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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
FRANCES PERKINS, Secretary

WOMEN’S BUREAU
MARY ANDERSON, Director

OFFICE WORK IN KANSAS CITY
1940

Bulletin

of the

Women’s Bureau, No. 188-3

United States

Government Printing Office
Washington : 1942

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

Digitized for 188:3
r^o. FRASER


.........

Price 15 cents

Chart

I.—PROPORTION OF WOMEN AND OF MEN IN EACH OF
THE CHIEF OCCUPATIONS—KANSAS CITY
(Each complete figure=5 percent)
--------------------------------------- 100 percent------------------------------------------

STENOGRAPHIC GROUP
Secretary

Stenographer

Typist

Dietatins-machine transcriber

ACCOUNTING GROUP
Accounting cleric

Cashier, teller

Audit cleric, bookkeeping clerk

MACHINE OPERATORS
Billing, bookkeeping

iifffiiitilifMfiMMi

Calculating

OTHER CLERKS
Claims examiner and adjuster

Record

Pay roll and timekeeper

Billing and statement

Service desk

Credit

File

Telephone

ii




liwi

CONTENTS
Introduction___________________________________
Types of business that employ office workers
Demand for new office workers_______________________
Beginners__________________________ __________
Experienced workers____________ _______ __________
Extra employees________________ ______________
Scope of detailed study_______________________________
Character of office occupations____________________________ II.I.I.I
Occupational distribution___________________________
Description of office work in Kansas City’s outstanding "industries
Office occupations in the meat-packing industry______________
Office occupations in mail-order distributing houses.II' _I"~
Occupation and type of office____________________
Education and experience of office workers_______________ "
_ ”
Educational status_____________________________
Experience______________________________
Age factor______________________________
Number of positions held___________________ I I"
Experience and type of office—___________________
Earnings in 1940__________________________
Method of pay__________________________ "
Monthly salary rates by type of office____________ ________
Women____________________________
Men_________________________________ ” ’____
Distribution by rate____________________
Monthly salary rates by occupation
"I"
Stenographic group__________________________
Accounting group_______________________
Machine operators________________________
Other clerks___________________________ I___ I
Clerks not elsewhere classified_____________________
Special office workers______________ ________
Supervisory and professional_________________ '
Distribution by rate____________________
Weekly earnings_________________________
Hours of work____________________________
^
Overtime work and pay___________________
Effects of experience and age on rates of pay___ —
IH
Monthly rates paid to beginners_______________ ~~
"
Advancing rates with experience_______________________
Occupational experience and salary advancement.___
Occupational advancement_____________________
Type of office and salary advancement____;_____ _ ’
Average salary according to number of positions held. "" ~
Age and salary_____________________________
Annual earnings_______________________
Regularity of employment__________________
___ ~~~~
Annual earnings by type of office____________
"
Annual earnings by occupation____________
Personnel policies_________________________
Sex preference________________________
Marital status__________________________
Hiring and dismissal policies___________________
Vacation and sick-leave procedures_______________
Promotional policies____________________




in

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CONTENTS

IV

Personnel policies—Continued.
Insurance and other welfare plans-------------------------Labor unions-------------------------------------------------------Source of applicants---------------------------------------------Kansas City’s school facilities for training office workers
The public schools-----------------------------------------------Parochial schools-------------------------------------------------The private commercial business schools---------------Placement________________________________________
Conclusion_______________________________________

Page

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74

TABLES
I. Number of offices scheduled and number of records secured, 1940 by
type of office—Kansas City--------------- ---------------------------------------- _II. Distribution by occupation of .all employees reported, and predomi­
nance of men or of women in each occupation—Kansas City--------III. Number of women and of men regular employees in the various types
of office, by occupational group—Kansas City-----------------------------IV. Total office experience of employees, by occupational group—Kansas
V. Percent distribution of employees according to length of experience
with present employer, by type of office—Kansas City-----------------VI. Average monthly salary rates of men and women regular employees
in offices, 1940, by type of office—Kansas City----------------------------VII. Percent distribution of men and women regular employees in offices
according to monthly salary rate, 1940, by type of office—Kansas
City 33
VIII. Average monthly salary rates of men and women regular employees
in offices, 1940, by occupation—Kansas City-------------------------------IX. Percent distribution of men and women regular employees in offices
according to monthly salary rate, 1940, by occupation—Kansas
City 44
X. Average monthly salary of employees with over-all years of experience
reported, by occupation—Kansas City-------------------------------------- - XI. Changes in rates of employees whose total experience has been with
same firm, by years with firm—Kansas City--------------------------------XII. Average monthly salary according to length of service with present
firm, by type of office—Kansas City-------------------------------------------XIII. Average monthly salary of employees in the various age groups, by
type of office—Kansas City
XIV. Average monthly salary of employees of various ages, by occupation—
Kansas City 60
XV. Percent distribution of employees according to annual earnings for
work in 48 weeks or more of 1939, by type of office—Kansas City. _
XVI. Average annual earnings of employees who worked 48 weeks or more
in 1939, by occupation—Kansas City 67

8
10
21

26
30

36

50
52
56
58

64

CHARTS
I. Proportion of women and of men in each of the chief occupations—
II. Distribution of women and of men according to monthly salary
rates, by occupation—Kansas City.---------------------------------------------




35

OFFICE WORK IN KANSAS CITY, 1940
INTRODUCTION
Greater Kansas City, with a population of well over half a million,
embraces the two contiguous and commercially interdependent munici­
palities of Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kans. It is well
known as the largest primary winter wheat and hay market, and it
ranks second in livestock, meat packing, and flour milling. Its
strategic location in an important agricultural and large trade area
and at the natural gateway to the Southwest gives it leadership in the
wholesale distribution of agricultural products. Manufactured goods
in wide variety also are produced there, notably in the food, automo­
bile, steel, and clothing industries. For all products, whether agricul­
tural or industrial, produced in the area or elsewhere, Kansas City
was in 1939 one of the 27 leading wholesale centers in the United
States.
t The industrial area of Greater Kansas City 1 is defined by the
United States census as extending to the boundaries of Clay and
Jackson Counties, Mo., and Wyandotte County, Kans. To meet the
demands of manufacturing and marketing interests within this large
and active trade area, comprising a population of 650,000, Greater
Kansas City is served by 12 main trunk-line railroads operating 30
separate railroad lines, making it one of the largest transportation
centers in the country. As the seat of the Tenth Federal Reserve
District it stands high among American cities in bank clearings and
is served by over 50 banking establishments. Many national con­
cerns have established branch plants and offices there. In 1935 its
retail trade group, with about 37,000 employees, was second only to
manufactures in the total number of workers employed.
The Kansas City area is, in addition, serviced by over 650 insurance
offices, nearly 200 bond, collection, investment, and other concerns in
the finance category, and several privately owned public utilities.
Kansas City, Mo., owns and operates its water works, while Kansas
City, Kans., owns and operates both a water works and the main
electric power plant for the vicinity. As in most large urban places,
educational, governmental, professional, personal service, and various
social service functions are carried on within Greater Kansas City by
workers who comprise a notable proportion of the wage-earning group.
All these activities together require the services of a large army of
office workers. It has been estimated from commercial, census, and
Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Greater Kansas City employed
approximately 35,000 office workers in 1940. The Women’s Bureau
survey, made from spring to fall of that year, covered 11,942, or about
one-third of the office population.*
KL,S?rit0therWiSe specified at point °f reference, the term “Kansas City” in this report connotes Greater




1

2

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

This group of workers comprises not only those whose occupations,
encompassing most of the work in offices, are wholly and unques­
tionably clerical, such as stenographers, the many general and special­
ized types of accounting and recording clerk, bookkeepers and the
like, but also a number of others who work in offices but whose jobs
are either nonclerical or only partly clerical. Included for discussion
in this report, for example, are such people as purchasing agents,
credit men, claims adjusters, and cashier-wrappers in the department
stores, whose work is only incidentally of a clerical nature. The pro­
fessional-clerical occupations of statistician, auditor, legal clerk, and
draftsman also are within the scope of the survey, but occupations
such as that of traveling auditor, the duties of which are carried on
outside of the workers’ office headquarters, are not included. The
usually nonclerical occupations of messenger, receptionist, and PBX
operator are covered. Certain supervisory personnel, not only those
who have charge of clerical departments but administrative heads in
vital branches of each business, also have been included. Where
occupations are shown, the former are listed as “supervisors” and
include such workers as head order clerk, chief dispatcher, supervisor
of machine operations, head bookkeeper, supervisor of the invoice
department, and the like. The administrative heads scheduled have
responsibility usually for some phase of management or an important
division of the organization. Considerably less numerous, they are
discussed briefly and apart from the other workers, for their high
average earnings and length of experience and service with their firm
would tend to skew the general picture.




TYPES OF BUSINESS THAT EMPLOY OFFICE
WORKERS 2
Manufacturing concerns employ more office workers as well as more
wage earners than any other one type of enterprise in Greater Kansas
City. The 13 meat-packing firms in the area provide employment for
many of these office workers, 2 of the packing houses scheduled having
almost 200 each. The printing and newspaper, periodical, and book
publishing concerns present quite a different picture. As a whole, the
industry is among the largest employers of office workers in manufac­
turing m Kansas City, but few of the 200 or more printing and publish­
ing firms have more than 25 workers and a considerable number have
less than 5.
Though most important in manufacturing in the employment of
office workers, the foregoing industries account for no great number of
the firms in which manufacture is carried on in Kansas City. The
many other types of manufacture, comprising hundreds of concerns,
together employ several thousands of office workers. Most of the
plants, however, are small local firms that get along with very little
office help, many continuing to employ the general all-round type of
worker who is clerk, bookkeeper, and stenographer. A few firms under
local management, especially in the apparel and steel-fabricating lines,
employ a significant number of office workers, several showing over 50
in 1940. A number of manufacturers operate branch plants in Kansas
City, and these usually are larger than the average local establishment.
Important as employers of office workers among branch manufacturers
are the soap, automobile, milling, and food-products concerns.
Kansas City, Mo., in 1939 contributed over one-third of the sales
and nearly three-tenths of the employment and pay roll of the State
m wholesaling. In that year there were slightly'more than 1,600
wholesale establishments in the Greater Kansas City industrial area,
employing in round numbers about 5,000 office workers. A little over
800 of the employees (16 percent) were working in only 18 of the con­
cerns (just over 1 percent). Therefore, though an important side of
Kansas City industrial life, wholesaling establishments in general have
very small office staffs and some have no paid office help at all.
riiis is true also of retail trade in Kansas City. With somewhat over
7 000 establishments in 1939, only an estimated 8 percent of the total of
about 35,000 employees in retailing, or 2,800, are in office occupations.
Department stores are the leading employers of office workers in
retail trade, and of all classes of retail establishment they show the larg­
est office staffs in proportion to total number of employees. New
automobile dealers, combination grocery and meat stores, and lumber
SixteenthcS,«,SS<?hri°OT?n empIo7f,d a.na ‘“l?1 n“raber of firms are based on data of the Fifteenth and
ors eli- v.enfuief' the 11135 Census of Business, the 1935,1937, and 1939 Censuses of Manufactures the Editor
and Publisher s Market Guide for 1941, and data collected in the field. Estimates of office employment in
n».Un»J-and fity governments are In part based on the reports The City of Kansas City and Jackson
bv th?e’^toS0Cn!intd Ka'nZ ??ni Wyandotte County, Kansas, issued in March 1941 and January 1940
by the State, County, and Municipal Survey of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.




3

4

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 19 40

and building-material establishments together account for many cleri­
cal jobs.
.
.
.
.
,
The home offices of over 250 chain-store units, national, sectional,
local, or manufacturer-controlled, are in Missouri. A number of these
are found in Kansas City, where only 6 of the national chains and mail­
order houses give employment to 1,833 office workers.
Oil distributing is analyzed separately from the other wholesaling
fields in this report. Though there are few major oil distributors in
Kansas City, each of them employs many office workers, at least 6 of
the oil offices showing more than 50 employees in 1940.
Since Kansas City is a busy railroad and air-transportation center,
the transportation industry employs a significant proportion of the
total office workers in the area, and a large average number in each
office. Almost half of the rail and air-line firms are employers of office
staffs of over 100, and 2 employ more than 200. The telegraph and
telephone companies, with 2 establishments, provide over 500 office
TThe 56 banks reported for Greater Kansas City in the 1941 Market
Guide employ nearly 1,500 people in their offices. Many of the bank­
ing establishments in the area are small, with fewer than 20 employees,
but 3 of the 13 banks scheduled by the Women’s Bureau have a com­
bined total of 829, or an average of 276. Considering the relatively
small number of establishments as compared with the fields of manu­
facturing, wholesaling, and retailing, the banking institutions m
Kansas City afford a large field for employment of many types of office
workers.
. .
Other financial enterprises, such as investment companies, loan asso­
ciations, financing, collection, and mortgage companies, usually are
small and employ few workers in each office. However, with nearly
200 such firms in Greater Kansas City, they employ together as many
or more office workers than the banks employ.
There are many insurance firms in Kansas City, representing almost
all branches of the insurance field from the usual accident, life, and
casualty type of underwriting to boiler, glass, and marine insurance.
Approximately 650 separate offices in this group are operating in the
area, but most of them employ few if any office workers. This is true
especially of the numerous agency offices, few of which have more than
10 office workers. On the other hand, 8 companies with home offices
surveyed in Kansas City have a combined total of over 800 office positl0Thirteen public-utility offices provide gas, electricity, water, and
local transportation facilities to Greater Kansas City and the small
adjacent towns. Two of the utilities are operated as public-service
enterprises and together furnish nearly 600 office jobs. This is about
two-thirds of the estimated total office force for the area in this publicutility group.
,. ,,
The 150 private schools of different kinds range from a few highly
technical engineering schools to the more numerous secretarial schools.
Most of them provide one or more office positions and the offices of the
boards of education of the two cities together employ about 165 workers
Since both the cities are county seats, there are four sets of local
government offices within the area covered by this survey. These
offices give employment to approximately 500 workers. In addition,
the State governments of Missouri and Kansas maintain 19 offices in




TYPES OF BUSINESS----KANSAS CITY

5

Greater Kansas City, while the Federal Government accounts for
over 50 offices. Though many of the latter, providing inspection or
highly technical services, require few office workers, certain State and
Federal departments, such as the Missouri Social Security Commis­
sion, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, the Railroad Retire­
ment Board, the Commodity Credit Corporation, and the Bureau
of Internal Revenue, employ more than 50 office workers each.
Hotels, restaurants, service stations, laundries, dry cleaners, and
other service industries, though employing few office workers to an
establishment, many employing none at all, in the aggregate increase
the total number of office jobs by a significant figure.
The Kansas City area is served by many welfare, fraternal, social,
religious, and other nonprofit organizations. Many of these have no
paid office workers. A few employ more than 5, but as a rule there
is only 1 clerk to an office. This is true also of the many small con­
cerns of all kinds found in the office buildings in the center of the city.
There are thousands of these, representing many different kinds of
enterprise, such as the professions of law, medicine, and architecture,
and the real estate and advertising businesses. Office employment by
this group as a whole is high, mounting into several thousands, but
few offices employ more than one clerk.
It can be seen from the foregoing comments that most office posi­
tions in Greater Kansas City are to be found in the small concerns;
but with the widespread manufacturing and wholesaling activities,
there are numerous large companies where many office workers of
both specialized and general skills are concentrated. This is especially
true of the meat-packing concerns, home insurance companies, the
railroads and other public utilities, and the national chain-store and
mail-order companies. Of the 192 establishments covered by the
Women’s Bureau survey, 66 employed 50 or more office workers; half
of these employed 100 or more, and 14 employed over 200.
It should be emphasized here that though this report concerns about
one-third of the office workers in Greater Kansas City, the 192 estab­
lishments scheduled are considerably less than one-third of the
estimated number of firms that employ office workers. This indicates
an overemphasis in the Women’s Bureau sample on the larger offices,
a condition which affects the statistical picture in many ways difficult
to calculate. Further, certain types of office were more thoroughly
covered than others. For example, Women’s Bureau field agents
scheduled more than half of the workers in nonprofit, oil distributing,
public utility, and government offices. Printing and publishing’
branch and local manufacturing, and wholesale company offices
received less than their share of coverage. Because of the difficulties
involved in securing an adequate representation in the limited time
available for the Kansas City survey, no service establishments,
building concerns, nor central office buildings were canvassed.
DEMAND FOR NEW OFFICE WORKERS

