

99
95
93
80
97
118

80

95

100
74
69
107

i Subtotals include some types of office with very small numbers reported.

Accounting group.

The average salary of men in the accounting group is $150. It
varies by occupation from $131 for the audit and bookkeeping clerks
to $157 for the hand bookkeepers. The largest numbers of hand
bookkeepers are in manufacturing and oil companies, with average
wages of $157 and $153.- Small groups reported are paid more in
State, city, and county government, but much less in insurance and
in finance.
!

Average monthly salary rates
Occupation and type of office (men in
accounting group)

Number
of men 1

Quartiles
Mean
Median

First
Accounting group—total--------------Bookkeeper, hand_________________ ____
Manufacturing and distributing-------Oil producing, refining, and distributing
Cashier, teller------------- -------------------- ...
Accounting clerk................................. - —
Oil producing, refining, and distributManufacturing and distributing--------Federal Government---------- ------------Audit and bookkeeping clerk........ —.........

552

$150

$126

$151

$174

97
28
26
82
33
301

157
157
153
153
144
152

136

160

176

121

151

175

130

155

173

96
98
31
45
72

168
158
136
135
131

102

135

156

.

i Subtotals include some types of office with very small numbers reported.




Third

32

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

The few cashiers reported in wholesale trade and those in banks
alone, employing the largest number, have average salaries well above
the general average of $153 for all cashiers, but in manufacturing
the average is greatly below this. The range in the average for ac­
counting clerks is from $124 in printing and publishing to almost $170
in oil offices. Railroads have a high average, but manufacturing and
Federal offices report amounts much below the general average.
The average salary of women in the accounting group is $104 a
month. Hand bookkeepers average $121, and cashiers average $92.
The accounting group employs few women as compared to men.
Figures for the small groups of women reported by type of office
indicate that hand bookkeepers are paid highest in railroads, followed
by finance and oil; the lowest-paid are in insurance.
The largest group of women cashiers are in department and apparel
stores, where they average $66, less than in any other type of office.
Cashiers in Federal Government and railroad* offices average $150
and $146, respectively. Women accounting, audit, and bookkeeping
clerks have their highest salaries in State, city, and county offices arid
in railroads, their lowest in stores.
Machine operators.

Machine operators, the third classification, are paid somewhat
lower wages than the foregoing groups. Women machine operators
outnumber men doing this type of work, with the usual difference in
salary level. The average salary for the entire group of women is
$101; it varies from $90 for billing-machine operators to $112 for
those operating bookkeeping machines.
In the various offices women billing-machine operators are paid
$134 in railroads, a little over $100 in paper and printing and in manu­
facturing, about $90 hi telephone and telegraph, but only about $80
in the store offices. Women operating bookkeeping machines have
their lowest earnings in wholesale trade, $87, compared to just over
$140 in the local government offices. Calculator operators average
$129 in railroads, about $115 in insurance, just below $110 in oil,
$100 in manufacturing and in “other types of office,” and between
$85 and $70 in wholesale trade, in telephone and telegraph, and in the
store group. Key-punch operators are paid best in railroads ($111),
followed by oil and manufacturing; their salaries are lowest in insur­
ance ($86).
Men operating office machines average $118; tabulating-machine
operators average $137, in contrast to $103 for those operating
duplicating machines.
Small groups of tabulating-machine operators average over $170
in oil companies, over $130 in railroads, and somewhat below $130 in
Federal and manufacturing offices. Other small groups have salaries
as follows: Billing- and bookkeeping-machine operators are paid
about $130 in oil, local government, and railroads; slightly less than
$130 in manufacturing; and only $105 in wholesale distribution.
Duplicating-machine operators earn from $65 in manufacturing to
$116 in railroads and to $126 in insurance.
Other clerks.

The group “Other clerks” comprises employees working in a wide
variety of occupations. Some of these are technical or highly experi-




33

EARNINGS IN 19 40----HOUSTON

enced employees keeping specialized records, with earnings that
compare favorably with the higher-paid employees in the stenographic
and bookkeeping groups. Others are doing work involving little skill
and are paid much lower salaries.
Average monthly salary rates
Occupation and type of office (men in
“other clerks” group)

Number of
men 1

Quartiles
Mean
First

Claims examiner___
.. . ____
Rate clerk
Railroads
.
_________ _____
Statistical clerk____
.
---Oil producing, refining, and distribu­
ting ---------------------------------- ----Draftsman________ - ...
. ----­
Oil producing, refining, and distribu­
ting------------------------------ --------Billing and statement clerk. _. ___
Tax clerk_______ ____ _______________
State, city, and county governments
Pay-roll clerk... ______ _____ ...
Production planner...................................
Manufacturing other than printing
and publishing______ .____ -----­
Stock clerk__________________
Oil producing, refining, and distribu­
ting------- ---------------------------------Manufacturing, other than printing
and publishing-----Collection and credit clerk....... .............
Shipping clerk________________ ____ __
Record clerk___________
_______
File clerk____________
______
Railroads_______ _______
________
Oil producing, refining, and distribu­
ting--------------------------------Mail clerk _ _ _
-----------Messenger____
— ----------Oil producing, refining, and distribu­
ting --------------- --------- ..
Railroads-----------Printing and publishing
______

Median

Third

44
41
33
56

$181
170
184
164

$151

$165

$177

31
85

171
162

126

171

190

82
45
63
62
27
47

164
152
152
152
144
142

141

151

165

43
153

142
138

115

136

161

26

157

82
40
26
51

135
134
133
123
95
119

101
76

126
86

141
111

60

65

71

102

28
26
31
137

96

32
26
25

71
70
60

88

67

1 Subtotals include some types of office with very small numbers reported.

There are 995 men with earnings reported for these occupations.
The highest averages are those of claims examiners and searchers
(over $180), rate clerks ($170), statistical clerks ($164), draftsmen
($162), billing and statement clerks ($152), and tax clerks (also $152).
At the lower extreme of the entire group are the file and mail clerks
and messengers, with average salaries varying from $95 to $67. In
an intermediate position, with averages of $123 to $144, are six groups,
as follows: Record clerks, pay-roll clerks and timekeepers, order and
shipping, collection and credit clerks, stock clerks, and production
planners.
With few exceptions, railroads and oil companies pay salaries con­
siderably above the general average; wholesale trade, printing and
publishing, insurance, and the stores reported generally pay relatively
low salaries to these clerks. Government offices pay salaries some­
what above the general averages. The chief exceptions are as follows:
Statistical clerks in railroads, order and shipping clerks and searchers
in oil, record clerks in city, State, and county government, and gen­
eral and file clerks in Federal offices have average salaries below the
general averages for all employees in these occupations. In finance,



34

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

on the other hand, the collection clerks reported have an average
considerably above that for the group.
There are few women (440) as compared to men (995) in these mis­
cellaneous occupations, and women are not employed in so wide a
variety of jobs. Relatively few cases of the two sexes doing the same
typo of work are reported. The largest group of women are PBX
operators, and they average $91. Stock and record clerks average
several dollars more than this, but receptionists (including a few mail
and information clerks) and file and credit clerks have averages vary­
ing from $89 to $80.
As is the case with men, women in these occupations are paid rela­
tively high salaries by railroad, oil, government, and manufacturing
companies, and usually earn less than the general average in telephone
and telegraph, printing and publishing, and the two types of stores
reported.
The classification “Clerks not elsewhere classified” comprises
employees working in occupations peculiar to a specific industry and
having fewer than 25 employees of either sex reported.
In tin' various types of office, 450 men come within this classifica­
tion. The average salaries of these men vary from $134 to $143 in
oil-company offices, Federal and local government, “other manufac­
turing,” and railroad offices, but vary downward from $129 in “other
types of office” to $115 in finance and insurance, $105 in telephone
and telegraph, and to only $89 in printing and publishing. First
quartile earnings are $125 in government and $101 in oil and “other
manufacturing.” The range in the earnings of the middle 50 percent
of the men in these various offices, shown by the difference between
first and third quartiles, is only $35 in government, but is $54 in man­
ufacturing and $60 in oil.
The women in this classification have average salaries of $110 in
government offices and $104 in finance and insurance, but of less than
$100 in each of the other types of office, the lowest averages being $68
in the stores reported and $76 in printing and publishing. As in the
case of men, quartiles can be computed for only three groups. The
first quartile is $84 in finance and insurance, $70 in telephone and
telegraph, and $61 in other offices. The third quartile is $120 in the
first two mentioned and $96 in “other types of office.”
Special office workers.