The small population growth of Greater Kansas City’s industrial
area, less than 5 percent between 1930 and 1940, reflects the depressed
economic condition of the region during the decade. Though in 1939
there was an 11%-percent increase in manufacturing establishments
over 1937, the number of wage earners had decreased by slightly over
7 percent. It is obvious that such an increase in 2 years in number of
400493°—42——2




tj

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN

194U

establishments must have been one of small plants, and here few, if
any, paid office workers would be employed.
Wholesale trade presents a brighter picture. Between 1935 and
1939 there was an increase in employment in this field of over 13
percent, and sales increased by nearly 24 percent. Retail sales went
up by almost 10 percent in the 4 years.
From these figures it cannot be expected that many new openings
for office employees were occurring in Kansas City, at least in the first
6 months of 1940. With the defense program and heightened indus­
trial activity in the latter part of 1940 and 1941, however, employment
activity undoubtedly was greater and openings for office work must
have been more numerous. Further, the probability of steadily
increasing numbers of office workers, as war industries in this area
expand and as service industries are affected, is practicaliy a certainty.
Actual office expansion in 1939 and the first 9 months of 1940 took
place among those firms scheduled in the transportation industry and
in the offices of the Federal Government. In 1940 the air-transporta­
tion companies increased their office personnei by aimost 100 percent.
In Federal offices the increase in 1939 and 1940 was almost 50 percent.
Little expansion was reported in the other types of office, most employ­
ment of new office help being a matter of replacement.
In the firms covered by this survey, almost 2,800 office employees,
roughly a fourth of those employed in the fall of 1940, had been
taken on in the period from January of 1939 to September of 1940.
About as many were hired in the first three-fourths of 1940 as in all of
1939. Though approximately one-sixth of these new workers were
filling new positions created because of firm expansion or the setting
up of new offices, it should be emphasized again that most of the
expansion took place in only 2 types of office, employing only 7 percent
of the workers scheduled.
The turn-over of employment in offices, as in all types of industry,
is a matter of transfer of experienced workers from one place to an­
other, or the filling of existing vacancies by beginners or experienced
but temporarily unemployed persons. In the offices covered by this
survey, turn-over in permanent placements was greatest in numbers
in the national chain-store general offices, but the rate of turn-over
was high also in local manufacture, retail stores, State and city
government, and insurance.
Beginners.

Beginning and experienced personnel were employed to fill vacancies
in 1940 in approximately the same proportions as in 1939. Of the
nearly 2,800 new workers hired in the 21 months in the offices covered,
experience data were secured for two-thirds. Three in five of these
had been employed in office work before; the two-fifths who were
beginners reported no previous office experience of any kind.
Mail-order, financial, and insurance offices account for the employ­
ment of a considerable number of beginners. It is interesting that
meat-packing houses and financial offices tended to hire beginners in
preference to experienced personnei to a larger extent than any other
type of office scheduled.
Experienced workers.

Only 3 types of offices covered—mail order, Federal Government,
and air transportation—account for about half the experienced office




TYPES OF BUSINESS—KANSAS CITY

7

workers taken on in 1939 and the first 9 months of 1940. In Federal
Government and air transportation, in which considerable office
expansion took place, a high proportion of the newly created jobs were
filled by experienced personnel.- In fact, 70 percent of the new workers
in these offices, and in State and city government and oil distributing
had had previous experience.
Extra employees.

Employment of extra clerical help at various times during the year
is a common practice in many Kansas City firms. One business
school teaching machine operating reported that it had made approx­
imately 15,000 placements in 1939; the great majority of them were
temporary appointments to meet emergency short-term needs. Most
extra office help is engaged during peak seasons; for example, the
months just before Easter and Christmas in the department-store
and chain-store offices. Many are taken on during inventory periods,
at monthly or fiscal closings, or during the vacation seasons when
regular employees are away. They may be employed from 1 or 2 days
a month to a continuous stretch of several months.
About 2,000 office extras were employed at some time in 1939 by the
141 firms reporting to the Women’s Bureau concerning extra workers.
-Nearly half of them were taken on by the national chain-store offices
visited. The insurance companies, local manufacturers, meat packers
and retail stores covered in the survey accounted for the employment
of over 100 extras each. By far the greatest proportion of extra
workers employed in the Kansas City offices are single women.
SCOPE OF DETAILED SURVEY
The following report of office workers’ occupations, conditions of
employment, and experience and work histories represents a cross­
section survey of all types of office described in the foregoing pages
the sample covers approximately one-third of the office population
of the Kansas City area. While many small offices were included in
the survey, the difficulties in covering the one-person office tended
to weight the sample with firms employing large numbers.
The data were collected by the Women’s Bureau field staff in the
fall of 1940. Detailed information was secured concerning age, sex,
marital status, occupation, salary rates and annual earnings, length
and continuity of employment with present firm, advancement since
entering its service, and over-all experience in office work. This in­
formation usually was obtained directly from personnel records and
only occasionally from the employees themselves. The earnings in
one pay period were taken from a 1940 pay roll. Annual earnings
usually were secured from Social Security records. In each firm an
interview with an officer or administrative employee afforded infor­
mation concerning hours and other conditions of work and various
personnel policies as they affect the office staff.
Because of lack of time, it was not possible to secure the educational
history of the office workers covered in Kansas City. Discussion of
the relation between educational background and factors such as




OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

8

salary, type of occupation, and the like can be found in the sections
of this report devoted to the surveys in Houston, Philadelphia, Los
Angeles, and Richmond.
A supplementary survey was made of schools in the Kansas City
area that offer business courses. From this study, conducted at the
same time as the survey of office workers, it has been possible to secure
some indication concerning the number of office workers who are being
trained and the kinds of training they are receiving as against the
market demand.
Table

I.—Number of offices scheduled and number of records secured, 1940, by
type of office—KANSAS CITY
Employee records secured
Type of office

Number
of offices
scheduled

Women
Total

Men
Number

Percent
of total

192

11,942

5,093

6,849

57.4

Banks and other finance ----------------------------------Insurance.--------------------------- ------ ---------------------

13
11

1,148
947

705
358

443
589

38.6
62.2

Air transportation------------------------------ ---------- ----Telephone and telegraph-------------------------------------Other public utilities.......................................................

10
3
2
5

1,165
314
521
751

1,002
177
96
389

163
137
425

14.0
43.6

Meat packing----------------------------------------------------Printing and publishing-------------------------------------Other manufacturing—Local firms-----------------------Other manufacturing—Branch firms----------------------

3
5
15
11

483
304
662
453

281
94
260
280

202
210

41.8
69: 1

Oil distributing. ---- ----------------------- ---------------Wholesale distributor, own goods........................... .......
Wholesale distributor, others’ goods------------------ --Department and apparel stores----------------------------Mail order and distributing offices of national chain
stores...................................................................................

8
10
8
22

570
372
441
861

332
174
212
129

238
198
229
732

51.9
85.0

6

1,833

199

1,634

89.1

Federal Government —------------------------------------State and city governments-.........................................

15
3

574
296

251
139

323
157

56.3
53.0

Education_______________ ____ __________________
Nonprofit organizations—........ -....................................

1
41

118
129

7
8

111
121

94.1

All types................................................................. .




173
41.8

CHARACTER OF OFFICE OCCUPATIONS
OCCUPATIONAL DISTRIBUTION

When applied to office occupations the term “clerk” is an anomalous
one that is difficult to divide into mutually exclusive job classes In
the sample of office workers covered in this survey “clerks” comprise
almost half of all employees scheduled, three-fifths of the men and
tw o-htths of the women. So large an occupational group that includes
so many special jobs has little significance.
Careful analysis of the occupations of the numerous types of clerk
encountered, however, allows some division of the group. Secretarial
stenographic, bookkeeeping, accounting, and machine-operating fields
are fairly clear-cut. The clerkships in considerable variety that fall
outside of these groups have been placed in 2 general classifications:
(1) Occupations in which 25 or more persons were scheduled, shown
separately under a general heading “other clerks,” and (2) a residual
group that includes all clerical occupations in which fewer than 25
workers were scheduled, all clerks engaged in a variety of tasks, and
derks in jobs that would identify individual firms. The group
other clerks includes such numerous office workers as billing and
statement, order, credit, file, mail, record, shipping, and stock clerks,
and such specialized people as service-desk clerks in public utilities
(water, gas, electric, and street railway), ticket sellers in railroads, and
transit clerks in financial offices. The group “clerks not elsewhere
classified comprises a small proportion, only 8 percent, of the total
number of workers for whom data were secured; men are more
numerous in the railroads and public utilities, women in the telephone
and telegraph companies and in retail trade.
Next to the “clerks” there are more stenographic and secretarial
employees than any other occupational group. Secretaries, stenog­
raphers, typists, dicta ting-machine transcribers, and correspondents
comprise two-fifths of the office workers covered in this study. Most of
these usually perform some general clerical work with their stenographic
^ties. 1 his is especially true of the stenographers and secretaries in
small offices. Women outnumber men more than 8 to 1 in this occu­
pational category and are found in every type of office. Of the 274
men reported in stenographic occupations, nearly two-thirds are in
insurance, transportation, local manufacturing, and mail-order offices.
Uookkeepmg and accounting workers make up 11 percent of the
total office group studied. The occupations represented are hand
bookkeepers, cashiers and tellers, accounting, audit, and entry
posting, or ledger clerks. The last three terms are included as book­
keeping clerks on the tables showing detailed occupations. It is
clear that clerical occupations run the gamut from general office work
and routmized activity to very specialized duties, in this case from
general hand bookkeeping to the detailed breakdown of bookkeeping
activities characteristic of the larger offices. In the Women’s Bureau




9

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 19 40

10

survey about 6 in every 10 employees in the bookkeeping group are
men. Over half of these men are in banks and the railroad, FederalGovernment, and public-utility offices. About two-thirds of the women
in the accounting group are employed in the mail-order, retail-store,
and public-utility offices.
.
Office workers who operate machines other than the typewriter as
the most important part of their work comprise 10 percent of the
employees covered. Nearly 3 times as many women as men are in
this group. Calculating, bookkeeping, and billing machines afford
the most jobs. Other office machines in use are addressing, check­
writing, duplicating, key-punch, and tabulating machines.
The class “special office workers” includes the higher-paid positions
that are somewhat more specialized than most clerkships and involve
additional responsibility and duties other than clerical. Some of the
occupational groups in this category are purchasing agents, appraisers,
interviewers, underwriters, dispatchers, customers’ contact men, and
some chief clerks and paymasters. Special office workers comprise
only 2 percent of the total number of office workers covered. It is
interesting that the men are five times as numerous as the women in
this group, the men appearing in every type of office scheduled except
printing and publishing. Most of the women are in the retail stores
and the education office contacted.
Approximately 8 in every 100 of the workers scheduled are classed as
administrative or supervisory personnel. This group includes not only
those who act in a purely administrative and executive capacity, but
such professional workers as accountants and statisticians and office
workers who, in addition to performing some clerical duties themselves,
are responsible for the smooth operation of bookkeeping, filing, steno­
graphic, and other clerical divisions. Men outnumber women about
4 to 1 in this administrative and professional group. They are especi­
ally well represented in the offices of railroads, financial establishments,
insurance, and oil distributing. Almost one-third of the women are
in the national-chain-store group.
Information from personnel and pay-roll records was not requested
in the case of corporation or firm officials, high administrative personnel,
or members of professional groups not usually attached to business
offices. Even with these exceptions it was difficult to secure satis­
factory representation of the remaining supervisory, administrative,
and professional workers in the firms covered, largely because of con­
fusion as to who should be considered members of the excluded groups.
Extra and part-time workers are primarily women. They amount
to only 4 percent of the total number of office workers scheduled.
Table

II.—Distribution by occupation of all employees reported, and predominance
of men or of women in each occupation—KANSAS CITY

Occupation

Men

Women

Total

Percent
of group
total i

Number

A11 occupations------ ---------- -----------

Percent
of grand
total

Number

Percent
of group
total1

Number

11,942

100.0

6,849

57.4

5,093

42.6

990
483
10, 469

8.3
4.0
87.7

190
412
6,247

19.2
85.3
59.7

800
71
4,222

80.8
14.7
40.3

Administrative, executive, and clericalRegular office workers..............—..............

1 Percents not computed where base less than 50.




CHARACTER OF OCCUPATIONS—KANSAS CITY

H

II. Distribution by occupation of all employees reported, and predominance
of men or of women m each occupation—KANSAS CITY__-------------- <

Table

Total

Women

Men

Occupation
Number

Percent
of grand
total

Regular:
Stenographic group
Stenographer______
Typist________
Dictating-machine transcriber
Correspondent.........
Accounting group
Audit clerk____
Bookkeeping clerk _
Bookkeeper, hand
Cashier, teller _
Machine operators..
. ■.,
Billing_______
Bookkeeoing
Calculating___
Duplicating. _
Key punch ______

338
764
133
175
1,361
365
268
242
159
327
1,215
74

72

Stock...
Telephone. _
Service desk. ._
Ticket seller_____
Tube clerk.........
Clerks not elsewhere classified
Insurance___
Railroads..
Air transportation.
Other public utilities
Meat packing___
Other manufacturing—Local firms
Other manufacturing—Branch
firms. .
Wholesale distributor, own goods
Wholesale distributor, others’
goods ___ _.
Department and apparel stores
Mail order and distributing offices
of national chain stores
Federal Government
State and city governments...
Nonprofit organizations_
_
Special office workers. __

355

3.1
2.0
1.3

.6

.6

«. _

147

3.0
.6
1.2
.8
1.2

276

1.1
2.3

234

2.0

147
70
378
209
35
58
114
39
218
123

1.2
.6

49
77
31
146
81
22
30
41

2,294
305
1,073
694
131
91
515
96
108
133
72
106
899
50
107
140
527
14
44
12
5
1,959
196
57
41
8
94
346
60
37
84
121
9
221

Percent
of group
total i

Number

89.3
90.2
92. 7
90.8
98.5
52.0
37. 8
26.3
40. 3
55.0
45.3
32.4
74.0
67.6
91. 5
51.5
91.3
19.4

274
33
85
70
2
84
846
269
160
109
87
221
316
24
10
132
50
58

48.2
55.2
78.1
27.9
8.3
68.1
81.0
46. 5
13.4
46.4
8.3
43.5
38.6
36.8
100.0

30.3
95.9
54. 8

.3
1.2
.7

66
118
531
18
43
1

55.8
1.4

126
17

86.3
21.0

.3
.3

22
21

27
13
45
35
152
5
438
31
34
69
25
20
64
21
8
20

.3

Percent
of group
total i
10.7
9.8
7.3
9.2
1.5
48.0
62.2
73.7
59.7
45.0
54.7
67.6
26.0
32.4
8.5
48.5
8.7
80.6

51.8
44.8
21.9
72.1
91.8
31.9
19.0
53.5
86.6
53.6
48.3
91.7
56.5

26
27
20

.5
.3
1.8
1.0
8.1
.4

.2

24
67

.6

9
58

.3
.3
.6
.1

66
25
17
69
10

77.6
60. 5

11
4
7

78
39
39
70
10
291 1

34
8
2,106
159
16
106
89
44
81
69
239
97
113
100
287
147
43
239

27
139
209
8
45
69

1.8

37
31
27

1 Percents not computed where base less than 50.




1.1

46
13

Other clerks.......... .
uiillli^, 1H1U &UlLt)UlGlit
Checker .
Claims examiner and adjuster
Cost.....................
Credit..............
File...........
Mail____
Messenger, office girl, office boy
Order___
Pay roll and timekeeper
Rate_______
Record _____
Shipping. _____

2.8
9.7

Number

86.6

15
9

61.4
63.2
22.4
39.5
69.7
4.1
45.2
44.2
98.6
13.7
79.0

13.4

84.6

12
14

15.4

98.6

1

1.4

16.8

242

83.2

12

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

DESCRIPTION OF OFFICE WORK IN KANSAS CITY’S OUT­
STANDING INDUSTRIES—MEAT PACKING AND THE MAIL­
ORDER BUSINESS 3

Any occupation is best understood when described in its functional
relation to other occupations in a specific industry. For this reason,
there are described in some detail in the following pages office posi­
tions in the large packing plants and mail-order houses in Greater
Kansas City. In this way not only will most of the more common
office occupations be covered, but the kinds of clerical jobs character­
istic of these important types of enterprise.
Office occupations in the meat-packing industry.

Meat packing far outstrips any other manufacturing industry in the
Kansas City area in total number of employees and total value of
products. The office force required to keep track of its affairs is
large and complex.
.
The core around which office procedure in meat packing is organized
is the daily and accurate collection and analysis of livestock and meat
market information and of cost statistics.
The markets for livestock and packing-house products are very sen­
sitive, since, being concerned with highly perishable commodities,
they are immediately and directly affected by agricultural conditions
and consumer income and demand. The persons in control of pack­
ing-house operations must be informed at all times, in order intelli­
gently to guide daily livestock buying, on the one hand as to the most
recent data concerning the live-animal markets, and on the other as
to the prices for which packing-house products are selling.
Closely connected with the problem of securing and acting on current
market data is that of keeping on hand complete current information
with regard to packing-house costs. The industry operates on a very
small gross margin out of which expenses must be paid and profits
earned. As a consequence, close and accurate cost figuring is essen­
tial to successful conduct of the business. Furthermore, cost data
must be kept entirely up to date in order to provide a check on buying
operations.
.
The complexity of the industry makes this figuring extremely
difficult. From the point of view of functions performed, packing­
house operations are a combination of four distinct enterprises, at
least one of which may in some companies be subdivided into several
separate businesses. There is, first, the slaughtering and meat pack­
ing; second, the specialized manufacture of byproducts such as sau­
sage, oleomargarine, glue, fertilizer, soap and cleanser, all distinctly
separate manufacturing processes; third, the storage and wholesaling
of products; and finally, their distribution. Some meat-packing firms
are concerned primarily with only one of these four functions. The
largest concerns, however, each with branch plants in Kansas City,
conduct all four, and some of them have added manufacture and
distribution of certain dairy products, in order to utilize their elaborate
3 The following occupational analysis is based on field data gathered by agents of the Women s Bureau
and, in addition, on secondary sources of which the following are most important: Greer* Howard C ., Pack­
ing House Accounting, University of Chicago Press, 1929, 399 pp.; Institute of Meatpacking, Plant Operating
Service and Control, rev. ed., Edward Bros., Inc., Ann Arbor, 1935, pp. 39-71, 87-89; Nystrorn, Paul H.,
Economics of Retailing, Ronald Press Co., 1930, yol. I, pp. 174-212; Rosenwjld, Juhus, Ma^Order Mer­
chandising,” in A Century of Industrial Progress (F. W. \V lie, ed.), pp. 474-485, Doubleday, Doran & Co.,
Inc., 1928.




CHARACTER OE OCCUPATIONS—KANSAS CITY

13

distribution system the more fully and economically. The perform­
ance of any one of these functions constitutes a business in itself and
calls for accurate accounting by department.
The office sections that are concerned with the accounting procedures
for market and cost analysis are the most important in the large
meat-packing company. Usually they are organized as accounting,
statistical, or separate departmental divisions (that is, beef, veal,
oleomargarine, and so forth) and consist of accounting and cost
clerks, record clerks, hand bookkeepers, ledger clerks, statistical
clerks, accountants, and numerous calculating-machine operators,
most of them women. Department heads and supervisors, as well
as the usual clerical help in the way of stenographers, file clerks, and
messengers, complete the picture of the cost and market analysis
group of employees.
These workers are engaged in collecting and recording each day’s
market quotations, recording in detail livestock and other purchases
and all operational expenses, keeping track of production, computing
realizable values of various byproducts from current market data,
keeping up-to-date stock records by grade and point in the process of
manufacture, and finally arriving at factory and market costs. The
statistical, record, ledger, bookkeeping, and accounting clerks record
and compute data under direction. Accountants direct and perform
more complicated computations, arrive at the cost or market analyses,
draw up reports, and the like. In most instances the cost work is
carried on separately for each packing-house department and im­
portant process, specific figures being kept, for example, for the cut
meat, beef, hog, lamb, the wholesale packing-house market, and other
departments, and for such byproduct manufactures as the hide­
tanning, oleomargarine, soap, and sausage-making processes where
these are a part of packing-house operations.
The various computing and record clerks must be quick, accurate,
and dependable, for it is with the help of their figures that the execu­
tives make daily plans for purchasing livestock and organizing pack­
ing-house operations.
For the most part the remaining packing-house procedure is very
much the same as that in any large manufacturing establishment
except for some features involved in the wide distribution of perishable
commodities. There are, first of all, the executive and administrative
departments, in which the officers are assisted in the carrying on of
their duties by office managers, secretaries, stenographers, file clerks,
and messengers. Occasionally there are research clerks who collect
data for firm executives; these have been classed with “special office
workers” in this survey.
In the larger firms there is usually an employment office with an
employment manager and at least one clerk-stenographer. The
employment, pay roll, and timekeeping offices may be merged, time­
keepers in many cases acting also as pay-roll clerks, with a paymaster
as supervisor of pay-roll accounting. In any case, timekeeping is an
especially important part of the office procedure, since labor costs are
allocated to different processes on the basis of the timekeeping records
for the various departments. “Route timekeepers” are employed at
most plants. Each routeman is assigned a group of departments for
which he performs all timekeeping duties such as placing new em450493°—42-------3




14

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

ployees on the pay roll at the proper job rate, dropping from the
current records employees who leave the company, issuing “starting
tickets,” time tickets, or brass checks, and supervising their proper
use, issuing commissary orders and the like. Statistical clerks,
calculating-machine operators, and record clerks in the timekeeping
division also may compute labor-cost statistics, total earnings, and
Social Security records, handle collection of weekly or monthly
premiums on any insurance program that may be administered by the
company, pay claims and record such payments, and, if connected
with the employment department, maintain personnel records.
Livestock purchasing usually is an out-of-plant process, special
buyers acting on executive orders and weight takers, drivers, and yard
boys being employed at the various stockyards in the numbers neces­
sary. Purchasing of other raw materials and supplies, however, is a
part of office procedure. In the larger companies it is handled gener­
ally through a purchasing department and in smaller houses by some
one executive. In some instances special sales departments include
within their own organizations trained buyers who purchase the
particular materials used in making the products that the department
sells.
The central purchasing department, where this exists, consists of
one or more purchasing agents, here classed as “special office workers”,
who have the important duties of following commodity prices and
fluctuating market conditions, checking on plant supplies daily, and
authorizing the purchase of materials. In addition, they organize
and keep a buying schedule for all commodities regularly used and
for which regulations can be made in regard to how much should be
kept in stock for stated periods. The purchasing department is
informed of the need of a purchase through a requisition, usually
issued by the general storeroom but sometimes by separate depart­
ments. When the purchase is completed, several copies of the order
are made by purchasing-record clerks, usually typists. One copy is
kept in the purchasing department fdes, one goes to the company
from which the purchase is made, one each to the voucher department,
the receiving department, and the storeroom or department issuing
the requisition.
On arrival, purchases are handled by the receiving department,
where checkers examine the articles for quantity, have them tested
for quality, and issue a receiving report, one copy of which goes to the
purchasing department, one to the person placing the order, and one to
the voucher department, where the report is attached to the invoice
with a copy of the purchase order.
Voucher or accounts-payable clerks enter accounts payable in a
voucher register, make out voucher checks calling for payment, and
keep a record of vouchers paid and returned canceled. Often they are
billing-machine operators. The voucher or accounts-payable depart­
ment may be a part of the invoice department, where the voucher
clerks are called billing clerks, or it may be separate. In addition,
there are invoice-control clerks who examine incoming invoices for
errors, comparing them with vouchers, receiving reports, and pur­
chase orders to verify amounts ordered with amounts received, and to
see that the proper credit and discount allowances have been made.
The voucher and invoice departments include also supervisory
personnel, calculating-machine operators, and messengers.




CHARACTER OF OCCUPATIONS—KANSAS CITY

15

There are four main channels through which packing-house products
are distributed: (1) Branch houses that function as centers of distribu­
tion in large cities; (2) car routes each of which consists of a number of
towns and villages on one railroad line and serviced by a salesman of
the packing-house company; (3) export business; and (4) “directshipment” sales made directly to customers, who may be ultimate
consumers, jobbers, manufacturers. There may be, in addition, a
sales-promotion department at the plant. Orders reach the packing­
house office by mail, telephone, telegraph, or cable. Mail clerks and
telephone and teletype operators, among other duties, facilitate the
delivery of orders to the sales and order-writing departments.
In addition to those carrying on sales-promotional work, there
usually are sales-audit and sometimes record and stock clerks in the
sales department. The sales-audit clerks check sales tickets for proper
addition, extension of amounts, and other features. Stock clerks
help to keep a running inventory. There are many typists and
stenographers who are kept busy with sales correspondence and
records.
In most cases the order and sales departments are entirely separate.
Order clerks or checkers review orders for accuracy, availability of
product, and credit. They may also send price quotations to cus­
tomers, route finished order sheets to departments to be filled, keep
a file of orders received, and answer customers’ correspondence.
Some register orders on a numerical list by cars and by salesmen.
The orders are then passed to typists who write, in several copies, the
invoices, shipping tickets, and department tickets so that the orders
can be filled accurately. The numerous typists in the order depart­
ments of large packing-house firms must be well trained in their work,
for errors can prove costly and embarrassing. Besides order writing!
sometimes the typists do part of the work of order clerks. Messengers
deliver the orders to each plant department concerned. These de­
liveries must be made in sufficient time to allow goods to be properly
inspected and packed before shipment according to train and truck
schedules. Usually there is a supervisor in the order department who
plans and directs the work.
A checker at the loading station has in his possession a copy of each
order included in the carload. A “caller” calls from the marking on
each package the information necessary for the checker to identify the
package with an order on his list. The caller also announces the
products, pieces, and weight included in the package. These data
and the number of items included in a single carload are recorded by
the checker. A representative of the order department may check
any averages, shortages, or errors with the car checker.
After the cars are loaded, the loading-dock sheet used by the car
checker is sent to the railroad-billing department, where billing
clerks have already received copies of the department tickets showing
the items filled. The dock sheets and tickets are compared by clerks,
and invoices and bills of lading are made out by billers who send them
to the customer. Copies are sent to the accounts-receivable or book­
keeping department and the railroad.
In the transportation department rate clerks calculate and quote
freight rates to shippers and keep a daily record of freight that has
been booked for loading. The transportation and railroad-billing




16

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

departments are sometimes combined, and often the clerks both bill
and figure freight rates. In addition, traffic men, who range all the
way from chief traffic managers to route clerks, handle freight routing
and other traffic problems. Where data in the present report appear
by occupation, traffic managers and their assistants are classed as
“special office workers.”
Each good-sized packing plant has its separate credit and claims
departments. The former consists usually of a credit manager, a
“special office worker” in this report, who checks and authorizes cus­
tomers’ credit when orders are received, and at least one stenographer.
Often, also a file clerk and office boy are found in the credit department.
The claims department includes, besides stenographic help, several
claims clerks who investigate claims for losses, shortages, damages,
or overcharges on shipments. They check the movements of products
between consignor and consignee and adjust claims by allowing credit
or authorizing replacement of lost or damaged goods. Claims clerks
have important duties requiring responsibility and a thorough knowl­
edge of the business. They are considered in the nature of “senior”
clerks and are compensated accordingly.
In the accounts-receivable or bookkeeping department, bookkeepingmachine operators and sometimes ledger clerks and hand bookkeepers
keep a current record of accounts, posting charges, credits, and bal­
ances. Cashiers are in charge of money received, cash entries, and
deposits.
.
Many packing plants are small and do not require the number or
variety of office help discussed in the foregoing. The office procedure
outlined, however, is in general characteristic of a significant propor­
tion of the meat-packing houses and especially of the more important
plants found in the Kansas City area.
Office occupations in mail-order distributing houses.

Though the mail-order houses in Greater Kansas City have fewer
employees than are required in the meat-packing plants, they have
approximately as many office workers. Whereas only about one-quarter
of the packing-house'personnel attends to office matters, nearly twofifths of the workers in the large mail-order distributing houses are
so engaged. This reflects the nature of the mail-order business.
The most important work of the mail-order distributing houses
such as those scheduled in Kansas City begins where that of the ordi­
nary retailing establishment leaves off, for the latter is most concerned
with selling merchandise, the former with filling orders. The process
of filling thousands of mail orders, a great many of which require
correspondence, involves a vast amount of paper work and a well
regulated office machine.
In at least one of the houses visited in Kansas City the machinery
for handling thousands of orders a day has been perfected to the point
that orders move through the various departments of the plant at
a steady pace planned each day on the basis of the weight of the
morning mail. An order received at 8 o’clock in the morning may be
scheduled for shipment at 1:10 in the afternoon, at which time the
merchandise actually may be found in the shipping room on its way
to the customer.
The process of filling a mail order is begun in the mail-opening
department, in which, after the mail is weighed and machine-opened,




CHARACTER OF OCCUPATIONS—KANSAS CITY

17

and an estimate is made of the number of orders to be filled that day
the letters are read and sorted by numerous clerks. These clerks
remove letters and orders from envelopes, pinning checks and money
orders to the order sheets and letters they accompany. They also
read the mad, extracting anything aside from an order in a customer’s
letter and sending it to the proper department. Their final job is to
see that everything in each order is clear and can be handled. Another
group in the mail-opening department sorts and tallies the remittances
that have been sent with the orders, and sees that the money goes to
the cashier’s office, where clerks list the checks, inspect them, and
balance the money, using listing machines and cash registers. A few
m the mail-opening department may make daily reports of the number
of orders of various types received. Several messengers pass back
and forth between this and related departments.
From mail opening, the orders proceed to the entry department,
where the customers’ orders are entered on merchandise-department
entry tickets by entry clerks or typists. The orders are then ready
for pricing, whereby price checkers or price clerks check the prices
quoted on the entry tickets against the latest catalog. They also
verify other features such as catalog number, the description of the
merchandise, quantity, size, and so forth.
The orders are next carried to the index department, where index
or file clerks keep the customers’ record cards, dating and posting the
amount of each order and pulling cards for reference. Typists or
stencil cutters inscribe plates for new cards that must be added to the
complete index of customers to whom catalogs are sent and from whom
orders are received. Some clerks in the index department may write
the labels and fill in the express receipts and tickets that accompany
the order to the shipping room.
When the order reaches the merchandise department through tubes
attended by tube clerks, each article is selected, checked with the
ticket requesting it, wrapped, weighed, and sent by conveyor belt to
the shipping room, where it is rechecked and packed, weighed, and
stamped, all by workers primarily nonclcrical. Kate clerks in the
traffic department, however, have “already performed the clerical and
specialized job of routing shipments via the most economical channels
and consolidating less than carload lots of merchandise into pool cars.
Rate clerks also compile and maintain permanent routing instructions,
audit transportation expense bills, and collect rate information for
railroad and Interstate Commerce Commission hearings.
The final process through which each package goes before shipment
is the clerical one of billing. Billing clerks add the cost of the postage
to the total value of the order. The resulting total is compared with
the remittance amount and, if necessary, a refund voucher or a coin
card for money due is enclosed and forms are attached explaining the
difference. The bills are then enclosed and the package is released to
the post office. Most of this billing is done by hand.
When merchandise is not paid for in advance, the procedure is
modified somewhat to include credit checking and special billing.
Originally the mail-order business was carried on through distributing
houses only and on a strictly cash basis. With the increasing use of the
automobile in rural areas the mail-order houses experienced keen
competition for the farmers’ market, their original and almost exclusive