The 259 men classed as special office workers have an average
salary of $213. One-fourth of the group are paid less than $171 but
a similar proportion earn over $250. The types of office that employ
as many as 25 of these workers pay salaries averaging as follows:
Type of office

Federal Government________________
Manufacturing and distributing________________________
State, city, and county governments.
__
Railroads____________ 29
Oil producing, refining, anddistributing.
...............

men

.

39
29
31
76

salary

$232
222
227
220
210

Only 35 women in all type's of office combined are classed as special
office workers. The average salary for the group amounts to $157 a
month.




EAKNINGS IN 1940—HOUSTON

35

Supervisory, professional, and so forth.

Wage data are shown also for 562 administrative, executive and
clerical-professional workers, of whom 511 are men and 51 are women
ihe average salary for the entire group of men is $254; accountants
eXcoage $.221> supervisors $224, and administrators and executives
$dh2 the 51 women have an average of $167; women supervisors
number 42 and these have an average of $158.
Average monthly salary rates

Sex and occupation

Number of
workers

Quartiles

Mean
First

Men—total
Administrator; executive.
Accountant..
______
Supervisor __ _______
Women—total..
Supervisor________

Median

Third

$254

$200

$226

$295

112
121

362

261

224

285
180
195

326
206
213

401
251
251

167

126

221

200

158

1 Includes 17 statisticians not shown separately.
2 Includes 9 others not shown separately.

Distribution by rate.

The table next presented (table IX) shows for each of the occupa­
tions with 50 or more employees reported the proportions with actual
salaries of under $75, $75 and under $100, $100 and under $125, and
so on. No table shows more strikingly than this table, especially in
stenography and accounting tin1 discrepancy between the sexes in the
matter of the higher salaries. For example, 82 percent of the men
secretaries, in contrast to 28 percent of the women secretaries
have salaries of $150 and over, as have 41 percent of the men and 9
percent of the women stenographers, 58 percent of the men and 16
percent of the women accounting clerks, 67 percent of the men and
21 percent of the women hand bookkeepers, and 57 percent of the
men and 7 percent of the women cashiers and tellers. In only 1 of
the occupations with such figures reported for each sex is the differ­
ence small: This is the file clerks, with only 6 percent of the men
earning $150 and more (none in the $200 column) and 5 percent of
the women so reported.
Of the large number of women in the stenographic group (46 per­
cent of all the women) only one-cighth are paid salaries of $150 and
| over lia'lf of the women with such salaries are secretaries;
only 1 - ol them are typists. In the much smaller accounting group
? i'Y ? Pf^ent °f women), slightly more than one-eighth are paid
at least $150; 11 of these are accounting clerks, 11 hand bookkeepers
and 6 are cashiers. Of the women cashiers and tellers, about onethird are paid less than $75, a salary group that contains also large
proportions of typists, accounting clerks, file clerks, and telephone
clerks, and many stenographers and calculating-machine operators.
1 f, '1UT(‘ number of men in the accounting groups (21 percent of
the total) one-ninth are paid salaries of $200 anil over. More than
three-fifths of these arc accounting clerks; only 3 are audit or book-




Table IX.—Percent distribution of men and women regular employees in offices according to monthly salary rate, 1940, by occupation
-

-----------

—

'

----------------

Men

Women

Occupation

Percent 1 of women with monthly
salary rate of—

Percent ■ of men with monthly salary rai e of—

Under
$75

$75,
under
$100

$100.
under
$125

$125,
under
$150

$150,
under
$200

2,601

7.8

10.5

14.9

20.0

34.9

11.8

28.0
9.1

66
116
34

1.5

6.1

10.6
z •

51.5

30.3

.9

11.6

15.9

5.6

12.6

23.6

45.2

12.6

20.8

301
72
97

.3
5.6

22.6
9. 2

3.1
8.5

12.4
19.5

17.5
14.6

58.8
43.9

8.2
13.4

4 60

5.0

10.0

33.3

36.7

15.0

12.9

16.5
46.0
34.0
35.3
"12' 5'
30.7
33.3

62.4
5.9
14. O'
38.0
19.6

7.1

3.6
22.0
16.0
23.5
5.T
19.0
1.6

76.8'
32.7
63.5

"5.4
4.6
1.6

$150
and
over

Calculating------------------- ------------ -......................------- --------

$100,
under
$125

$125,
under
$150

15.6

31.2

29.2

15.3

8.7

304
584
302

4.9
11.0
17.9

23.4
28.3
35.1

20.4
34.9

23.4
16.8

3 69

21.7

29-0

21.7

5.7
32.2

22.6
28.7

28.3
23.0

45
132

15. 2

28.6

88

Machine operators:

$75,
under
$100

53
87

Typist................................................................................ ............ Accounting group:

Under
$75

2, 596'
Stenographic group:

30.7

46.6

—

8.6

"" l.5
1.7

4.5

34.1
48.3

4.5

Other clerks:

Service desk_________________________ _____ —........ —-- - Statistical---------- .--------------------------------------- ----------------Stock . — —
----------------------------------- ------------Tax........................... ...........................................................................
Teleuhone----- ------------------------------------------------------------




62
56
27'

8.1

22.6

Total
number
of
men

—

85
102
50
50
51

30.4

40.1 i

51.8

27.7

17.9

&6

56"
153
63
2.9

$200
and
over

1.2
18.6
78.1
2.0

1. 3

.

46.1

.................

10.0
12.0
il~8~

6.0

O F F IC E W O R K AND O F F IC E W O R K E R S

Total
number
of
women

w

T

Clerks not elsewhere classified in—
Finance and insurance
Other manufacturing and wholesale distributors..........
All government offices _ _ _
Oil producing, refining, and distributing___ ____ ___________
Telephone and telegraph
Other types of office_____

9

62
43
39

6.5

56
78

28.6
39.7

Special office workers______________________________________

29.0

25.0
37.2

35

Supervisors 3_______ _____

*

42

Percents not computed on very small bases
Total exceeds details due to omission of occupations having as many as 50 for neither sex.
Includes audit clerks.
Includes bookeeping-machine operators.
Not included in total.




45.2

37.5
10.3

12.9

7.1
,11.5

6.5

1.8
1.3

45
75
66
123
37
32

*

2.7

13.3
9.1
16.3

259
261 -----------1-----------

30.7
15.2
17.1

14.7
34.8
23.6

26.7
40.9
39.0

12.0
2.4

1.9

7.3

35.1

55.6

.8

4.2

21.5

73.6

EARNINGS IN 194 0 — H O U STO N

1
2
3
4
6

?