18

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

selling province. This led in 1925 to the setting up of retail stores m
smalAowns and on the fringes of large cities as additional points of
contact with the retail trade, and a little later credit was extended to
mail-order customers. Now more than a quarter, and probably
nearer a third, of the total amount of mail-order purchases are made on
the installment plan. The mail-order houses report that their credit
loss is very small. To manage installment buying and keep possible
losses at a minimum requires a vigilant credit department.
The credit and collection departments are now among the largest
in the mail-order distributing houses. They include clerks who check
the credit of customers who have requested merchandise on time and
ledger clerks and hand bookkeepers who keep the installment accounts.
Numerous correspondents closely follow up charge customers, cor­
respondence checkers making sure that letters are accurate befoie
they are released for mailing. Billing-machine operators and hand
billers prepare customers’ statements. All these activities require
the services of many stenographers, dictating-machine operators,
tvpists, and messengers. Listing, audit, accounting, and index clerks
also assist in keeping the credit and collection department records.
A comparatively small amount of advertising and publicity is car­
ried on by the branch distributing houses and most of this is concerned
with mailing the catalog semiannually or on request throughout the
year, or the occasional printing and mailing of between-season folders.
These activities require addressing clerks, most of whom operate
addressing machines, typists, many of whom cut stencils, mail-route
entry and file clerks. The first catalog is mailed to anyone requesting
it but, because of the expense of the catalog, subsequent requests are
not honored unless the individuals making them have become custom­
ers up to a stipulated amount. Before mailing catalogs, therefore,
there are clerks who must check the customers’ status and enter the
name and address of a potential customer making his first catalog
request. Between-season folders are sometimes multigraphed or
mimeographed.
,
,
,
,
, .
In the stockkeeping or merchandise departments record or stock
clerks keep an inventory of merchandise, and calculating-machine
operators, statistical clerks, and audit clerks compile reports concern­
ing stock movements. There are also correspondents who keep in
touch with warehouse and factory and require the services of stenog­
raphers, typists, and messengers.
....
,
.
.
When the customer is not pleased with his purchase or has not
received his package and wants to know the reason for its delay, he
writes to the mail-order house. This letter is referred to the proper
adjustment, look-up, or information clerks in the adjustment depart­
ment, who attempt to discover the seat of the difficulty or the facts
in the case, reporting their findings to correspondents. Ihe latter
correspond with the customer until a satisfactory adjustment of his
complaint has been made. Stenographers, dictating-machine tran­
scribers, and typists take dictation and type the outgoing letters,
while file clerks pull or refile all the necessary data. Often inerchandise is returned when complaints have been made. Exchanges or
refunds are effected with the aid of adjustment clerks and checkers.
Further, clerks are employed to keep a record of all returns, so that
the management may be apprised and take action in the case of cus­




CHARACTER OF OCCUPATIONS—KANSAS CITY

19

tomers who return merchandise indiscriminately. In any event, cor­
respondents are again called upon to acknowledge the return of the
merchandise and inform the customer how the situation is being
handled.
As in the conduct of all business enterprises, expenses have been
incurred and must be met. The accounts-payable department keeps
the necessary records with the help of invoice, audit, and record clerks
and machine and hand bookkeepers, who insure that obligations are
paid promptly and adequate data are available for the accounting
and audit departments from which costs may be ascertained and dis­
tributed.
The pay-roll accounting is carried on either in a separate depart­
ment or within the general accounting department. Most mail-order
employees are paid an hourly rate and given time and a half for hours
worked over 40 a week. Furthermore, in some departments—for
example, publicity, mail opening, and billing—production bonuses
often are given. Consequently, timekeeping is an important part of
the pay-roll work and is carried on in larger departments by specially
designated workers in addition to the central timekeepers. Pay-roil
clerks may compute the production of individual workers as well as
their gross earnings, while the timekeepers are sometimes given the
responsibility of compiling department labor-cost records. These pay­
roll workers use calculating machines constantly.
In the general accounting and audit offices, record, statistical, audit,
and accounting clerks and calculating-machine operators make up
most of the personnel. A few hand bookkeepers and bookkeepingmachine operators also are employed, as well as the usual stenographic
help. These people assist in keeping records and making reports con­
cerning the receipt and disbursement of merchandise, daily net sales,
and the like, and have a part in compiling the necessary data for each
year’s fiscal reports.
Teletype and telephone operators or clerks receive orders, com­
plaints, or requests for information and may have the additional
responsibility of looking up the necessary data to effect adjustments
and give delivery dates and other information.
Though stenographers, typists, and file clerks are employed in
almost every division of the large mail-order distributing house, there
are few secretaries. Most of the secretaries are engaged in work of
a responsible and confidential nature in the central managing offices.
Almost every department, however, employs supervisory and admin­
istrative personnel, for much of the office work in the large mail-order
house is broken down into repetitive and routine duties for which
chiefly young workers requiring careful supervision are employed.
Work inspectors, checkers, supervisors, and assistant division heads
often perform some of the clerical work of the department themselves
in addition to supervising, apportioning, or inspecting the work of
clerks who are under them. In some cases there are, however, depart­
ment or division heads whose duties are almost entirely administrative.
These, the secretaries, and the rate clerks in the traffic department are
the highest-paid office personnel in the mail-order distributing houses.
Detailed descriptions of occupations common to the offices of certain
industries that to some extent are part of the business life of all cities
will be found in the report for Philadelphia. Of these industries,
banks are especially well represented in Greater Kansas City.




20

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

OCCUPATION AND TYPE OF OFFICE

Tabic III summarizes to what extent men and women are employed
in the important occupational groups in each type of office scheduled
in Kansas City. It shows on the one hand, for each type of office, the
extent to which the specific occupational groups are employed; and
on the other, for each occupational group, its distribution in the various
types of office.
Women.

Women office workers greatly outnumber men in 11 of the 19 types
of office scheduled. In the educational agency, the nonprofit organiza­
tions, mail-order and chain-store houses, department and apparel
stores, and telephone and telegraph companies, the proportions of
women range from more than 9 in every 10 to 5 in every 6. On the
other hand, women constitute only 1 in every 6 of the office employees
in railroads, and only about 2 in 5 of those in meat packing and in
banks. In the remaining types of office the proportions range from
9 women to every 11 men in oil distributing and in air transportation,
to almost twice as many women as men in printing and publishing.
In the stenographic group are found 37 percent of all the women but
only 6/2 percent of the men. The women are fairly well spread, though
by no means evenly, throughout the various types of concern covered
in the study, but men in such occupations are few or none in half the
types of office scheduled. On the other hand, women in stenographic
occupations in the nonprofit organizations and retail stores scheduled
average only five or fewer to an office.
In the accounting and machine-operating occupations the mail­
order group leads all others in the number of women employed, with
retail stores ranking second. Together these account for almost half
of the women in the bookkeeping and accounting group and nearly
two-fifths of the women machine operators. Very few women are in
accounting jobs in air transportation, oil distributing, and meat
packing. Women machine operators are more evenly distributed
over the various types of office, though with less than 5 percent of the
total in a number of cases.
Men.

Nearly two-fifths of the men in the accounting occupations are in the
financial concerns and the railroads. Very few are in telephone and
telegraph, mail order, and printing and publishing.
Male machine operators are most numerous in the financial and
insurance establishments, in which almost half the total are employed.
The railroads and financial offices account for over one-third of the
men in the occupations listed as “other clerks.” A number were
scheduled also in the gas, water, electric, and street-railway offices
and in meat packing.




Table III.—Number of women and of men regular employees in the various types of office, by occupational group—KANSAS CITY

450943

Number of regular employees

Type of office

Other clerks (see
Machine oper­ table II for spe­
ators
cific occupations)

Accounting
group

Men

Women

Men

Women

6,247 4,222

Women

4*

Stenographic
group

Total

Men

Women Men

Women

Clerks not else­
where classified
(duties depend
on type of office)

Special office
workers

Men

Women

Men

Women

1,959 2,106

Men

All types.................. ............................................. .

192

2,294

274

515

846

899

316

531

438

49

242

Banks and other finance._______________________
Insurance._________________ ______ ______

13
11

434
523

612
288

196
281

14
36

28
29

184
34

64
35

89
62

127
126

273
92

18
43

30
35

1
9

22
29

Railroads............ ................................................................
Air transportation
Telephone and telegraph____________ ____________
Other public utilities______ ___ _____ ____________

10
3
2
5

151
134
411
353

779
156
75
342

75
93
91
114

49
31
11

17
2
33
55

131
38
11
73

19
20
30
44

10
8
6
10

39
12
128
123

504
50
33
171

1
6
126
17

69
25
20
64

1
3

16
4
5
13

Meat packing.................................................... ..................
Printing and publishing
Other manufacturing—Local firms
Other manufacturing—Branch firms

3
5
15
11

169
162
393
155

236
87
233
240

87
31
181
60

14
11
28
10

3
11
15
4

36
13
31
32

66
11
63
41

6
5
20
4

12
87
111
38

148
50
118
135

1
22
21
11

21
8
20
26

Oil distributing
Wholesale distributor, own goods ..................................
Wholesale distributor, others' goods
Department and apparel stores__ ____ _________
Mail order and distributing offices of national chain
stores

8
10
8
22

227
194
199
647

263
146
187
107

128
92
85
113

5
4
21

3
12
8
94

57
25
16
31

63
33
42
127

21
7
17
6

29
50
55
243

124
79
103
56

4
7
9
58

27
20
15
9

6

1,417

150

341

31

146

12

216

30

648

62

66

12

Federal Government____ _______________________
State and city governments.___ _____ ______ ______

15
3

315
144

210
98

179
82

3
4

39
4

94
25

21
2

11
4

50
39

65
38

25
17

14
22

Education.............................................................. .............
Nonprofit organizations

1
41

105
114

6
7

3
62

2

6
6

2
1

1
1

8
34

2
3

69
10

1




1

11
2
1

16
33

12

29
11
15
5
3

1

23
5

1

1

CHARACTER OF OCCUPATIONS — KANSAS CITY

to* Oil

Num­
ber of
offices
re­
port­
ing

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE OF OFFICE
WORKERS
Educational status.

It was not possible in the limited time available to secure specific
data concerning the education of each of the office workers scheduled
in Greater Kansas City. However, all but the telephone and tele­
graph companies and the nonprofit organizations were questioned as
to the amount of schooling required of persons entering their employ.
This information gives at least a suggestion of the general educational
background of the newer employees in Kansas City offices.
A college education is required by three of the firms, but only of men
who doubtless are to be trained for responsible positions. Of the 146
offices reporting on educational requirements, 56, or nearly 40 percent,
have no special policy. This is more general in railroads, retail
stores, local manufacturing, and printing and publishing than in the
other groups. In three instances the standards depend entirely on the
position for which the applicant is being considered and there are no
general requirements. Ten offices are covered by civil service regula­
tions, which usually make at least a high-school education or its equiva­
lent mandatory for office employment. The 77 remaining offices that
reported this information, or just over half, practically require highschool education. Special business-course training is desired in 51 of
the 141 offices reporting.
Experience.

Of all workers scheduled in Greater Kansas City whose experience
was reported, two-fifths had had no office experience before entering
the present place of employment. About 20 percent of these were new
employees, having been with the firm less than a year, but over twofifths had been with the present employer at least 5 years. It will
be recalled that a large proportion of the firms covered in this study
hired a considerable number of inexperienced workers in 1939 to fill
vacancies. Apparently the policy of hiring beginners and training
them is prevalent in Kansas City offices and has been in effect for
some time, especially in the case of women.
Most of the inexperienced employees are messengers or office boys,
calculating-machine operators, typists, stenographers, file clerks, mail
clerks, or merely clerks with general clerical duties. They enter
their office jobs fresh from school or from some nonclerical position.
Ordinarily they are young people.
Among the women the most experienced workers are the secretaries,
hand bookkeepers, cashiers, and the clerks not elsewhere classified
who are in public-utility offices. Among the men they are special
22




EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE

23

office workers, shipping clerks, cashiers or tellers, and the clerks not
elsewhere classified who are employed in railroads. These are posi­
tions for which considerable previous experience is desirable or in
which people who have been trained are kept for many years by the
same firm.
In general, about 70 percent of the men and nearly 60 percent of the
women covered by this survey had 10 or more years of office experi­
ence. Only 22 percent of the men, but 30 percent of the women, had
been in office work less than 5 years.
Table

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

Occupational group

Percent with total experience ofNumber
of employees 1 Under
1, under 3, under 5, under 10 years
reported
1 year
3 years
5 years
10 years and over
WOMEN

Total.
Stenographic group......................................
Accounting group................ ................ .........
Machine operators
Other clerks:
Billing and statement_________
File____ _____ __________________ ”
Pay roll_____ ____ ________________
Record_______________ ___________
Stock_________ ______ ____________
Telephone........................................II”
Tube____________ __________ _____
Clerks not elsewhere classified in—
Finance and insurance______ ____
Trade: Retail and mail order______
Manufacturing and wholesale dis­
tributors................................................
Public utilities_________ ______ ____
Other types of office_______ ________

4,478

6.5

11.1

12.2

13.1

57.0

1, 624
401
675

5.4
4.0
7.3

10.5
8.7
13.7

12.7
11.0
14.4

17.2
9.2
13.0

54.1
67.1
51.5

140
275
93
186
95
153
67

8.6
13.5
2.7
10.5
3.9
3.0

16.4
17.5
7.5
10.8
18.9
3.9
6.0

15.7
12.4
7.5
16.1
25.3
5.2
14. 9

18.6
8.4
10.8
10.8
9.5
13.1
16.4

40.7
48.4
74.2
59.7
35.8
73.9
59.7

136
274

5.9
17.9

7.4
17.5

5.9
14.6

5.9
12.0

75.0
38.0

56
201
202

5.4
.5
6.4

12.5
.5
10.4

8.9
3.0
9.4

12.5
3.0
11.9

60.7
93.0
61.9

MEN
Total.

3,025

6.4

7.8

8.1

8.4

69.2

161
669
207

5.0
1.9
6.8

11.8
3.9
14.0

14.9
5.5
19.8

9.3
8.5
9.7

59.0
80.1
49.8

127
295
225
130
165

3.1
30.5
3.1
2.3
5.5

5.5
18.6
4.0
1.5
9.7

6.3
13.2
6.2

4.7
6.4
5.8

80.3
31.2
80.9

Stenographic group
Accounting group__________________ _
Machine operators................ ......................
Other clerks:
Billing and statement________ _____
Messengers, mail, and transit______
Record__________________ _____ ___
Shipping....................................................
Stock______________ _____ _
Clerks not elsewhere classified in—
Finance and insurance_____ ______ _
Railroads____________________ ____
Manufacturing and wholesale dis­
tributors____ ___________________
Public utilities other than railroads..
Other types of office..............................

8.5

13.3

63.0

96
184

4.2

9.4
.5

6.2

15.6

64.6

183
151
243

2.2
.7
14.8

14.2
6.0
11.1

12.0
2.6
13.2

8.7
6.6
20.6

62.8
84.1
40.3

Special office workers......................... ............

189

.5

1.1

2.6

4.8

91.0




24

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 19 40

Age factor.

Length of experience in office work is, as would be expected, closely
correlated with age. Thirty percent of the women scheduled have
been in office work less than 5 years and about 30 percent are under
25 years of age; 22 percent of the men have been in office work less
than 5 years and not many more (24 percent) are under 25. Except
in the aggregate, the correlation is not so clear for those with long
experience. For example, with both sexes more have had 10 and more
years of office experience than are at least 30 years of age.
Kansas City office workers are a reiatively youthful group. In
fact, 81 percent of the women and 69 percent of the men scheduled
in this study are under 40. A smaller proportion of men than of
women is true of each 5-year age interval under 40.
Most of the firms reporting this information stated that 18 is the
lowest age at which they will employ office workers. Six will hire
workers at 16 or 17, and 5 will not take anyone younger than 20 or 21.
Actually 4 in every 100 of the men scheduled and 7 in every 100 of
the women are under 20. For both men and women the 5-year age
interval with the largest proportion of office workers is that of 20 and
under 25, in which 20 percent of the men and 24 percent of the women
are represented.
Printing and publishing employs a disproportionately large number
of young men. Twenty-five in every 100 of the men in these offices
are under 20 years of age, and more than 55 in every 100 are under 25.
The local manufacturing concerns also employ large numbers of young
men, about two-fifths of those scheduled being under 25. Over 50
percent of the women in the mail-order firms likewise are under 25.
Air transportation, because of the recent office expansion, employs
many young people; over 50 percent both of male and of female
workers are 20 and under 25.
In contrast to the employees of air-transportation companies,
office workers for the railroads are considerably older—about 70 per­
cent of the women and 64 percent of the men are 40 years of age or
more. Also employing a large number of older men are the State and
city government offices and the gas, water, electric, and street-railway
companies. Thirty-four percent of the women office workers in banks
and other financial establishments and in nonprofit organizations, in
contrast to 19 percent of the entire group of women scheduled, are at
least 40.
Men under 25 appear to be sought as mail clerks, messengers, and
machine operators, while women in the same age group comprise the
largest proportions of typists and file and stock clerks. Men working
as cashiers and tellers, shipping clerks, clerks in railroads, or special
office workers ordinarily are older. Women over 35 are found more
often in the bookkeeping and accounting occupations and as telephone
operators and receptionists than in other occupational groups.
Number of positions held.

Nearly two-thirds of the women and well over half of the men with
time in clerical work reported had been employed in one or more
offices before the present one. Nearly three-quarters of these claimed
an office-work history of 5 or more years. On the other hand, 45 in




EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE---- KANSAS CITY

25
every 100 men and 38 in every 100 women had had all their experience
'uj c™cern. Most of these had short work histories, but approxPTe?K0f both women and men with all their experience
with one firm had been working 10 or more years.
Experience and type of office.

Some types of firm more than others appear to keep their office
workers a long time. The railroads lead in this respect. Over 50
ol , llc lne.n ar'd women working in the railroad offices sched­
uled have been with the same road 20 years or more. Such service
toTeffiority rights" °f long~standinS and rikridly managed policies as
I lie telephone and telegraph companies also have a notable propor­
tion of office workers with long experience with one firm. Nearly
SSffli ZJnZZorT b“" in the same teleph0M »

In meat packing the men office workers have longer service histories
than the women. One-fifth hove been wit], the some packing house
[“ 20 or more years. Records for the public utilities other than the
transportation and communication companies show that over threefifths of the men and two-fifths of the women have been with the
present employer 10 years or more.
nf[?®rvice records of at least 5 years are common in the Kansas City
es covered. In fact, of the total office population scheduled, 57
percent of the men and 48 percent of the women claim at least 5 years
of service with the present firm. Besides the types of establishment
already mentioned, banks and other financial concerns, insurance
and branch manufacturing should be mentioned as having high propor­
tions both of men and of women who have worked in their offices for
at least 5 years. 1 hough printers and publishers have a high turn­
over among their male employees, 60 percent of their women workers
have been 5 or more years with the firm where scheduled
rin°w$rable ru e e*Pansion, took P^ce in air transportation in
Greater Kansas City m 1939 and 1940. As a result, most of the office
thlS lndustl7 have been with the present firm less than a
year A large proportion (about 40 percent) of the men in Federal
Government offices have been with their present agency less than a
I?' c,1,nslde1rab|y m«re than half of both men and women have
been there less than 5 years. This is largely a consequence of ex?om!2n aCuHlUe?m GTcrmnent work in the second half of the decade
t ; •iT ieu,t}; aTK,1 State government offices in Greater Kansas
City, retail trade, local manufacturing, and wholesale houses selling
others goods also show a relatively high turn-over in office personnel
in general, men seem to have acquired slightly longer service
histones than women have acquired. This is clearly shown in table
V. However, to a significant degree women show longer periods of
service in the offices of the Federal Government, printing and publish­
ing, and telephone and telegraph.
p




26

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

Table V.—Percent

distribution of employees according to length of experience with
present employer, by type of office—KANSAS CITY
Percent employed by present firm-

Number
of em­
ployees
reported

Type ot office* Oil

Under
1 year

1, under
3 years

3, under
5 years

5, under 10 years
10 years and over

WOMEN
6, 206

15.7

19.8

16.6

16.4

Banks and other finance.
Insurance---------------------

432
623

13.9
11.3

13.4
19.3

14.8
11.7

18.1
17.0

39.9
40.8

Railroads..............................
Air transportation---------Telephone and telegraph..
Other public utilities------

151
3.2
6.5

1.4
27.0
4.7
13.3

1.3
12.0
8.9
18.1

4.0
6.0
5.9
17.8

93.4

406
353

Meat packing.........................................
Printing and publishing----------------Other manufacturing—Local firms...
Other manufacturing—Branch firms.

167
162
393
155

7.8
8.6
24.9
7.7

13.8
16.1
22.9
18.7

16.8
15.4
16.3
22.0

19.8
17.3
19.1
24.5

42.0
42.6
16.8
27.1

Oil distributing...------- ----------------------Wholesale distributor, own goods--------Wholesale distributor, others’ goods------Department and apparel stores -----------Mail order and distributing offices of na­
tional chain stores.....................................

227
193
198
633

15.4
17.1
14.6
16.9

21.1
20.8
23.7
22.4

15.8
17.1
20.2
23.2

23.3
20.7
16.2
18.2

24.2
24.3
25.3
19.3

All types.

31.5

77.3
44.2

1,412

18.5

25.0

20.6

14.4

21.5

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

312
143

16.7
32.9

27.9
42.7

13.8
9.1

22.4
10.5

19.2
4.9

Education..------- --------Nonprofit organizations.

104
110

16.3
28.2

5.8
10.9

21.2
12.8

20.2
20.9

36.5
27.2

MEN
4,141

15.5

15.3

12.4

13.4

43.3

610
287

All types.
Banks and other finance.
Insurance---------------------

12.1
11.8

13.8
18.8

12.8
17.8

19.0
22.0

42.2
29.7

766
156
75
338

2.0
63.5
2.7
7.4

1.8
19.2
8.0
8.9

3.5
9.6
12.0
8.2

3.4
6.4
13.3
13.9

89.4
1.3
64.0
61.6

Railroads...... ......................
Air transportation---------Telephone and telegraph.
Other public utilities------

.
.

Meat packing------------------------------ Printing and publishing-----------------Other manufacturing—Local firms—
Other manufacturing—Branch firms.

.
.
.

235
86
232
226

8.9
32.6
22.0
7.5

17.5
20.9
27.6
17.7

14.0
9.3
22.5
23.0

11.1
10.5
13.4
18.6

48.5
26.7
14.7
33.2

.
Oil distributing------------------ --------Wholesale distributor, own goods.
.
Wholesale distributor, others’ goods.
.
Department and apparel stores-----Mail order and distrbuting offices of na­
.
tional chain stores___ __________

263
135
175
100

20.9
11.9
18.9
22.0

9.5
22.3
21.7
26.0

14.5
15.6
15.4
24.0

25.9
13.3
10.3
13.0

29.2
37.0
33.7
15.0

147

24.5

27.2

21.0

10.9

16.3

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

.

203
95

40.4
30.5

38.9
16.9

7.3
4.2

10.3
20.0

3.0
28.4

Education-------------------Nonprofit organizations..

_

6

1

Not computed; base too small.




.

(0

(i)
o

o

0)

0)
(>>

EARNINGS IN 1940
Data for this section of the report were transcribed from pay-roll
records of the various offices by Women’s Bureau field agents. Mate­
rial was secured from 192 offices for 11,942 office employees. The
majority of these, 6,247 women and 4,222 men, were regular workers.
A small group (4 percent) were employed on an extra or part-time
basis. A somewhat larger group (8 percent) were supervisory, ex­
ecutive, administrative, or clerical-professional. The field agents
secured for individual employees the method and monthly rate of
pay; the earnings and time worked in the current pay period; and the
total year’s earnings and duration of employment in the calendar
year 1939.
METHOD OF PAY

The office workers scheduled in Greater Kansas City are, in the
great majority of cases, paid on the basis of a monthly or yearly rate.
More than three-fifths (62 percent) of the women reported and more
than seven-tenths (72 percent) of the men are paid on such basis
Fourteen of the 19 types of office pay from 75 to 100 percent of their
women, and 14 pay from 75 to 100 percent of their men, by the month
or the year. Eighteen percent of the women are paid by the week
and 18 percent by the hour, with less than 3 percent on a daily rate12 percent of the men are paid by the week and 12 percent by the
day, with 4 percent on an hourly basis.
All workers in the meat-packing offices scheduled are paid by the
week, as are about two-thirds of the women and not far from half of
the men in stores. Mail-order houses pay three-fourths of their
women by the hour, but in the case of men they pay equal numbers
by the hour and by the week. Payment by the day is the most
common method in railroad offices.
The following summary shows the extent of the monthly or yearlv
basis of pay in the Kansas City offices scheduled.
Types of Office Paying Monthly or Yearly Salaries to—
All office employees:
Women—Insurance; air transportation; the miscellaneous public utility
group; oil; btate and city governments; education.
Men—Air transportation; telephone and telegraph; the miscellaneous publicutility group; oil; State and city governments; education.
Three-fourths but less than all:
Women—Banks and other finance; telephone and telegraph; “other manu­
facturing, local; other manufacturing,” branch; wholesale distributing
own; federal Government; nonprofit organizations.
Men Banks and other finance; insurance; printing and publishing- “other
manufacturing,” local; “other manufacturing,” branch; wholesale dis/-v
i triDuting, own; federal Government; nonprofit organizations.
One-half but less than three-fourths:
Women—Printing and publishing; wholesale distributing, others’
Men—Wholesale distributing, others’; retail stores
Less than one-half: *
Women—Railroads; retail stores; mail-order and chain-store group.* 1
Men Railroads; mail-order and chain-store group.
1 All office employees in meat packing are paid by the week.




27

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

28

Data for 483 part-time or extra office workers were secured. More
than half these are paid by the hour, nearly 30 percent by the day,
and the rest either monthly or weekly.
Variations in method of pay occur, not only from one type of office
to another but often in the same office. In the present report all
salary rates scheduled have been converted to a monthly basis to
make all data comparable in the following analysis.
MONTHLY SALARY RATES BY TYPE OF OFFICE

The monthly salary rates of office employees vary considerably
according to type of office, occupation, and the sex, age, and degree
of experience of the workers. In the following analysis the influence
of each of these factors on monthly salary rates will be discussed.
In all the offices scheduled in Greater Kansas City the salary rates
of women regularly employed average $92 monthly; those of men
$130.6 When broken down by type of office the average monthly
figures vary widely.
Women.

The highest average salaries of women office workers in Kansas
City are paid by the railroads and the Federal Government, $143 and
$123 a month, respectively. The lowest salaries are paid by the
retail stores and the nonprofit organizations. In the general offices
of the national chain stores women workers average $73 a month, or
$70 less than the average in the employ of the railroads. The averages
are almost as low in the retail stores and the nonprofit organizations.
The water, gas, electric, and street-railway utilities, telephone and
telegraph companies, oil distributors, and branch manufacturers pay
their women workers somewhat above the average for all offices com­
bined. Holding a low intermediate position, yet paying higher than
the average, are education, finance, meat packing, and insurance.
In every type of office scheduled, women’s average salaries are
lower than those of men. The smallest difference between the average
for men and that for women, $2, is in printing and publishing, one of
the groups with lowest wages. Most of the types of office scheduled
pay between $10 and $30 more to men than to women, but the city
and State governments, oil distributors, and “other public utilities”
pay men on the average $30 to $37 more than women, and wholesale
distributors of their own manufactures pay men $41 more. The
highest differential in average salaries of men and women, $48, is in the
branch manufacturing companies.
The high wages paid to women in railroad offices and in the Federal
Government arc not, as is often true of men, a result of a considerable
number holding jobs involving special experience or responsibility.
In the case of women, differences in rates between types of office are
almost entirely a matter of difference in wage standards.
Fifty percent of the women scheduled in railroad offices are in the
stenographic group of occupations. Over a third are stenographers,
earning $44 more than the average salary paid to stenographers in
all the offices combined; the few secretaries earn $24 more than the
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-f9urth (1st quartile), one-half (me­
dian) , 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 disregarded.




EARNINGS IN 1940—KANSAS CITY

29

average, the few typists and dictating-machine transcribers as much
as $59 more. Other high averages for small groups of women are in
billing and filing, with a figure more than $60 above the general average
for these occupations. This is the general pattern in the case of the
h ederal Government offices also, but the differences between the
averages in this type of office and in all offices combined arc not so
great as in railroads.
The picture is reversed in the case of retail trade and nonprofit
organizations. In almost every case each occupational group in these
types of office averages less than does that group in all offices together.
In addition, relatively fewer women in retail trade hold stenographic
jobs, and more proportionately occupy various kinds of clerkships.
I his is significant, since the stenographic occupations in general show
higher salaries for women than do the occupations in the group “other
clerks.” Further, office workers in jobs peculiar to retail trade (retail
stores and mail order and chains combined) such as tube clerks
cashier wrappers, price and will-call clerks, as well as the numerous
credit authorizers and stock clerks employed in this type of business
receive especially low wages, averaging from $62 to $74.
In most occupations in the gas, water, electric, and street-railway
utilities telephone and telegraph, oil, and branch manufacturing
women have averages consistently higher than those for all offices
combined. The stenographic group, and in some cases the cashiers,
are especially instrumental in keeping the average wage high in these
omces. I his is true also of finance, meat packing, and insurance In
the education agency scheduled, with few secretaries and stenographers
a relatively large group of special office workers average $132.
The offices showing average salaries for women below the general
average are affected in part by the significant numbers of low-paid
occupations such as typists and file, mail, and record clerks. Over
one-fourth of the women in printing and publishing, for example, are
counter and circulation clerks, an occupation with no men reported
and m which the average wage of women is not only less than the
average for women in all offices but less than that for ail women in this
type of office.
Table VI shows the average and quartile salaries paid to women
and men in the various types of office scheduled in Greater Kansas
City.
Men.

Of all the types of office scheduled in Greater Kansas City, the rail­
roads and branch manufacturing pay the highest average salaries to
their men office workers, $158 and $154, respectively. The gas elec­
tric water, and street-railway utilities, the Federal Government and
od distributing are not far behind. On the other hand, printing and
publishing, retail trade, and air transportation pay their office men
less than do the other industries surveyed. There is a difference of
$/l between the average salary in the railroads and that in printing
and publishing.
6
Eetween the highest paying and the lowest paying types of office
as will be analyzed more fully in another section of this report there
is oidinarily a wide differential in rate of pay for the same occupation.
Only in individual instances is this difference caused more by a varia450943°—42------ 5




30

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

tion in the duties of the occupation than by a difference in wage stand­
ards, the latter being far and away the most important cause of the
variety in average wage rates by typo of office.
Table

VI.—Average monthly salary rates of men and women regular employees in
offices, 1940, by type of office—KANSAS CITY
Men

Type of office

Average salary rates 1
Total
num­
Quartiles
ber of
wom­ Mean
en
Me­
First dian Third

Average salary rates 1
Total
num­
ber of
men Mean

Quartiles
Me­
First dian Third

AH types___ ____

6,247

$92

$71

$87

$108

4, 222

$130

Banks and other finance
Insurance_____________

434
523

99

82

100

116

91

no

612
288

116
117

$131

$160

115

Railroads............ ................
Air transportation______
Telephone and telegraph.
Other public utilities___

151
134
411
353

143
91
107
110

136
81
96
93

143
86
108
107

153
100
121
122

779
156
75
342

158
102
136
147

142
80
101
122

160
100
131
147

175

Meat packing............. .........................
Printing and publishing__________
Other manufacturing—Local firms..
Other manufacturing—Branch
firms_______________ ____ _____

169
162
393

99
85

79
71
71

94
81
81

114
95
98

236
87
233

122
87
111

88
56
85

120
76
101

148

88

155

106

95

101

116

240

154

130

151

171

Oil distributing.--------- ---------------227
Wholesale distributor, own goods...
194
Wholesale distributor, others’ goods.
199
Department and apparel stores
647
Mail order and distributing offices
of national chain stores................ 1,417

107
91
83
77

96
79
71
65

106
90
81
70

117
101
92
85

263
146

142
132

121
100

145
125

187

112

102

85
71

101

107

165
151
133
119

73

62

70

79

150

101

74

Federal Government______
State and city governments.

315
144

123
83

106

121

136

210

66

83

100

98

145
113

121
100

Education
Nonprofit organizations............... .