OS
-4

38

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

keeping clerks. As many as 56 percent of the men special workers are
paid at least $200, as are 74 percent of the supervisors. Practically
4 in every 5 of the messengers earn less than $75 a month, as do almost
one-fifth of the men file clerks.
WEEKLY EARNINGS COMPARED WITH

SALARY RATES

Employees often have to work overtime or they may lose time for
business or personal reasons, consequently the actual earnings they
receive may be somewhat different from their regular rate of pay.
However, office work usually is fairly steady, so differences between
rates and earnings are likely to be small. To discover the deviations
from the regular rates in the offices scheduled, records were transcribed
showing the actual amounts paid to employees in a current one-week
pay period.
.
,
Week’s earnings records were obtained lor a total of 4,71.1 em­
ployees—2,326 men and 2,387 women. With the exception of oil,
telephone, and printing and publishing, where the current, pay rolls
were considerably fewer, records were the same in number as those
showing monthly salary rate.
.
As shown in the summary following, the average week’s earnings of
men are $33.40, those of women $23.65. When these week’s averages
are converted t-o a monthly basis they are practically the same as the.
average monthly rates shown previously, that is, $143 for the men
and $102 for the women.
.
A comparison of the average weekly earnings paid in the various
tvpes of office shows practically the same order as when the compari­
son is based on average monthly salary; that is, men have relatively
high week’s earnings in railroad, oil, local government, and Federal
Government offices, and have their lowest average earnings in depart­
ment and apparel stores and in printing and publishing. Women have
their highest weekly earnings in railroad, oil, and local government
offices, their lowest in wholesale trade, printing and publishing, the
group’of small offices, and in the stores surveyed.
Women employees
Type of office
Number

Average
week’s
earnings

Men employees

Number

Average
week’s
earnings

____________ ___ _____ ___

1 Data for telegraph employees not obtainable.
2 Not computed; number too small.




2, 387

$23. 65

2, 326

$33.40

137
265
158
196
207
90
273
86
206
181
210
108
270

All types_________

23.50
22.15
31.45
23.15
28. 50
21. 25
24. 25
21.75
17.15
24. 85
28. 25
22. 70
19. 20

131
117
423
25
488
43
481
85
39
166
208
6
114

30. 35
32. 25
36. 30
30. 95
36.10
21.50
31.90
27. 40
22. 40
34. 20
35. 85
(s)
29. 25

EARNINGS IN 1940----HOUSTON

39

When these figures are converted to a monthly basis it appears that
in only four instances is there a difference between earnings and rate of
as much as $4, the largest being $20. In three of the four cases—men
in telephone (see footnote 1 of summary) and printing and publishing,
and women in oil offices—the difference between earnings and salary
rate probably is due to the difference in number of employees for
whom the data are reported.




HOURS OF WORK
The regular weekly hours that employees in Houston are expected
to work are quite favorable; for more than half the workers (53 per­
cent, in 26 firms), the required hours are 40. Almost 6 percent have a
week of 39 and under 40 hours and small numbers have hours below
39. A week of over 40 and under 44 hours is reported for 13}( per­
cent; a week of 44 hours for 17 percent. Only 9 percent of the total,
employed in 42 firms, have regular hours of more than 44, a negligible
proportion of these (less than 1 percent of the total) as many as 54 hours.
The hours employees are expected to work vary with type of office.
The most favorable schedule is in insurance offices, where about fourfifths of the employees have a workweek of over 39 and including 40
hours, and in manufacturing, Federal Government, printing and pub­
lishing, and oil offices, where from six-tenths to more than ninetenths are on a schedule of 40 hours. In financial offices about seventenths have regular hours of over 40 and including 42.
In the other types of office the work schedule is somewhat longer.
Nearly all employees (98 percent) in city, State, and county offices,
slightly more than nine-tenths in education offices, and about seventenths in railroad and in telephone and telegraph offices have a
44-liour week. Two-thirds of the office workers in wholesale trade
have a schedule of over 42 and under 48 hours, and just over seventenths of those in the stores reported are expected to work 48 and under
54 hours.
Overtime work and pay.

There had been relatively little overtime work in 1939 in the firms
visited. Of 180 firms reporting, 114 stated that no employee had
worked overtime, 50 stated that overtime work was infrequent, and
16 that such work was frequent. Only 6 firms reported that
employees in all occupations had worked overtime. The number of
employees who had put in some overtime during the year was 20 or
more in each of 2 firms, 10 and under 20 in each of 8 firms, and less
than 10 in each of 19 firms.
The method of pay for overtime work was reported by 76 firms; 12
of these stated that they paid the same rate as for regular work hours,
40 paid time and a half the regular rate, and 24 gave compensatory
time off.
Information concerning overtime work in the one-week pay period
recorded shows that only 126 men and 89 women received pay for
overtime work; the number of hours paid for was reported for 58 men
and 68 women. Of the 126 men working overtime 118 were employed
by banks, railroads, telephone and telegraph, and “other manufactur­
ing” offices, in equal proportions. About one-half of the 89 women
were in telephone and telegraph offices and about one-seventh were in
“other types of office.” No employees in the local government and in
40




HOURS OF WORK—HOUSTON

41

education offices, and no men in insurance, Federal Government, and
the stores received pay for overtime work.
Of the 126 employees for whom the number of hours of overtime
paid for was reported, exactly one-third, 42, were paid for 4 and under
6 hours; 30 were paid for 10 or more hours; and 28 received pay for 2
and under 4 hours.




EFFECTS OF EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION ON
RATES OF PAY
Monthly rates paid to beginners.

The foregoing analysis lias shown the salaries paid in the several
types of office to groups of employees in the various occupations. The
important factors of age, education, and experience influence the sal­
aries received by individuals.
At the time of the survey, 219 beginners were employed in the offices
reported; 123 were men and 96 were women. About two-fiftlis of the
men were messengers and mail clerks, and about three-tenths were
general clerks and file clerks. Small groups were machine operators or
were doing various kinds of record keeping—timekeepers, pay roll,
collection, and billing clerks. Over two-fifths of the girls were stenog­
raphers in small offices, two-fifths were general and file clerks, tele­
phone operators, and receptionists, and a few were machine operators.
The beginning salary was reported for 97 of the men and 82 of the
women. The average salary for the entire group of men was $74 a
month. Messengers and mail clerks were started at an average of
only $58, the others averaged $85. The range in the beginning rates
paid to the men was from less than $50 to over $100 but, as shown in
the summary following, the largest group, about one-third of the total,
were started at $60 and less than $70. Only 1 in 9 received as much as
$100 a month.
Women beginners averaged $63 a month; those in stenographic
work earned $64, compared to $62 for all others. Roughly one-third
earned $60 and under $70, and more than one-fourth started at $70
and under $80. One in 7 had a beginning rate of less than $50.
Num­ Aver­
age.
ber of month­
begin­
ly
ners
salary Under
$40

Sex

Men.... ......................

82
97

$63
74

8.5

Percent with a beginning monthly rate of—
$40,
under
$50

$50,
under
$60

$60,
under
$70

$70,
under
$80

$80,
under
$90

$90,
under
$100

6.1
6.2

15.9
11.3

32.9
33.0

26.9
17.5

2.4
15.5

2.4
5. 2

$100
and
over
4.9
11.3

ADVANCING RATES WITH EXPERIENCE

Experience is the most important determinant of wage rates.
Grouped together, women who have completed 1 year’s employment
since their first office job earn 14 percent more than those with less
than a year’s experience. This increases slightly for those with an­
other year’s experience, and bv the third year the increase in salary is
15 percent over the salary at 1 but less than 2 years’ experience.
Another year’s experience brings a 9-percent increase. But the
42




.

43

EFFECT OF EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION----HOUSTON

increase in experience from 4 and under 5 years to 5 and under 10 years
brings only a 4-percent increase in salary; from that to 10 and under
15 years means a 10-percent increase. With 15 and under 20 years’
experience the increase is less than 8 percent, and 20 years and over adds
another 10 percent. These are the increases of various women
grouped according to experience. Table XL
3 When considering the individual’s advance in salary with specific
increases in experience, computations have to be confined to employees
with all experience with the present firm. Here the picture is far more
encouraging. In the first year, the women office workers still less
than a year with the firm have advanced 5 percent in salaries. Those
employed 1 and under 3 years have an increase of 21 percent over the
initial salary. For those employed 3 to 5 years the increase has been
36 percent; when employed 5 to 10 years, 52 percent; and when
employed 10 years and over, 64 percent.
Table X.—Changes

in rates of employees whose total experience has been with same
firm,, by years with firm- HOUSTON
Group averages of monthly
rates—

Employees
reported

Number
report­
ing first In first
job
and
present
rates

Time with present firm
Total

Number
of employees
whose present rate in
comparison with first
rate—

In pres­ Percent
of in­
ent job
crease Is same

Has de­ Has in­
creased creased

WOMEN
All experience in same firm.