105
114

100

101
80

119
100

6

79

80
61

Supervisory (not included above):
All types...................................

153

$125

$101

$118

3140

$98

150
130

102

91

120

166
171

no
131

118
136
110

151
120

7
$222

i 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.

Of no small significance, however, is the existence in certain indus­
tries of a greater number of employees in occupations requiring more
than average responsibility or training and therefore drawing higher
than average rates of pay. In railroads, for example, there are appreci­
able numbers of special workers, rate clerks, claims examiners, and
ticket sellers whose training and experience place them high on the
industry’s wage scale and afford them average salaries well above that
for all male office workers in the survey. Secretaries, accounting and
audit clerks, and cashiers likewise have special skills and often assume
considerable responsibility. In the railroad companies the range in
average wages for none of these jobs falls below $165 monthly, and the
special office workers, claims examiners, cashiers, rate clerks, and secre­
taries receive over $180 a month. Together the jobs here mentioned
comprise over 30 percent of the male workers scheduled in railroad
offices.




EARNINGS IN 1940----KANSAS CITY

31

Thirty percent of the male office workers in branch manufacturing
nearly 40 percent of those in public utilities are in specialized or
lelatively well-paid occupations, with earnings well* above average.
About 14 percent in branch manufacturing are special office workers
with an average of $216. The remainder of the highly paid group in this
type of office are cashiers, machine bookkeepers, and accounting, audit,
billing, rate, and statistical clerks, occupations that have average
salaries of from $160 to $230. The water, electric, gas, and street­
railway utilities employ 25 men service-desk clerks, peculiar to this
type of office and earning $172 monthly. In addition, there are
enough men in well-paid occupations, including special office workers,
hand bookkeepers, claims examiners, and timekeepers, each of these
groups averaging $169 or more, to give the public utilities third place
in average wages of male office workers.
In the offices of the Federal Government scheduled in this area the
special office workers and claims adjusters, comprising nearly 25 per­
cent of the male employees, receive salaries well above most of the
other occupational groups. The few hand bookkeepers, cashiers, and
rate clerks also help to raise the average salary for this type of office.
The employment of a number of well-paid special office workers,
credit men, tax, accounting, rate, order, and audit clerks, with average
salaries of $152 to $187, affects favorably the average for office per­
sonnel in oil distributing.
In contrast, over 40 percent of the men in printing and publishing
and 21 percent of those in air transportation are in the very occupa­
tions that pay the lowest wages—file and mail clerks, typists, calcu­
lating-machine operators, and messengers. It is even more significant,
however, that printing and publishing, air transportation, and retail
trade also show, for almost all the occupations in which men are
employed, average salaries considerably lower than those for all offices
combined.
Though the average salaries of male office workers are not quite so
low in local manufacturing firms, State and city governments, and
wholesale distributors of others’ goods, as in retail trade, for example,
they are considerably below the general average of $130 for all the men
covered by the survey. Over 30 percent of the workers in the local
manufacturing offices are in occupations averaging less than $100 a
month, such as messengers, file, mail, record, shipping, stock, audit
claims, and timekeeping clerks, and dictating, bookkeeping, calculat­
ing, and other machine operators. In addition, a number of cost and
statistical clerks, occupations usually paid better than average in
these offices are paid less than the average.
All the types of machine operator, and a considerable total in the
other clerical group, average less than $100 in the wholesale establish­
ments selling others’ goods, where the average for all men is $112
Correspondents, secretaries, cashiers, cost, credit, and record clerks, as
well as special office workers, average from $124 to $190 monthly and
comprise 27 percent of all the men employed.
In few occupations in State and city government do men's earnings
average less than $100. In general, however, except for the machine
operators and messengers, all occupations have lower averages than the
average for men in the same jobs in all offices combined.




32

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

Banks and other financial establishments, insurance companies, and
meat-packing firms are in an intermediate position as regards salaries
paid to male office workers. Messengers and transit clerks, comprising
36 percent of the men in the financial group, average respectively $62
and $88. The average for this type of office as a whole is raised to $116
in large part by the more substantial salaries of bond and security
clerks ($164) and cashiers and tellers ($155), who comprise 25 percent
of the men employed. In insurance offices male typists, bookkeeping
clerks, messengers, calculating-machine operators, file, mail, rate,
record, and stock clerks constitute almost 40 percent of the men in this
type of office and average less than $100. However, 10 percent of the
men are special office workers with an average of $195, and 8 percent
are secretaries, correspondents, and cashiers averaging $173 to $189.
It is largely due to these that the average monthly wage for the men in
insurance offices amounts to as much as $117. Most of those classed
as special workers are underwriters with an average salary of $202.
Two-fifths of the men in meat packing are in the occupations command­
ing lowest average salaries for men. They are stenographers, typists,
calculating-machine operators, messengers, mail, order, stock, and
record clerks, who average $110 or less. Over one-third, however, are
in better-paid occupational groups; they arc accounting and audit
clerks, hand bookkeepers, cashiers, timekeepers, claims examiners,
cost, rate, and statistical clerks, and special office workers. All these
average more than the mean salary for men in all offices combined.
Wholesale distributors selling goods of their own manufacture and
the telephone and telegraph offices scheduled by the Women’s Bureau
pay their men office workers rates that average respectively $132 and
$136, just above the average for all offices. Though the machine
operators, messengers, file, mail, record, shipping, and stock clerks
have low average wages, the special office workers, cashiers, and audit,
cost, statistical, and service-desk clerks in the telephone and telegraph
companies, and the special office workers, hand bookkeepers, cashiers,
credit men, and order and billing clerks in the offices of wholesale dis­
tributors, help to raise the average.
Distribution by rate.

Table VII presents a further analysis of the salary rates of women and
men by type of office, this time showing the percent distribution of the
two sexes in a limited number of salary groups. Though naturally
this distribution of actual salaries earned and the foregoing analysis by
average salaries bring the same conclusions, the low and high points
and the tendency to concentrate at specific levels are discernible from
the percent distribution.
It is clear from table VI that retail trade in Kansas City pays women
office workers the least in comparison with the other types of office
scheduled. According to table VII, 6 in every 10 women employed by
the retail stores and mail-order companies earn less than $75 monthly.
Less than 1 in every 100 earn as much as $150. On the other hand, in
the highest-paid offices, none of the women in railroads and only 4 of
those in the Federal Government offices earn less than $75. Practically
a third of the women in the railroad offices and 14 percent of those in
the Federal Government earn at least $150. There is no other type of
office in which even 10 percent of the women earn as much as $150.




Table

VII—Percent distribution of men and women regular employees in offices according to monthly salary rate, 1940, by type of offici
KANSAS CITY
Men

Women

All types__________ ______________

___

6. 247

Percent i of women with monthly salary
rate of—
Under
$75

$75,
under
$100

$100,
under
$125

$125,
under
$150

30.4

33.0

23.1

9.5

$150,
and
over
4.0

Percent > of men with monthly salary rate of—
Total
number
of
men

4, 222

Under
$75

$75,
under
$100

$100,
under
$125

$125,
under
$150

$150,
under
$200

10.3

15.1

18.8

21. 2

28.1

6.4

18.5
17.0

21.1
7.6

4.2
8.0
8.0

$200
and
over

434
523

13.4
9.4

3.7
5.4

612
288

19.6
11.5

18. 1
30.9

3.7
7.8
1.7

1.3
64. 2
20.2
36.0

6.6
29. 1
48.2
38.5

59.6
.7
21.2
18.4

32.5
2.2
2.7
5.3

779
156
75
342

2.8
8.3
4.0
.9

1.5
29.5
16.0
9.6

3.1
43.6
25.3
17.0

29.5
9.6
12.0
24.3

55.1
9.0
38.7
39.8

4.0
8.5

17.8
32. 1
30.0
6.5

40.8
48.1
48.3
21.3

24.9
14.8
11.7
53.5

9.5
4.9
4.8
11.6

7.1
5.1
7. 1

236
87
233
240

17.4
48.3
12.9
1.3

17.4
20.7
33.5
7. 1

19.5
16. 1
24.5
12. 1

21.6
4.6
16.7
26.7

19.1
10.3
7.3
40.8

5.2
12.1

227
194
199
647
1,417

16.5
31.7
61.8
63.9

31.3
52.1
49.7
26.9
29.9

53.7
24.2
15.6
8.0
5.2

11.5
- 5.7
2.5
1.9
.5

3.5
1.5
.5
1.4
.5

263
146
187
107
150

3.0
6.8
16.0
29.9
25.3

8.0
16.4
25. 1
27. 1
27.3

15.2
26.0
21.9
18.7
25.3

27.4
21. 2
21.4
8.4
12.7

41.4
18.5
10.2
12.1
7.3

4.9
11.0
5.3
3.7
2.0

315
144

Supervisory (not included above):

34.6
27.2

169
162
393
155

___ _____ ______ -................ .

35.0
44.6

151
134
411
353

Nonprofit organizations________

13.4
13.6

18.5
25.0

1.3
38.2

8.3
34.0

45.7
26.4

30.8
1.4

13.9

210
98

1.0
1.0

2.4
13.3

23.3
65.3

28.6
8.2

31.9
10.2

12.9
2.0

105
114

14.3
38.6

25.7
34.2

39. 0
23.7

17.1
2.6

3.8
.9

6
7

153

1.3

18.3

37.9

22.2

20.3

489

0.6

5.7

9.0

43.8

EA RN IN G S IN 1 9 4 0 — KANSAS CITY

Total
number
of
women

Type of office

40.9

5.)

* Percents not computed on very small bases.




W
CO

34

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

The two types of office that pay men office workers at the highest
ievel in Kansas City—railroads and branch manufacturing—pay at
feast $150 to more than haff of them and pay below $75 to less than 3
in every 100. It will be noted that even fewer men have earnings below
’ $75 in the water, gas, electric, and street-railway companies and in
government offices. In these types of office, however, the distribution
of salaries is not so great in the higher ranges, the averages falling below
$150 whereas the averages for men in the railroads and branch manu­
facturing exceed $150. The printing and publishing companies have
a lower average for men than any of the other types of office scheduied;
nearly half their men earn less than $75, only 1 in 10 earns $150 or
more. This industry shows a fairly wide spread in salaries of men,
but the greatest concentration occurs at the lower levels.
MONTHLY SALARY RATES BY OCCUPATION
Passing reference has been made to the variation in rate of pay that
exists in Kansas City for different office occupations. When discussing
wages in more detaii it is well to bear in mind the general rank of the
various office jobs by salary paid. Among the men the lowest paid
are messengers, machine operators, typists, and fde, mail, and transit
clerks, with average monthly wages ranging from $65 to $106. The
women with the lowest averages are messengers, addressing-machine
operators, checkers, mail, order, file, tube (including cashier-wrappers,
price, and will-call clerks), credit, and stock clerks, and clerks not
elsewhere classified who work in retail trade.
The highest-paid occupations in which men are found in significant
numbers are the special office workers, bond and security, servicedesk, rate, and audit clerks, cashiers and tellers, ticket sellers, and
claims examiners and adjusters—all jobs requiring more than ordinary
responsibility and experience. The bond and security clerks and
tellers, the rate clerks and ticket sellers, and the service-desk clerks, are
specialized jobs, usually in financial offices, in railroads, and in public
utilities, respectively. All these occupations average over $150
monthly. In addition, men secretaries (4 in 10 of them in railroads)
average $169.
No office occupation averages for women so much as $150, though
there are several in which a substantial proportion of the women
receive $150 or more. These are the special office workers, more than
a third of whom earn $150 and over; the secretaries, with about onefourth earning this much; and the accounting clerks, 16 percent of
whom are paid a salary of $150 or more. Also earning comparatively
high salaries among women office workers are statistical clerks, servicedesk clerks, hand bookkeepers, and cashiers and tellers, who average
$107 to $147.
.
In table VIII and the statistical summaries correlating occupation
and type of office, salary quartiles are shown for occupational groups
of 50 or more and arithmetic averages for groups of 25 or more.
The summaries that follow show for certain types of office the aver­
age salaries of women in the stenographic occupations and men in
accounting jobs, two of the occupational groups in which large numbers
are employed.




35

EARNINGS IN 1940—KANSAS CITY

II.—DISTRIBUTION OF WOMEN AND OF MEN ACCORDING
TO MONTHLY SALARY RATES, BY OCCUPATION—KANSAS CITY

Chart

Under

under

STENOGRAPHIC CROUP

1125
$150

under

100 percent
Secretary

VZ///////Z
Women

Stenographer

Women
Typist

Diotating-machine transcriber

V/////M

Hen
Women

v/////m

ACCOUNTING GROUP

Accounting cleric

Z//////A
Women

Audit clerk, bookkeeping clerk

Men

MACHINE OPERATORS
Women
Billing, bookkeeping

ZZVZZ//Z//A

Men

V/////////////Z

Women
Calculating

’V///////A
VZ/////y.

Men

OTHER CLERKS
Claims examiner and adjuster
Women
Transit

V////////////Z
222

Men

V///////Z

Women
Stock

V/7Z///////,
Women

V////Z

Men

Women
Billing and statement

Men

V/////Z
izm

Women
Men

Telephone




Women f

VZV//Z//////A
V/////Z////A

36

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

Table

VIII.—Average monthly salary rates of men and women regular employees
in offices, 1940, by occupation—KANSAS CITY
Women

Men
Average salary rates 1

Average salary rates1
Occupation

Total
num­
ber of
women Mean

Quartiles
Me­
Firs. dian Third

Total
num­
ber of
men Mean

Quartiles
Me­
First dian Third

6,247

$92

$71

$87

$108

4,222

$130

$98

$131

$160

305
Stenographer______ _________ 1,073
694
Typist________ _____ ________
131
Correspondent___________ ___
91

128
100
84
85
94

107
83
66
70
76

126
98
80
81
87

150
117
98
96
96

33
85
72

169
117
99

91
75

115
86

136
124

84

139

108

131

151

96
108
133
72
106

110
88
90
108
107

84
66
71
90
80

102
74
87
107
107

135
97
104
122
130

269
160
109
87
221

137
151
120
148
161

111
136
91
116
140

136
151
111
150
155

157
170
142
180
177

50
107
140
527
75

74
84
92
90
88

60
62
76
75
79

70
83
91
87
88

83
100
103
104
100

142
50
124

106
96
100

89
76
79

106
91
96

125
116
120

196
57
41

85
78
83

69
64

79
66

100
81

159

134

109

139

157

150
131

76
78
80
60
80
99

70
75
76

79
90
95

181
151

66
65
60
68
78

77
92

89
118

80
74
56
83

100
81
61
121

116
105
71
150

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

221

90

73

82

101

138
125
139

171
141
148

196
161
162

Stock -- -- -------------------------

27
139

113
74
93

64
76

65
91

82
110

153
133
126
100
88
65
119
126
164
138
145
133
118

130
111

94
346
60
37
84
121

106
89
44
81
69
239
97
38
100
287
147
43
239
75
27

145
164

45
35
152

All occupations..................... .
Stenographic group:

Accounting group:
Accounting clerk_________
Audit clerk
Bookkeeping clerk--------- -------Bookkeeper, hand....... . - -----Cashier, teller________ ___ _
Machine operators:
Bookkeeping
Calculating--------- --------- -----Other _____________________
Other clerks:
Billing and statement--- -------

File........ ............ -____ _________
Mail.
Order.- ______
Record.------- -

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

92

120

141

130

145

173

158
157
88

72

86

105

100

116

131

45
69
Transit.------ --------------------Clerks not elsewhere classified in—
Finance and insurance------------

82
108

100

106

125

66
118

90
64

76
60

91
65

101
66

72
69

99
88

85
76

100
81

115
106

72

117

Manufacturing and wholesale
distributors-- ------- --------Public utilities other than railroads--._________ _______

50

81

67

75

88

106

119

98

120

141

152

105

97

106

120

86
69

128
155

109
142

127
160

152
171

Other types of office

124
93

68
96

65
85

66
93

74
111

Special office workers-------------------

49

147

Supervisors 1
2_.......................................

153

$125

$101

$118

$140

139

111

88

106

135

242

200

162

196

226

489

$192

$156

$185

$222

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.
2 Not included in total.




EARNINGS IN 194 0—KANSAS CITY

37

Stenographic group.

Almost 4 in every 10 women scheduled in Greater Kansas City are
m the stenographic group of occupations and together average earnmgs of $98 monthly, $6 more than the general average for all women
m the survey. Over three-quarters of these are stenographers and
typists; if the dictating-machine transcribers are included with the
typists, almost 83 percent of the stenographic group are in these
occupations. Secretaries comprise 13 percent of the stenographic
group and are the best paid. Monthly averages for women secretaries
range from $164 in public utilities to $85 in nonprofit organizations.
Insurance companies and the Federal Government pay well with
respectively $146 and $141. Stenographers, whose general average is
$100, show a range of salary from $144 in railroads to $78 in nonprofit
organizations. Typists have an average of $143 in railroads, but in
most of the other types of office their average is less than $100. The
only exceptions are the oil companies, branch manufacture, Federal
Government, and telephone and telegraph, and even these do not
average more than $110 to their women typists. The greatest pro­
portion of the women correspondents, who comprise only 4 percent of
the total stenographic group, are in retail trade, with an average of
$84. The few employed by insurance companies average $154.
Average monthly salary rates
Number
of
women 1

Occupation and type of office (women ip
stenographic group)

Quartiles
Mean
First

Median

Third

Stenographic group—total.

2,294

$98

$78

$94

$117

Secretary__________
Banks and other finance
Insurance_______ ...
Federal Government..
Nonprofit organizations .
Stenographer_______
Banks and other finance
Insurance___ _____
Railroads_
_
Air transportation ..
Telephone and telegraph_
_
Public utilities2_____
Meat packing..
Manufacturing—Local firms2
Manufacturing—Branch firms3_
_
Oil distributing
Wholesale distributor, own goods
Wholesale distributor, others’ goods
Department and apparel stores
Mail order and so forth___
Federal Government______
Typist____________
Banks and other finance _..
Insurance_____________
Air transportation...................
Telephone and telegraph_
_
Public utilities2_________
Meat packing__________
Manufacturing—Local firms3
Mail order and so forth.. .
Federal Government
State and city governments______
Dictating-machine transcriber..
Correspondent____
______

305
34
38
38
28
1, 073
93
119
52
54
34
67
48
100
36
78
35
44
69
94
93
694
67
97
29
39
33
33
46
139
45
36
131
91

128
132
146
141
85
100
100
100
144
91
108
116
112
85
111
106
95
81
81
84
115
84
95
80
82
101
94
83
77
65
103
77
85
94

107

126

150

83

98

117

66

80

98

70
76

81
87

96
96

*

1 Subtotals include some types of office with very small numbers reported.
* wer l?an railroafls> air transportation, and telephone and telegraph.
• Other than meat packing and printing and publishing.




38

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

Less than 7 percent of the men scheduled belong to the stenographic
group. Over one-tenth of these are secretaries and about one-fourth
are typists. Stenographers and correspondents each claim nearly a
third of the men in the stenographic group of occupations. The
secretaries and correspondents earn the most, $169 and $139,
respectively. Stenographers have an average salary of $117, and
typists, one of the lowest paid of all occupational groups covered,
average only $99. It should be noted again that the average monthly
wage for men in all offices combined is $130.
Male secretaries have average salaries of $179 and $181 in local
manufacture and railroads, the only types of office with more than 1
or 2. Correspondents are well paid in most places, especially rail­
roads, but wholesale establishments, local manufacturers, and mail­
order houses pay less than the average for that occupation. Men
stenographers have their highest wages in the railroads, branch and
local manufacture, and water, gas, electric, and street-railway utilities.
Banks, wholesale distributors, and printing, with few stenographers
reported, pay the lowest wages. Typists have an average of $148
monthly in railroads, but $67 and $78 respectively in printing and
publishing and air transportation.
Accounting group.

The accounting group of office occupations ranks second only to the
special office workers in average salaries. One-fifth of the men sched­
uled are in this group. Nearly one-third of these are accounting
clerks and just over one-fourth are cashiers or tellers. The remainder
are audit and bookkeeping clerks and hand bookkeepers.
The cashiers and tellers have the highest average salary in the group,
$161; the bookkeeping clerks the lowest, $120. Most of the cashiers
and tellers are employed by the banks, railroads, the water, gas,
electric, and street-railway utilities, and oil distributors. The rail­
roads pay this group salaries that average $186, the public utilities
$159, the financial offices $155, and oil firms $148, in each case more
than the general average for all the office men scheduled.
.
The audit clerks, who together average $151, are to be found most
frequently in the offices of railroad, Federal Government, and financial
establishments. These three types of office pay their audit clerks
from $15 to $35 more than the general average for all men scheduled.
Average salaries of hand bookkeepers range from $110 in wholesale
houses selling others’ goods to $204 in railroads. Only the financial
offices and the public utilities employ more than 10 male hand book­
keepers in the establishments scheduled and each pays average wages
more than $20 higher than the general average for all men. Book­
keeping clerks have an average salary of only $101 in financial offices
and of $103 in retail stores, but they average respectively $146 and
$141 in public utilities and oil companies.
For the women in accounting occupations the average is $99
monthly, $7 more than the general average for all women. Those in
accounting or hand-bookkeeping operations comprise less than 10
percent of all the women scheduled. One-fourth of the group are
bookkeeping clerks, averaging $90 a month. Retail trade and pulbic
utilities employ nearly two-thirds of the women bookkeeping clerks.
The water, gas, electric, and street-railway utilities average $106,




EARNINGS IN 194 0----KANSAS CITY

39

while retail stores and mail-order houses average respectively $73
and $84.
J
Average monthly salary rates
Occupation and type of office (men in
accounting group)

Number
of
men 1

Quartiles

Mean
First

Median

Third

Accounting group—total

$145

$121

$147

$166

Accounting clerk ............... ........
Railroads________ ____ _
Air transportation_______
Oil distributing_________
Federal Government..........
Audit clerk_________________
Railroads_______________
Federal Government_____
Bookkeeping clerk___________
Bookkeeper, hand___________
Cashier, teller_______________
Banks and other finance___

137
171

111

136

157

153
137
151
165
145

136

151

170

91
116
140

111
150
155

142
180
177

43
33
25

68

160
62
29
109
87

221

128

111

120

148
161
155

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

Women audit clerks average $88, the lowest amount for any single
occupation in the accounting group. Nearly three-fourths are in
retad trade, with the low average of $71.
I'h® women cashiers and tellers, hand bookkeepers, and accounting
clerks average $107, $108, and $110, respectively. The Federal
Government, mad-order companies, and telephone and telegraph are
the only types of office employing significant numbers of women as
accounting clerks. Federal Government pays $24 more than their
general average of $110, and the mail-order and telephone and tele­
graph companies respectively $29 and $3 less than such average The
accounting clerks rank fourth, following the special office workers
secretaries, and statistical clerks in average salary.
More than half the women hand bookkeepers are in retail trade at
an average salary of $97. The average for the group is raised to $108
in large part by the women in insurance and local manufacture
earning respectively $117 and $134, and by isolated cases in other
offices with earnings ranging from $118 to $178.
Retail trade, public utilities, and banks employ well over twothirds of the women cashiers and tellers. They average only $82
m retail trade, but $127 and $114 in public utilities and banks.
Machine operators.

Both men and women machine operators scheduled in Greater
Kansas City have average wages below the general average for the sex
as a whole. Only 8 percent of the men operate machines as the major
part of their work. Of these the billing and bookkeeping-machine
operators have the highest average salary, $106. Men who operate
addressing, checkwriting, duplicating, and tabulating machines
average $100. Calculating-machine operators have the lowest average
for this general occupational group, $96, or $34 less than the average
lor all men scheduled..
Women who operate machines as the major part of their work con­
stitute 14 percent of all women scheduled in Greater Kansas City.




40

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

Average salaries for the occupations with enough women to warrant
separate tabulation range from $74 for addressing-machine operators
to $92 for bookkeeping-machine operators.
Nearly 60 percent of the women in this general occupational group
are calculating-machine operators. Their highest averages are in
railroads and the Federal Government, respectively $134 and $123;
their lowest is $76, the average for retail trade, employing more than
one-third of all scheduled.
,
Wages for the women who operate bookkeeping machines range
from $76 in the mail-order houses to $140 in the Federal Government.
About two-thirds of the women are in mail-order houses, stores, finance
offices, and meat-packing plants, with averages from $76 to $111.
Retail and wholesale trade and manufacturing, local and branch,
employ four-fifths of the women billing-machine operators. Average
salaries range from $66 in mail-order companies to $102 in branch
manufacturing.
.
The relatively few women operating addressing and other machines
are concentrated in retail trade and in insurance. Average wages in
these offices vary from $63 for addressing-machine operators in retail
trade to $91 for the miscellaneous machine operators in insurance
companies.
.
About one-half of the male billing- and bookkeepmg-machme opera­
tors are in financial offices, one-third in mail order, wholesale houses
selling others’ goods, and local manufacture combined. The financial
offices have an average of $115, but the other offices mentioned aver­
age only $81, $91, and $92, respectively.
.
Of the 50 male calculating-machine operators scheduled, 20 are in
the insurance companies, with an average salary of only $82. In
contrast to this, the few calculating-machine operators employed by
the railroads and branch manufacturers average $140.
More than 50 percent of the miscellaneous group of men machine
operators are in insurance, financial offices, and the mail-order houses.
Here the average salaries are low, ranging from $103 in insurance to
$80 in the mail-order companies. Only 15 percent of this miscellan­
eous group are in railroad, oil, and Federal Government offices, where
they earn the higher salaries of from $149 down to $125.
Other clerks.

The occupations grouped as “other clerks” are many and varied.
They fall roughly into two categories, first, those common clerical
jobs found in many types of office, and second, jobs found in only one
or two types of office and peculiar to some particular industry or group
of industries. In no case has an occupation been listed in the group
“other clerks” in which fewer than 25 men or women are scheduled.
Where too few are scheduled, the occupation has been put in the
miscellaneous category “clerks not elsewhere classified.”
Women office workers employed in occupations peculiar to specific
industries earn consistently less than the general average of $92 for
all the women scheduled. “Average salaries for women “other clerks”
range from $60 for messengers to $108 for service-desk clerks and $113
for statistical clerks. The 118 workers in retail trade called tube
clerks (who include also cashier-wrappers, price, and will-call clerks)
have an average salary of only $64. The counter and circulation clerks
in printing and publishing average $82, and the transit clerks $90.




EARNINGS IN 194 0—KANSAS CITY

41

Of the more common clerical jobs with considerable numbers re­
ported, the pay-roll clerks and the telephone clerks (including re­
ceptionists) average respectively $99 and $93. Nearly 60 percent of
the pay-roll clerks are in retail trade, where they average $84 monthly,
and in the water, gas, electric, and street-railway utilities, where the
average is $109.
The more significant groups in the case of women are as follows:
Average monthly salary rates
Occupation and type of office (women in “other
clerks” group)

Number
of
women 1

Quartiles
Mean
First

Billing and statement clerk_____________ _____ ___
Mail order and so forth._______ ______________
Credit clerk______ __________ _____
File clerk___________________ ____________
Insurance_________ ______ _____ _______
Mail order and so forth_________ ____ ___
Mail clerk...______ ________________ ______ _‘
Order clerk___________ __________ __________ ’’’
M ail order and so forthI
Pay-roll clerk...______________________ ________
Record clerk_____ ____________ _______ I”””””
Mail order and so forth___________________
Stock clerk_____________ ______________ ___
Mail order and so forthIIII””"
Telephone clerk_______________________ _____ _
Counter and circulation clerk— Printing and publish"
ing..................................................................................
Service desk clerk__________ _____ _______________
Telephone and telegraph
Transit clerk—Banks and other finance__________
Tube clerk’
Department and apparel stores
i

196
92
94
346
54
120

60
84
41

121

221

96
139
79
209
45
69
50
66

118
80

$85
70
76
78
82
65
80
80
73
99
90
74
74
63
93
82
108
111
90
64
66

Median

$69

Third

$79

$100

70
75

79
90

66
68

76
77

95
89

78
73

92
82

118
101

64

65

82

76

91

110

100

106

125

76
60

91
65

101
66

66
65

•

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

The telephone clerks are well scattered throughout all types of
office. Average earnings range from $72 in retail stores to $118 in
the Federal Government and telephone and telegraph offices.
The women with the lowest salaries in the common clerical occupa­
tions are the messengers, stock, credit, and file clerks, and the checkers
who average from $60 to $78. Excepting the file clerks, who are
scattered throughout most types of office, over 60 percent of the
workers in the various occupations cited are in retail trade. Women
mail and order clerks, claims examiners and adjusters, billing and
record clerks are in an intermediate position as regards salaries, their
averages ranging from $80 to $90.
Nearly 50 percent of the men scheduled, in contrast to only 31
percent of the women, fall in the group “other clerks.” Of the average
salaries shown in the accompanying list, the range is from the $60 to
$70 level for messengers, followed by $88 for mail clerks and for
transit clerks, to $181 for rate clerks in railroads. High wages are
paid more generally to men in the occupations characteristic of one
type of industry than to those in the more common occupations.
However, some of the more common office jobs classed as other
clerks have salaries well above men’s general average of $130; for
example, timekeepers and shipping and record clerks, with an average
of $145 for the first and second and $138 for the last named. A large
proportion of each of these are in the types of office paying the highest




42

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

wages to male office workers in the area, namely, railroads, branch
manufacture, public utilities, Federal Government, and oil distribut­
ing. The male employees in these more remunerative occupations
have, in general, their lowest averages in local manufacture and retail
trade.
’
_
The summary following shows by occupation and type of office the
average salaries in the more considerable groups of men “other
clerks.”
Average monthly salary rates
Occupation and type of office (men in “other
clerks” group)

Number
of men 1

Quartiles
Mean
First

159
106
89
44
81
69
239
71
97
100
50
287
167
147
113
43
239
75
152

$134
153
133
126
100
88
65
62
119
164
181
138
154
145
157
133
118
145
88

Median

Third

$109
130
111

$139
150
131

$157
181
151

80
74
56

100
81
61

116
105
71

83
138

121
171

150
196

125

141

161

139

148

162

92
130
72

120
145
86

141
173
105

1 Occupation totals include some types ol office with very small numbers reported.

Clerks not elsewhere classified.

The clerks in this group are office workers whose specific duties are
diverse or who belong to occupational groups of less than 25 that
were not combined with closely allied groups under the heading “other
clerks.” Just over 10 percent of the men scheduled fall in this mis­
cellaneous category. Their average salaries range from $85 in mail­
order houses to $155 in railroads. The occupations covered include
such groups as the clerks for whom no specified occupation was
recorded,, tax clerks, coin-counter clerks, route-aid clerks, draftsmen,
collection clerks, check tellers, and checkers.
Nine percent of the women are in this miscellaneous group of clerks
and their averages range from $57 in the nonprofit organizations to
$136 in railroads, respectively $35 below and $44 above the general
average. The occupations included are not in all cases those given
for men. For example, women cost and rate clerks are not numerous
enough to place in the group “other clerks” and therefore are tabulated
in the miscellaneous classification; women checkers, on the other hand,
are listed in “other clerks.”
Special office workers.

The special office workers have jobs that are not wholly of a clerical,
nature; further, their positions involve a measure of responsibility
or enough supervisory work to command more than average salaries.
Among the occupational groups included are appraisers, interviewers,




EARNINGS IN 1940—KANSAS CITY

43

purchasing agents, underwriters, and some personnel clerks, pay­
masters, and estimator clerks. Nearly 6 percent of the men are in
this group, almost half of them in the 5 types of office paying the
highest salaries. Average salaries of male special office workers range
from $154 in air transportation to $244 in wholesale houses selling
goods of their own manufacture. The branch manufacturers and the
insurance and oil companies are the only types of office employing 25
or more men as special office workers. The salaries they pay this
occupational group average $216, $195, and $187, respectively.
Less than 1 percent of the women scheduled are special office
workers, and most of these are in education and retail trade, with
average salaries of $132 and $136, respectively. In no one type of
office are so many as 25 women employed as special office workers.
Supervisory and professional.