401

345

$69

$97

40.6

72

5

268

Total with time reported. ------- ------

397

344

69

98

42.0

72

5

267

4.8
20.6
36. 2
52.2
64.0

46
19
4
1
2

------

66
79
55
55
142

62
68
44
47
123

63
63
69
69
75

66
76
94
105
123

Time with firm not reported.

4

1

75

16

80

1, under 3 years---------------10 years and over

2
3

46
118
1

MEN
All experience in same firm.

639

527

$76

$125

64.5

Total with time reported-- ----------------

630

525

76

125

64.5

71

81
85
119
87
153

72
77
72
83
75

77
95
113
147
163

6.9
23.4
56.9
77.1
117.3

55
15
1

-----------

92
113
133
98
194

Time with firm not reported

9

2

136

165

2

72

10 years and over

1

.

453

2

452

2

26
70
116
87
153
1

As seen in table XI, men after the first year’s experience average
23 percent more than those with less than a year’s experience. The
second increase is among those with 3 years’ experience, when the
average is 17 percent higher than that of men with 1 to 2 years of
experience. The next considerable increase is for the group with
5 years’ experience. Between the fifth and tenth years, wages increase



1

able

XI.

Average monthly salary 1 of employees with over-all years of experience reported, by occupational group-

HOUSTON

Number and average salary 1 of employees whose experience since first office job was-

Occupational group

Employees
with
over-all
experience
reported. |

Under 3 years
Under 1
year

1, under
2 years

2, under
3 years

Total under
3 years

3, under
4 years

4, under
5 years

5, under
10 years

10, under
15 years

15, under
20 years

2ft years
and over

XZT

All occupations

1.484

Stenographic group ' 722
Accounting group. _. _. _ ____
118
Machine operators
218
Receptionists and related occu­
pations.
_______________
165
Other____
___ __________
261

All occupations

Stenographic group
Accounting group___ . ___ ....
Machine operators....
.............
Billing and related occupations .
Shipping and related occupations
Messengers_____________ _____
File and mail clerks.____ _____
Special office workers______ ___
Othei; _
_

$102
105
109
103
88
94

77 ; $65

65

$74

35
4 ;
8 j

36
3
8

80

63

19 _____
11 !

1,709

$143

102

169
427
93
85
172
74
97
146
446

146
150
117
144
136
67
94
209
140

9
4
2
4
4
34
22
2
21

6
12

$77

79 j

61

4
11 i
7
4
8 !
11
i0
. 2
22 !
1

$78
53 I
5
14 ,

i6 I

19 !

79 !

249

$73

$85 '

328

$97

302

$107.

205

$115

229 |

$127

98

169
24
44

102

114
105
106

93
17
42

120

99

134
28
52

114

104
30 !
29

132
135
120

29
62

12 L.

$93

84

124 !

87
87

29
59

90
101

21
32

115

29
37 |

112
121

$136

289

$148

194

$163

30

41 I

42 |

65 |
66 I

$88
102

___
65
78
106

125
11
29
6
8
18
7
9
7
30

$111
109

111

109
11
21
13
7
14
1
9
3
30

$115

284

135
132

*

*

428

$182

40
157

148
151

187
175

11
146

116

187
135

i
j___ ____:___ ■___£___i__ i______*_
_

179
158

6

217
154

1 Not computed for groups of less than 25.


http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/
A
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

1

i*______x______ i

55
97 t

236
175

O F F IC E W O R K AND O F F IC E W O R K E R S

Sam- A”',Num- Aver­
Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­
bcr | salary 1 ber
age
age
age
age
age
age
age
age Num- i ^
hpr I salary
salary ber salary ber salary ber salary ber salary ber salary ber
er
salary ber salary

EFFECT OF EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION---- HOUSTON

45

by 18 percent; between-the tenth and fifteenth years, the increase
is 8 percent; between the fifteenth and twentieth years, it is 10 percent,
and from 20 years on it is over 12 percent. For the group as a whole,
the history of men’s employment since their first office jobs is a history
of advancing wage rates.
For the men whose total experience has been confined to one firm,
those still in their first year have received a 7-percent increase. Such
increase does not apply to the majority but apparently is occasioned
by individual advancement to positions of more responsibility.
Those employed 1 and under 3 years have a 23-percent increase over
their beginning salary, those employed 3 and under 5 years a 57percent advance, those employed 5 and under 10 years a 77-percent
advance, and those 10 years and over in the same firm a 117-percent
increase over their beginning rate. As indications are that after the
first four years men with all their experience in one firm earn some­
what more than men who have shifted from job to job, this picture
of individual advancement may be slightly more encouraging than
that prevailing for all men office workers.
_
Whether advancement with experience is viewed from the group
picture or from that of the individual, men show much larger salary
advances with experience than women show. Considering the indi­
vidual in the same firm, during the first three years of experience
there is much the same proportionate salary advance for women as
for men. With 3 years of experience, however, men push far ahead
in salary advance, and this increases as the years of experience are
accumulated. While men who were paid $75 as their beginning wage
average $163 after 10 years of experience, or an increase of 117 per­
cent, women beginning at the same wage average only $123 after
10 years, or an increase of but 64 percent.
When viewed from the group approach, men with 20 years and
mote of experience are earning $182, a figure 136 percent greater
than that for men in their first year of employment. Women are
earning $127 after 20 years’ experience, an increase of 95 percent.
Occupational experience and salary advancement.

For large numbers of employees, office records fail to show the
years of experience since the first clerical job. As a result, in many
of the detailed occupations there are too few employees to show the
average salaries of the groups tabulated according to experience,
and some employees doing similar types of work have had .to be
grouped together for this correlation. Classifications used as in
earlier tabulations are the stenographic group, which comprises
secretaries, stenographers, typists, die taring-machine transcribers,
correspondence clerks; the bookkeeping group, which comprises hand
bookkeepers, cashiers, tellers, bookkeeping, accounting, and audit
clerks; and the machine-operator group.
Regrouped classifications given here are billing and related occu­
pations, which include billing, statement, collection, credit, and tax
clerks; shipping and related occupations, which include stock, shipping,
and order clerks; and, in the case of women, receptionists and related
occupations, which include receptionists, information clerks, tele­
phone operators, and a few women mail clerks, and messengers.




46

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

Men messengers, file and mail clerks, and special office workers are
separate as before. “Other” is a residual group.
There are interesting valuations in the experience and the salary
progression of employees in these occupational groups. For example,
men bookkeeping clerks, though averaging $13 less than shipping clerks
at 3 and under 5 years, after as much as 20 years’ experience average
$17 more than shipping clerks. This represents an advance over the
years of 58 percent for bookkeepers in contrast to only 27 percent
for shipping clerks. Women in the stenographic group, though
averaging $6 less than machine operators at under 3 years, after as
much as 20 years’ experience average $12 more than machine operators,
representing an advance over the years of 76 percent for the first
named in contrast to only 48 percent for the machine operators.
The liigh-wage occupational groups generally have substantial
proportions of employees with long experience records. Among the
men, 55 percent of the special office workers, 49 percent of the book­
keeping clerks, and 45 percent of the billing and related clerks have
worked 15 years or longer. In contrast, only 1 percent of the mes­
sengers, 12 percent of the file and mail clerks, and 19 percent of the
machine operators have worked so long as 15 years; in fact, more than
four-fifths of the messengers and one-lialf of the file and mail clerks
have worked less than 3 years. These jobs, often considered as
beginners’ jobs and leading to other kinds of employment, are paid
considerably below the rates for other types of work.
There is less variation in the work records of women, and less
variation in their average salaries. One-fourth of the men, but less
than one-sixth of the women, have worked as long as 20 years, and—
as discussed elsewhere—men have advanced in salary very much more
than women have advanced.
Where a comparison is possible of the average salaries paid to men
with comparable work experience, in each case the special office
workers have a higher average than any other group. Machine
operators, like file and mail clerks and messengers, are consistently
at the lower levels.
Among women, workers in the stenographic group generally have
the highest average salary, though machine operators have the best
average among beginners, and bookkeeping workers the highest
average for women with 20 or more years of experience. ■
Type of office and salary advancement.

Wherever an office retains workers over a period of years, advance­
ment in salary is fairly sure to occur with the years of experience.
The extent to which such stability of employment met with advance­
ment is shown for the types of office visited in table XII. Where
numbers of persons reported are small, it must be remembered that
individual conditions may have influenced unduly either a high or a
low figure.
Women comprise only slightly less than half of the total (49.6 per­
cent), but they comprise only 45 percent of those 10 or more years
with the firm and 56 percent of those taken on within the past 3
years. Thirty-five percent of the men, but only 29 percent of the
women, have been with the firm 10 years or more, and 39 percent of
the women, but only 30 percent of the men, have been there less than
3 years.



47

EFFECT OF EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION----HOUSTON

Types of office that have taken on about half, or more than half,
of their employees in the past 3 years are printing and publishing
and the store group in the case of men; finance, education, and whole­
sale distribution in the case of women; and the residual group “other
types of office” for both sexes. The largest employer—the oil indus­
try—reports one-third of its women and one-fourth of its men as
employed less than 3 years; for manufacturing, the figure is a little
over two-fifths of each sex.
All groups but one that have large enough numbers reported at the
two extremes of service show substantial increases in average salaries
over the period under review. The one exception is the local govern­
ment group, which has much the highest average salary for recent
employees but shows an increase over the years of only 33 percent
for women and only 18 percent for men. The greatest increase shown
for women is in the telephone industry; for men, in the railroads.
Table XII.—Average monthly salary 1 according to length of service with present
firm, by type of office—HOUSTON

All em­
ployees
reported
Type of office

Number and average salary 1 of employees who
had been with present firm Under 3
years

3, under 5
years

5, under 10
years

10 years
and over

Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­
Num­
age
age.
age
age
age
ber salary ber salary ber salary ber salary ber salary
WOMEN
Total------ ------------ -

-------------- 2,424

$102

943

$84

379

$98

411

$113

691

$125

131
259
142
247

100
96
137
98

64
109
7
45

83
79

25
34
10
50

103
95

21
34
3
33

103

21
82
122
119

1 Ifi
139
114

303
94
268
84
159
181
206
87
263

119
91
105
94
75
108
123
94
83

101
38
116
39
67
75
68
45
169

101
71
88
83
68
95
107
81
73

47
15
57j
9
30
18
39
15
30

108

83
28
55

143
115
134

Banks and other finance
Telephone and telegraph ---- Oil producing, refining, and distributOther manufacturing and distributing
Department and apparel stores --------Federal Government____________
State, city, and county governments..

67

85

101
126

89

72
13
40
14
24
69
54
13
21

$158

855

$173

152

31
33
328
32

157
166
166
144

248
5
77
19
8
5
55

185

105
71
111

116

38
118
136

45
14
43

92
—

113

MEN
Total.......................................... ......... 2,462

$143

748

$109

410

$129

449

126
116
393
52

123
138
156
119

49
37
37
11

98
113
90

27
14
17
7

114

19
32
11
2

679
45
459
73
35
164
205
6
109

155
91
136
118
99
146
155

171
21
194
33
17
59
62
1
56

113
111
90

120
11
122
9

...............

116
146

25
28

143
132

Telephone and telegraph____
__
Oil producing, refining, and distributPrinting and publishing------------------ -

Federal Government.......................... - - State, city, and county governments..
Other types of office ^..............................

1 Not computed for groups of less than 26.




127

104

23

142
132

140
8
66
12
3
75
60
2
19

________

163
154
166
161

11

188

172

48

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

Average salary according to number of positions held.

From the totals of the following summary it appears that experience
with more than one firm is advantageous from the point of view of
salary, especially in the case of men. For a number of specific
experience groups the opposite is true, the highest averages being those
of employees of one firm only. The latter is unmistakably the case
for all groups of women with experience of at least 5 years.
Average salary according to variety of experience
Employees reported
All experience with
present firm

Years of experience
Number

Average
salary

One job elsewhere

Number
of em­
ployees

Number
of em­
ployees

Average
salary

Two or more jobs
elsewhere

Average
salary

Number
of em­
ployees

Average
salary

WOMEN
.

1,178

$102

396

$97

244

$105

538

$105

Under 3
3, under 5 _ _____
5, under 10
10, under 15 ____
15, under 20.____
20 and over.

Total

_
_

223
141
254
232
156
172

73
90
99
109
119
129

145
54
54
70
37
36

72
92
105
112
130
134

40
39
47
44
29
45

80
91
98
109
120
131

38
48
153
118
90
91

74
89
98
107
113
126

$147

520

MEN
Total.

1.445

Under 3................
3, under 5
5, under 10
10, under 15.
_
15, under 20
20 and over.

$141

630

$125

295

2 it;
210
253
233
150
344

89
114
137
148
165
182

205
133
98
88
49
57

89
114
145
150
156
186

21
43
66
54
41
70

0)
117
132
152
166
180

20
34
89
91
69
217

$157
0)
110
133
144
170
182

1 Not computed; number too small.

EDUCATION AND SALARY ADVANCEMENT

Education as related to salary cannot be considered apart from
length of experience. As has been stated on page 17, while grammarschool graduation was the only formal education of some of the men
and women with 20 or more years of experience, today few boys or
girls enter office work in Houston with only grammar-school educa­
tion. So too, the most experienced men and women are not college
graduates. The value of the various degrees of education in office
salary rating can be measured only when workers have been employed
approximately the same number of years.
Men college graduates get off to a better start than men from high
school or even those with special business-school training. This
salary lead is maintained as the years of experience accumulate.
Even attendance at college without graduation proves valuable after
the first three years to the man office worker. On the other hand,
whether high school was or was not completed, or whether business
school was or was not mentioned as part of the training, seems to have
no influence on the ability to command advancement in salary,




EFFECT OF EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION—HOUSTON

49

The number of college women employed in Houston offices and with
salaries reported is too small to measure the effect of college work on
earning ability. However, those who attended college and entered
offices before completion of their course would appear in general to
be in a slightly better position than those who went to work on grad­
uating from high school. By far the largest single group of women
office workers graduated from high school; an even larger number
reported some attendance at business school. Between those who
did and did not go to business school there is no established difference
in earning power after the beginning period. In the first three years
there appears to be a difference of $5 a month in the average salaries of
girls with business-school work and those without it.
AGE AND SALARY

The number of employees whose age is recorded is somewhat larger
than the number with experience reported, but age and experience are
closely related and it is to be expected that salary will increase with
age as it does with experience. The average salary paid to men ranges
from $70 for the group under 20 years of age to $181 for those 40 years
of age and over. The women’s average salary ranges from $64 for
those under 20 to $123 for those 40 and over. For both sexes the
progression is unbroken.
Table XIII shows many variations by type of office in the ages and
salaries of employees. In city, State, and county governments and in
railroad offices, the majority of the workers are 35 years old and more,
and in oil offices most of them are at least 30. Employees in the other
types of office are somewhat younger, with the majority both of men
and of women 20 and under 30 or 35 years.
With few exceptions the average salary paid to the workers increases
with each succeeding age group and there are great differences between
the rates paid to the youngest and those paid to the oldest workers.
In oil and “other types of office” men 40 years of age and more have an
average salary approximately double the average of those under 25
years old. In railroads, wholesale trade, and insurance the oldest
men are paid 85 to 95 percent more than the youngest men; in financial
offices the difference is 75 percent.
Among the women the range in salary is not so wide, though in
insurance and the group “other types of office” women 40 years of age
and over average about 80 percent more than those of under 20 years.
In education and in finance, women at least 35 years old have an aver­
age salary 55 to 60 percent greater than that of women under 25. In
telephone and telegraph and in insurance the average salary is about
50 percent higher for the women of 35 and over than for those of under
25 years; in oil, manufacturing, and “other types of office” the differ­
ence is about 40 or 45 percent; and in the offices of the store group it is
nearly 40 percent.
Age and salary also vary considerably with occupational groups.
The majority of the women in the stenographic group are less than 30
years of age, but in each of the other occupational classes the largest
number are at least 30. Women in the stenographic group and that
of “other clerks” who are 40 or more years old have average salaries
almost $45 above the averages for employees of 20 and under 25 years.



Table

XIII.—Average monthly salary 1 of employees in the various age groups, by type of office—HOUSTON
Number and average salary 1 of employees whose age was—
Total em­
ployees

Type of office
Num­
ber

Under 20
years

20, under 25
years

25, under 30
years

30, under 35
years

35, under 40
years

40 years and
over

Num­
ber

35 years and
over

Aver­
Aver­
Num­ age
age
sal­
sal­
ber
ary
ary

WOMEN
2, 369

All types
Insurance___ _____

$102

122

133
263
152
247
195
90
268
85
194
177
207
95
263

101
96
136
98
124
91
106
94
74
108
123
99
83

7
25
1
15
4
5
15
3
15
6

___

Telephone and telegraph___
Oil producing, refining, and distributing
Other manufacturings
Department and apparel stores ____ - Federal Government___ ....
---- - State, city, and county governments - Other types of office............................ ...........

26

$64
65

52

506

$83

498

$97

29
69
7
68
29
19
48
24
39
38
35
24
77

87
81

42
48
9
49
41
17
72
14
42
40
36
28
60

92
100

80
102
90
61
92
103
75

100
112
98
71
103
125
89
87

1
477 |

$108

354

105
105

96

15
27
34
40
26
13
37
12
27
34
45
10
34

402 j $153

304

27
69
17
49
48
23
59
22
38
31
39
12
43

|
!
...

j
106
j
124
1___
|
114
84
119
129

!
i

L

$117

412

98

13
25
84
26
47
13
37
10
33
28
52
21
23

$167

610

111
133
115
141
118
93
121
121

$123

628

$79

766

$120

84
77

69

28
52
118
66
73
26
74
22
60
62
97
31
57

133
114
139
115
141
109
124

—

36
94
8
83
33
24
63
27
54
44
35
24
103

$181

518

$92

914

$176

43
37
52
18
88
18
134
25
19
38
15

93
92
96

118
142
116
141
130
73
112
133

77
98
85
81
60
90
103

82
117
127
126
96

MEN
All types_____________ ____ ______
Banks and other finance________

2,313

$143

100

128
116
408
57
480
43
479
85
37
166
203
5
106

126
138
156
114
157
93
138
118
100
148
155

4
12
~
22
6
17
10
6
3

129

8

__ -

Railroads ____________________________
Telephone and telegraph
.
Oil producing, refining, and distributing
Printing and publishing

Federal Government-....................
Other types of office -

---- - -

--- -

$70

___

418

$97

479

$129

39
32
40
11
66
12
117
15
13
35
15

95
97
102

39
33
29
11
88
14
148
21
3
35
27

122
135
136

23

96
102
99

31

138
132

18 | .
20
75
146
10
89
162
5 - ....
82
157
11 _____

124
134

42
148
22 _ _ .

128

21 I

20
11
83
11
61
1
45
6
3
23
29
4
7

...

1 Not computed for groups of less than 25.




<

168
179
159

162
—

8
15
169
7
154
5
70
22
5
28
110
1
16

177
193
___
189
224
164

31

91
99
81
97
84

162
28
179
26
174
252
18
215 _____
189
6
177
115
153
28
8
203
51
164
139
5
23

O FFIC E W ORK AMO OFFICE W ORKERS

Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
A verAverNum­ age . Num- age Num­ age Num­ age
age Num­ age Num­ age
ber
sal­
sal­
ber
sal­
ber
sal­
sal­
ber
sal­
ber
ber
sal­
ary
ary
ary
ary
ary
ary
ary

Under 25
years

EFFECT OF EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION---- HOUSTON

51

Of the women in the other three occupational classes the oldest workers
average roughly $30 more than the youngest workers. Following is
a summary showing age and average salary for the various occupational
groups.
Table

XIV.—Average monthly salary 1 of employees of various ages, by occupational

group—HOUSTON '
Employees
reported

Average monthly salary' of employees whose
age was—

Occupational group
Num­
ber

Aver­
age
salary

Under
20
years

20,
under
25
years

25,
under
30
years

30,
under
35
years

35,
under
40
years

40
years
and
over

WOMEN
All occupations -____________
________

Receptionists and related occupa-

1,884

$102

$63

$84

$97

$107

$117

$123

910
150
255

106
105
103

65

88

103

114

121

131

87

99

105

115

114

200
363

Stenographic group____

88
97

77

87

101

115

120

$98

$130

$154

$168

$181

102
106
97

115

MEN
All occupations___ _____ ___

2, 033

$143

Machine operators
Billing ana related occupations
Shipping and related occupations_
_
Messengers............... ....... .......... ........
File and mail clerks

177
504
114
135
183
84
105
193
538

147
151
117
147
137
68
93
211
139

$72

63

159

104
70
83

129

148

104

128

150

155

158

168

1 Not computed for groups of less than 25.

The majority of men employed as special office workers and as
billing and related clerks are 35 years old and over, and most of the
men in the .stenographic, accounting, and shipping groups are at least
30 years. Messengers and file and mail clerks, on the other hand, are
largely younger persons, less than 25 years of age. The difference in
average salary between the older and the younger or beginning workers
amounts to roughly $75 among the special office workers and those in
the stenographic group, to over $70 among accounting clerks, and to
about $50 among shipping and related clerks.




ANNUAL EARNINGS
Regularity of employment.

One advantage of office employment lies in its regularity. Of full­
time workers employed in Houston before 1939, almost all the men and
91 percent of the women were employed for all 52 weeks in 1939. The
difference in proportion for the sexes results from part-time employ­
ment of considerable groups of women by educational institutions and
the department and apparel stores.
Annual earnings by type of office.

The average year’s earnings in 1939 of Houston office workers who
worked at least 48 weeks were $1,794 for men and $1,301 for women.
The highest average for men was in oil producing, refining, and dis­
tributing—$1,925; this was followed by railroads with $1,908, by
State, city, and county governments with $1,892, and by the Federal
Government with $1,825. The lowest year’s earnings of men were
$1,236 in department and apparel stores and $1,197 in printing and
publishing offices.
Women had their highest average in railroads, with $1,627, followed
by State, city, and county governments with $1,516, and by oil com­
panies with $1,508. The lowest averages for women were $911 in
department and apparel stores, $1,077 in the small offices grouped as
“other types,” and roughly $1,190 in telephone and telegraph, in
wholesale distribution, and in insurance offices.
Relatively few of the men earned less than $1,000 in 1939; however,
there was considerable variation by type of office. Less than 1 in 25
of the men in the local and Federal Government offices and in rail­
roads, but one-tenth or more in insurance offices and the group of
small offices, earned below $1,000. The proportion of men with earn­
ings of $2,000 and more varied from 19 percent in wholesale distribu­
tion and 22 percent in manufacturing to 36 percent in the railroads
and 42 percent in oil. Year’s earnings of $2,400 or more varied from
less than 10 percent in manufacturing and wholesale offices and banks
to nearly 20 percent in oil and Federal Government.
In department and apparel stores less than one-fifth (19 percent) of
the women earned as much as $1,200 and about one-third earned less
than $750, 8 percent earning even less than $600. As stated, some of
these inadequate earnings are caused by part-time work during the 48
weeks. The small offices grouped as “other types” paid 11 percent of
their women workers less than $650. The railroads and local govern­
ments paid $2,000 or more to 7 or 8 percent of their women employees;
banks and manufacturing other than printing and publishing paid such
amounts to respectively 5 percent and 6 percent of the women.
52




w
Table

i

$

XV.—Percent distribution 1 of employees according to annual earnings for work in 48 weeks or more of 19S9. by type of office

HOUSTON
NumType of office

Percent1 of employees who worked 48 weeks or more In 1939 and earned—

Aver-

em­ annual
ployees earnUnder
remgs
ported (mean) $750

$750, $800, $850, $900, $950, $1,000, $1,100, $1,200, $1,300, $1,400, $1,500. $1,600, $1,700, $1,800, $1,900, $2,000
under under under under under under under under under under under under under j under under and
$850
$800
$950 $1,000 $1,100 $1,200 $1,300 $1,400 $1,500 $1,600 $1,700 $1,800 i $1,900 $2,000 over
$900
WOMEN

All types... ______ _____ _

Education.Other types of office. _

1,628 $1, 301
63
192
136
200

1, 443
1, 193
1,627
1, 186

154
65
189
53
121
142

1,508
1. 229
1, 349
1, 189
911
1, 309

157
15
141

1, 516
(2)
1,077

5.3

2.3

5.2

3.1

3. 5

• 2. 0

3.1
.5
1. 9
33. 1

3.1
.7
2. 5

3.0

4. 4

3.4

11.0

8.6

13.3

11. 7

7.4

7. 1

6.3

3.8

5.0

1.8

1. 6
5.7

6.3
16. 1

7.9
10.9

20. 6
15.6

19. 0
10.9

0 3
2.6

4. 8
4. 2

9. 5
4.7

3. 2

4.7

3. 2
5. 7

9. 5
3.6

3. 2
2.1

15. 7

2.8

5. 5

5. 0

4. 0

13. 5

14. 5

17. 0

.6
1. 5
.5
1.9
3. 3
.7

.6
6.2
.5
7. 5
5.8

.6
7. 7
4.2
11. 3
6.6
4 9

2.0
3.7
5. 7
5.8
4. 2

9.7
13. 8
11.6
15.1
6.6
16. 9

2.6
15. 2
18.0
13. 2
4. 1
6 3

9.1
15. 4
12. 2
13, 2
8. 3
14.8

22.1
10. 8
10. 6
11. 3
3. 3
20. 4

.6

4. 6
.5

.6
16.2

1.8

1 3

6

.6

3 2

20. 4

10.8

5.7

71

9.2

5.7

17. 7

7.1

7.1

6.4

12. 0

2. 0

1. 5

2. 0

12.3
4. 6
6.9
3. 8
.8
8 5

5.8
3.1
7.9
5. 7

7.8
3. 1
2. 1

9.1
4. 6
3.2
1. 9

9 2

1. 7
2.1

6 3

13 4

8.9

4.8
1. 5

1. 0

5.2

3.8
•

9.5
5. 7
4.1

.7

3.5

.......

2. 1

3.9

8.4

2.1

5.7
1 9
.8

.6

6.9

5.7

1.4

1.4

MEN
All types........ ...................
Banks and other finance
Insurance___
____ ___
Telephone and telegraph.......
Oil producing, refining, and distributing____________
Printing and publishing
Other manufacturing.
Wholesale distributors
___
Department and apparel stores.
Federal Government
_____
State, city, and county governEducation________ _____ _______
Other types of office
___ _____

1,839 $1, 794

0.8

1.650
1,683
1 513
1,.90S

1.3
2.4

411
30
380
47
26
131

1,925
1. 197
1. 712
1,633
1. 236
1. 825

.7

.5

155
5
74

1. 892
(2)
1,651

1.1

0.7

1.3

1.4

3.0

3.3

5. 1

4.8

5.2

8.6

7.9

5.3

9.7

9.9

30.1

3.8
3.6

2.5
5.9

5.0
5.9

6.3
5.9

5.0
8.3

10.0
3.6

8.8
8.3
8.6

13.8
4.8
8.1

2.5
4.8

5.0
13. 1

6.3
3.6

26. 4
26. 2

2.2

.5

1.9

.2

2.4

1.0

3.6

4.4

4.1

4. 4

6.1

2.7

11.9

11.4

41.8

i.3

.5

1. 1

1.8

3.7

6.4

5. 5

6.8

7. 1

11.8

10.0

8.7

6.1

6.1

22.4

1. 5

.6

1. 5

3.8

2. 3

12. 2

8. 4

3. 8

9. 9

13.0

5. 3

7.6

2.3

27.6

•7

.7

8. 4

2. 6

1. 3

10. 3

4. 5

2. 6

17. 4

23. 2

27.0

4.1

1.4

8.1

5.4

4.1 '

12. 2

8.1

2.7

9.5

4.1

25.7

.8
.7
6.7

1.3
2.5
1.2

2.4

1 Percents not computed where base less than 50.




1.8

80
84
371
45

1.3

ANNUAL EARNINGS — HOUSTON

Banks and other finance ____
Insurance________ ____ ____
Railroads.....
_______ ____
Telephone and telegraph___
._
Oil producing, refining, and distributing... _________
Printing and publishing... ____
Other manufacturing.
Wholesale distributors.. . _____
Department and apparel stores...
Federal Government ..
State, city, and county govern-

.7
............

2. 7

1.3

2.7

2 Not computed; number too small.

d
CO

54

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

Annual earnings by occupation.

Annual earn nigs by occupation naturally follow the same general
trend as that of n ont.hly rates. For purpose of comparison the year's
averages for men and for women are listed here in descending order.
Table XVI.—Average

annual earnings of employees who worked 48 weeks or more
in 1989, by occupation—HOUSTON

Women

Occupation

Clerks not elsewhere classified, all goveminent offices . ........ .
.............
Accounting, audit,, and bookkeeping
clerks
Dictating-machine transcribers
Bookkeeping-machine operators
Clerks not elsewhere classified, banks.
Key-punch machine operators
Clerks not elsewhere classified, manufacturing and distribution________ __
Calculating-machine operators
Typists and correspondence clerks
.
Service...
.
.............. ....
Clerks not elsewhere classified, tele-

Telephone operators _________________
Billing-machine operators____ ___ ____
Clerks not elsewhere classified, other
types of office ____________________




Men
Average
year’s
earnings
$1,832
1, 603
1, 477
1,375
1,351
1.348
1.340
1,331
1.323
1,279
1, 264
1, 255
1. 215
1, 214
1, 204
1,198
1,167
1,151
1, 122
1,074
1,035

Occupation

Rate clerks
______________________
Statistical clerks......... .................................
Cashiers, tellers
Tax clerks
______ ______ ... ...
Bookkeepers, hand.
...................
Accounting clerks
______
Clerks not elsewhere classified, railroads
Production nlanners
Clerks not elsewhere classified, manufacturing___________________________
Clerks not elsewhere classified, all goveminent offices
Stock clerks
..
___
Clerks not elsewhere classified, oil in-

Billing and bookkeeping machine operClerks not elsewhere classified, banks,
insurance, and other finance____ _ ...
Clerks not elsewhere classified, telephone and telegraph
File clerks______________
Messengers __________ ....
_

Average
year’s
earnings
$2, 524
2, 174
2, 174
2, 103
1,957
1, 934
1.877
1.876
1, 869
1,831
1,786
1. 764
1,747
1, 741
1. 684
1,665
1,602
1, 553
1, 552
1,471
1,423
1,382
1,247
851

PERSONNEL POLICIES
Restrictions on employment for sex or marital status.

More than half the firms reporting have no policy with regard to
sex of the office workers to be chosen or have no jobs assigned ex­
clusively to one or the other sex. Only 6 give all jobs to men, but
43 give1 all jobs to women; these are chiefly in the small or miscellaneous
office group, where the work can be done by a small staff. However,
40 percent of the firms have some occupations for which only men
will be employed and 34 percent have some to which only women
will be appointed.
. ,
The occupations for which women are preferred are almost entirely
in the stenographic field, as PBX operators, or as receptionists.
The occupations for which men are preferred are more varied. In
manufacturing they include a wide range of production office jobs,
as well as accounting jobs; in banks and other financial institutions,
men are preferred as cashiers, tellers, accountants, auditors, and in
many clerk capacities. In actual practice women do fill accounting
positions and cashier-teller positions in many Houston firms, though
to a less degree than men, just as men are employed in stenographic
occupations but to a less degree than women. The differences in
employment between the sexes would appear to be caused by the
conditions under which the job is performed rather than by any
characteristics of the task itself, though in many occupations the
influence of tradition is obvious.
While the large majority of firms state that they do not consider
marital status when employing a new worker, a number of small
offices, banks, and other institutions express a preference for single
women. About 12 percent will not permit women to remain m their
employ after marriage.
Of every 100 women actually employed, 39 are married, 13 are
widowed or divorced, and but 48 are single. Married women com­
prise the largest group in telephone and telegraph offices, in manu­
facturing, and in wholesale distributing. There are more single
women than married or widowed in all other types of offices.
Almost two-thirds of the men employees are married. Most of the
single men are in the businesses that seek the younger men, namely,
banks and insurance houses, wholesale distributing, and the small
offices.
Source of new employees.

Four-fifths of the offices surveyed in Houston have some sort of
centralized department for the management of personnel matters,
though more than half the total allow owner, manager, executives, or
supervisors to hire and discharge. In taking on employees, one-fourth
of the firms rely on their own file of applications; almost as many make




55

56

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

their wants known to agencies or schools; but the majority use a
variety of sources.
Dismissal procedure.

In matters of separation from the service the general practice, re­
ported by about three-fourths of the firms, is to give fair notice—in
most cases two weeks—or a dismissal wage in lieu of notice. As many
as one-fifth of the offices confessed to having no policy in such matters,
but only 5 stated that they neither give notice nor pay a dismissal wage.
Retirement systems.

Plans of the nature of pension systems were reported by only 25
companies. Six of these are in manufacturing and distribution, 5 in
oil, and 4 in the small miscellaneous offices. Naturally, all 3 railroad
offices have retirement systems.
Salary increases and promotions.

Less than three-fifths of the offices have definite policies in the
matter of promotions and salary increases. Of those reporting an
organized system, the majority give it consideration twice a year.
Of the large group—one-third of all firms—reporting that action
depends on circumstances, practically all stated that each case is
considered on its merits.
Various welfare policies.

In more than half the offices some sort of insurance system is open
to the employees, well over three-fourths of these being group insur­
ance. In all but a few cases the company pays part or all of the
premiums, paying all in about one-eighth of the firms having such
insurance. Other systems of insurance are few in comparison.
Group hospitalization plans are in operation in almost a third of
the offices, the firm contributing to the fund in a considerable propor­
tion of these.
Labor organization appears to be almost nonexistent in Houston
offices. Of 204 firms reporting, only 9 stated that their employees
were organized to some degree.
The granting of paid vacations to employees is almost universal,
98 percent of the companies reporting such practice. In more than
half the cases the time allowance is two weeks; in more than one-third
it is 1 week. As is customary, vacations are related to length of
service, with the minimum requirement 6 months of service in prac­
tically all cases. The Federal service grants the 26 days customary
in such offices, and most of the State government offices grant 2 weeks.
Paid leave of absence in cases of illness also is almost universal,
only 7 firms reporting no such practice. In about one-sixth of the
offices the allowance of sick leave depends on the merits of the case.




HOUSTON’S SCHOOL FACILITIES FOR TRAINING
OFFICE WORKERS
Many types of vocational training for office work are afforded by
Houston public schools, the universities, the private business schools,
office-appliance distributors, experience schools, special public busi­
ness schools, and parochial schools. The curriculum may be planned
to give high-school boys and girls well-rounded preparation for dif­
ferent types of work in offices; it may aim to prepare pupils for special­
ized occupations only; or it may serve to retrain persons already
employed for advancement to new jobs.
The students in junior high school are encouraged to learn typing,
not for vocational purposes but for their own use. In the senior high
schools, commercial courses are offered to both day and night students.
In the school year 1939-40, the largest number of students were
enrolled in typing, 3,000, with 1,000 enrolled in shorthand classes
and in bookkeeping classes and smaller numbers learning commercial
arithmetic, commercial law, English, accounting, advertising, and
other phases of business practice. The public schools have only
recently begun placement work in cooperation with the Texas State
Employment Service. The wTork records of graduates that were
available in this study do not indicate the group employed in offices
as distinct from those employed elsewhere. But these records showed
a sizable proportion of graduates attending other business schools.
Houston also has a Public Opportunity School in which men and
women who have been employed or are employed only in part-time
work may receive additional training. This school docs not do
placement work. Parochial schools give shorthand and typing but
do not consider their courses adequate for entrance into a position.
The University of Houston has a division of business administration.
This division includes courses in typing and shorthand, applied
mathematics, principles of accounting and cost accounting, business
correspondence, and many other subjects. The Houston College for
Negroes also has a less extensive course in business administration.
Rice Institute considers accounting necessary for engineering graduates
but does not give a degree in accountancy. The South Texas School
of Commerce also has an accountancy course.
In addition to the public schools there are 18 private schools and
3 special schools attached to business-machine sales offices. These
private business schools vary greatly in extent of curriculum offered.
The largest has secretarial courses in which bookkeeping, accounting,
business law, business English and correspondence, mimeographing,
addressographing, and billing are taught, as well as filing and short­
hand. It has an accountancy course which covers bookkeeping, ac­
counting, business law, as w ell as the operating of calculating machines.
There are courses also in business administration, finance, higher




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OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS

accounting, as well as in stenography, comptometer operation, and
other single processes.
At the opposite end of the scale are schools that teach only stenog­
raphy and typing. The business-machine schools teach operation of
their specific machines only. So-called schools of experience exist in
Houston. These are the schools that place students in offices to learn
on the job. The office pays the tuition of the students to the so-called
school instead of paying a salary to the «tudent.
While figures on enrollment in business courses were obtained from
all schools, the number unquestionably includes many who are taking
only short brush-up courses or only typing. The total enrollment in
any business course for 1939—40, with possible overlapping, was
ft,576 persons. Figures on graduates in business courses from the
senior high schools were not available. From all other schools the
graduates numbered about 2,450. It was reported that 1,40ft persons
were placed by these private business schools and universities.
Without data on the number of graduates from the public high
schools who had specialized in business courses, it is not possible to
determine the total number of persons trained for office work by the
city’s schools. In view of the fact that the number that universities
and private schools claimed to have placed exceeds the demand for
beginners, though it is but half the number employed for the first
time in specific firms during the year, it would seem necessary that
all schools offering business courses check their services against needs.




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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102