This group includes individuals having executive, administrative,
or professional-clerical duties, as well as persons having the super­
vision of groups of clerks in the offices scheduled. Data were secured
for 930, of whom 751 are men and 179 are women. Most of these,
489 men and 153 women, are supervisors of groups of clerical people;
of the other 262 men and 26 women, some are accountants, auditors,
statisticians, and so forth, but only a few are in the purely executive
and administrative categories, since the latter, in many cases officers of
the company, were omitted from the survey. Salaries of men and
women averaged respectively $192 and $125 for the supervisory group,
$238 and $178 for professional-clerical workers.
Distribution by rate.

The fact that higher salaries are paid to men than to women per­
forming the same general type of office work has been indicated in
the foregoing analysis and the accompanying table VIII on page 36.
Further and more striking illustration of the wage differences between
the sexes is presented in table IX, in which a percent distribution
according to amount actually received is shown by sex for each occu­
pational group in which 50 or more men or women are employed.
The table shows, to give one example, that whereas 13 percent of
the women stenographers earn less than $75 monthly and only 4 per­
cent earn $150 or more, 14 percent of the men stenographers earn at
least $150 and only 2 percent earn less than $75. Differentials of the
same sort occur in every occupational category except transit clerks,
proportionately fewer men than women being found in the lower salary
ranges and more men than women earning $150 or more. The differ­
ences between the wages of men and those of women are especially
notable for the audit clerks, cashiers or tellers, and stock clerks. In
the first of these, 59 percent of the women in contrast to 1 percent of
the men earn less than $75. Likewise, 12 percent of the women as
against 57 percent of the men audit clerks receive $150 or more. As
for the cashiers or tellers and the stock clerks, the proportions earning
less than $75 are respectively 20 and 60 points higher for women than
for men, while the proportions earning $150 or more are 58 and 18 points
higher for men than for women. It will be noted that all three—audit
clerks, cashiers or tellers, and stock clerks—are more generally men
than women.




Table

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

Women

A.11 occupations2..................................................... .....................
Stenographic group:

C orrespon dent__________________________ ______ ________
Accounting group:
Bookkeeping clerk______________________ _______ _____
Bookkeeper, hand ___________________________ .. ______
Cashier, teller.--------------------------------- ------------- -------------

Total
number
of
women

Other clerks:
Billing and statement......................................... ....... .............. .

Messenger, office girl, office boy------------ -------------------------




Total
number
of
men

Percent 1 of men with monthly salary
rate of—
Under
$75

$75,
under
$100

$100,
under
$125

$125 ,
under
$150

$150,
under
$200

4,222

10.3

15.1

18.8

21.2

28.1

6.4

33
85
72

2.4
20.8

29.4
34.7

24.7
19.4

29.4
18.1

12.9
6.9

1.2

84

2.4

13.1

21.4

33.3

19.0

10.7

15.6
12.0
1.5
6.9
8.5

269
160
109
87
221

1.5
1.3
6.4
1.1
.5

7.4
3.8
23.9
9.2
.9

22.7
10.6
30.3
18.4
6.3

29.7
27.5
16.5
20.7
25.8

34.9
53.1
19.3
40.2
53.8

3.7
3 8
3.7
10.3
12.7

2.0
3.7
5.0
6.8
4.0

1.4
1.7

142
50
124

7.7
20.0
19.4

28.2
40.0
33.9

38.7
22.0
25.8

21.8
16.0
15.3

3.5
2.0
4.8

.8

16.8
5.3

6.1
12. 3

2.6

159

3.8

11.3

21.4

27.7

32.1

3.8

1.9
2.2

7.5
11.2

8.5
25.8

26.4
30.3

42.5
27.0

13.2
3.4

10.6
11.8
15.0

1.1
2.6
3.3

.9

106
89
44
81
69
239

22.2
30.4
77.4

25.9
37.7
18.8

35.8
21.7
3.3

6.2
8.7
.4

9.9
1.4

Under
$75

$75,
under
$100

$100,
under
$125

$125,
under
$150

6,247

30.4

33.0

23.1

9.5

3.9

305
1,073
694
131
91

3.3
12.7
38.2
35.9
22.0

11.1
38.6
37.2
42.7
53.8

29.2
31.1
18.7
16.0
12.1

30. 8
13.7
5.2
4.6
6.6

25.6
3.9
.7
.8
5.5

96
108
133
72
106

6.2
59.3
30.1
12.5
20.8

31.3
16.7
36.1
23.6
21.7

34.4
6.5
24.8
41.7
23.6

12.5
5.6
7.5
15.3
25.5

50
107
140
527
75

62.0
32.7
24.3
25.8
24.0

26.0
38.3
39.3
42.9
45.3

10.0
25.2
30.0
22.8
26.7

196
57
41

41.8
68.4

32.7
14.0

94
346
60
37

68.1
48.8
43.3

20.2
35.8
38.3

Machine operators:

Other..... .......... .......................................................... . . -----------

Percent1 of women with monthly salary
rate of—
$150
and
over

$200
and
over

______ _ _

O FFIC E W O R K AND OFFICE W O R K ER S IN 1 9 4 0

Occupation

84
121

42.9
19.8

40.5
38.8

13.1
19.8

3.6
14.9

6. 6

221

29.9

40.3

18.6

8.6

2.7

139
209

60.8
18.7

18.6
39.7

9.4
31.1

1.4
10.0

1.4
.5

69
66
118

24.2
95.8

18.8
34.8
3.4

55.1
39.4
.8

26.1
1.5

72
69
50
152

13.9
21.7
48.0
9.9

30.6
36.2
36.0
17.8

43.1
36.2
10.0
55.3

9.7
5.8
4.0
16.4

124
93

83.1
15.1

14.5
38.7

2.4
31.2

4.1
18.3

97
38
100
287
147
239

13.4

20.6

20.6

18.6

24.7

2.1

1.4
3.4
10.0

7.0
11.1
5.4
18.4

9.0
ii.i
9.5
29.3

16.0
36.6
34.7
23.4

48.0
38.3
43.5
17.6

20.0
1.4
3.4
1.3

42.7

2.7

75
45
152

2.7

9.3

10.7

32.0

25.7

41.4

27.0

5.9

2.8

72

2.8

20.8

37.5

22.2

15.3

1.4

2.0
.7

106
86
69

6. 6
2.3

21.7
15.1
5.8.

28.3
31.4
10.1

22.6
23.3
14.5

18.8
27.9
65.2

1.9

12.9

2.2

139

12.2

21.6

32. 4

15.8

17.3

.7

22.5

36.7

36.7

242

2.5

7.9

40.5

49.2

37.9

22.2

20.3

489

5.7

9.0

43.8

40.9

Clerks not elsewhere classified in—

153

1.3

1 Percents not computed on very small bases.
2 Total exceeds details due to omission of occupations having as many as 50 for neither sex.
3 Not included in total.




.6

EARNINGS IN 1 9 4 0 — KANSAS CITY

49

4.3

Oi

46

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

The occupational groups in which the least differences in salary
levels occur are the transit, accounting, and mail clerks, and the book­
keeping, calculating, and miscellaneous group of machine operators.
The transit clerks who work in banks are the one exception to the
consistent picture in which men in the same office jobs earn more than
women. Somewhat more men than women transit clerks, 26 compared
to 25 percent, are in the group earning less than $75. No transit clerks
earn so much as $150, but 6 percent of the men and 1 % percent of the
women earn $125 but less than $150.
.
There are few occupational groups in which 10 percent or more of
the women earn as much as $150. Those so reported are the special
office workers, secretaries, supervisors, and accounting and audit clerks.
In contrast, there arc few occupational groups in which less than 10
percent of the men earn $150. These are the typists, machine opera­
tors, and file and mail clerks. About half the men special office work­
ers, two-fifths of those with supervisory and administrative duties,
one-fifth of the rate clerks, and more than one-tenth of the claims
examiners, cashiers or tellers, correspondents, and hand bookkeepers
earn $200 or more.
WEEKLY EARNINGS

A record of the actual earnings for a current pay period in 1940 as
well as basic rates of pay was secured for most of the office workers
scheduled in Kansas City. By converting the rates and actual earn­
ings to a weekly figure it is possible to see where, if at all, overtime or
undertime has affected earnings so that they differ materially from
the established rates.
The figures show conclusively that the earnings of the regular office
workers were affected very little by overtime and undertime pay;
average rates and average earnings compare within a few cents for
both men and women in every type of office. The extremes of varia­
tion occurred in mail-order and railroad firms, in which over half of
the office workers were paid by the hour or day. In the railroads,
where the daily rate is most common, the actual week’s earnings fell
below the average rate for women and men, 15 and 21 cents, respec­
tively. In the mail-order and national-chain-store companies, where
most men and about half the women are paid by the hour, actual
week’s earnings exceeded the average rates for women and men b.v
76 and 74 cents.




HOURS OF WORK
A workweek of 40 to 42 hours appears to be the rule for office
workers in Greater Kansas City. Of the 148 firms reporting to the
Women’s Bureau in 1940 concerning their office workers’ hours,
80, with 64 percent of the employees covered in the survey, required
a 40-to-42-hour week; over two-thirds of these workers were on a
40-hour schedule.
The only types of office not represented in this large modal group
were the Federal Government, where hours were 39 weekly, and the
education office, where the schedule was 44 hours. The office workers
in 6 of the 8 oil companies and 6 of the 11 branch manufacturing
companies also were on a weekly schedule of less than 40 hours.
No office scheduled in Greater Kansas City reported a workweek
of less than 35 hours, and of the 38 offices with hours below 40, as
many as 29 worked 38 or more hours. The 9 with a week of less than
38 hours are sparsely scattered among branch manufacture, wholesale
distribution of others’ goods, oil distributing, public utilities, and
insurance.
Only 27 companies required more than 42 hours’ work of their office
personnel. They employ 15 percent of the workers scheduled. The
long workweek was more prevalent in the offices of retail stores than
anywhere else in this study. Sixteen of the 22 retail stores in the
sample reported a weekly schedule of 44 hours and over. Though the
mail-order houses and wholesale establishments selling others' goods
in general reported weekly hours of from over 39 to 42, it should be
noted that at least one-third of the employees in these offices worked
overtime in the pay period scheduled.
A 5-day week was observed in the offices of all the meat-packing
houses scheduled and in a substantial proportion of the mail-order,
gas, electric, water, and street-railway utilities, other manufacturing
(both branch and local), and oil company offices. However, except
for the oil and branch manufacturing, all these offices with a 5-day
week were on a daily schedule of 8 hours.
The office employees in 5 of the 8 oil companies and 16 of the 18
government offices worked 7 hours a day, but those in retail stores
generally were on a 7%- or an 8-hour schedule with a 5%- or 6-day
week. In only 15 of the 148 firms reporting were office personnel
expected to work 6 full days each week. Thirteen of these were retail
stores; 2 were railroads.
Overtime work and pay.

Of the 192 offices scheduled, 139 gave information concerning their
general policies with regard to overtime work and pay.
Some overtime work was reported in almost every type of firm.
Only 27 concerns scattered through the various types of office did
not at any time require overtime of their office employees. In the




47

48

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

remaining 112 offices, 73, or nearly two-thirds, paid for extra hours
at the rate of time and one-half. These 73 offices were in the following
business groups: Banks and other finance, insurance, railroads, air
transportation, meat packing, printing and publishing, manufacturing,
wholesale and retail trade, and oil distributing. It is notable that
payment of time and one-half for overtime was the policy of all the
railroads and mail-order houses scheduled, and, where overtime was
allowed, of all printing and publishing and “other” manufacturing
offices, and wholesalers distributing others’ goods.
Compensatory time off was given by 14 firms; 8 of these were retail
stores, 2 of which paid supper money in addition. Supper money
alone was paid by 9 offices in banks, insurance companies, and retail
stores. Only 4 firms paid for overtime at the employee’s regular rate.
These were in the insurance, wholesale (own goods), and retail offices
scheduled.
Of the 112 concerns where overtime was reported, 11 did not com­
pensate their employees for extra hours worked. Eight of these were
in government agencies. The others were in insurance, air transporta­
tion, and public utilities.
The pay-roll records transcribed by Women’s Bureau field workers
for a current pay period, generally in the spring or fall of 1940, showed
not only total earnings and hours, but also any overtime hours worked
for which the employees were paid. On the pay rolls recorded were
858 women and 441 men, or 14 and 10 percent, respectively, who had
worked and had been paid for extra hours above their normal work­
week. The number of hours paid for was reported for 817 women
and 359 men. Most of them, about 80 percent of the women and
65 percent of the men, had worked less than 4 hours of overtime.
Eight percent of the women and approximately 16 percent of the men
working overtime had been employed 8 or more hours beyond schedule,
and 6 percent of the women and 11 percent of the men were paid for
as many as 10 or more extra hours. The longer overtime was found
in almost all the types of office scheduled, with about four-fifths of
the women and a third of the men in the telephone and telegraph
companies.
Well over half of the women who received overtime pay in the
periods scheduled were employed by the mail-order companies; onefourth worked in the telephone and telegraph companies, the whole­
sale concerns distributing others’ goods, and the local manufacturing
plants combined. It is interesting that about a third of the women
in mail-order companies and of those in wholesale houses distributing
others’ goods worked and were paid for hours beyond their regular
schedule.
More than three-fifths of the men paid for overtime were employed
in only four types of office—the financial concerns, railroads, wholesale
distributors of others’ goods, and the mail-order companies. In the
two last named and in the telephone and telegraph companies, as
many as a third or more of the male office workers were paid for hours
worked over their regular schedule in the current period recorded by
the Women’s Bureau agents.




EFFECTS OF EXPERIENCE AND AGE ON RATES OF
PAY
From the personnel data secured by the Women’s Bureau agents in
192 offices in Greater Kansas City may be seen the effect of experience
and age on rates of pay. A summary of the salaries paid to beginners
will be made before discussing the increase in salaries with years of
experience.
Monthly rates paid to beginners.

Data were secured for 261 men and 378 women beginners in office
work, about two-thirds of whom were employed by mail-order,
financial, insurance, and air-transportation companies.
Over half of the 227 men without previous office experience for
whom occupation and earnings are reported were employed as mes­
sengers and mail clerks. The average monthly salary of men begin­
ners amounted to about $72. One-half earned less than $63; nearly
two-fifths earned less than $60.
The majority of the 205 women beginners for whom earnings are
tabulated were typists, stenographers, file clerks, and calculatingmachine operators. Women without previous office experience
averaged $64 a month. Only 27 percent earned more than $65; only
5 of the total earned as much as $85. Over half were in the group
receiving $60 but less than $70.
Percent with a beginning monthly rate of—
Number Average
of be­ monthly
ginners salary
Under
$50

Sex

Women.......... .......
Men

205
227

$64
72

1.5
7.9

$50,
under
$60

$60,
under
$70

$70,
under
$80

$80,
under
$90

$90,
under
$100

$100 and
over

22.4
30.4

52.2
21.6

15.1
15.9

7.8
3.5

1.3

1.0
19.4

ADVANCING RATES WITH EXPERIENCE

Rise in salary rates depends more on amount of experience than on
any other factor. In the offices scheduled in Greater Kansas City the
women workers with 1 and under 2 years of experience earned 6
percent more than those who had been in office work less than a year.
The average rose by 9 percent with the next year of experience and by
5 percent with each of the next 2 years. Women with 5 and under 10
years of experience earned 9 percent more than those who had worked
4 and under 5 years, and there was an increase of 21 percent over this
for women who had been in office work 10 years or more. The aver­
age for the last named was $44 higher than the average for beginners
with less than a year of experience, or more than two-thirds again as
much as they made at' the start.




49

Table X.—Average monthly salary 1 of employees with over-all years of experience reported, by occupation

KANSAS CITY

Number and average salary i of employees whose experience since first office job was—
Employees
with over-all
experience
reported
Under 1 year

1, under 2
years

Total under
3 years

2, under 3
years

4, under 5
years

years

5, under 10
years

10 years and
over

Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­
Num­ Aver­ Num­
age
age
age
age
age
age
age
age
age
ber salary ber salary ber salary ber salary ber salary ber salary ber salary ber salary
ber salary
WOMEN
4,478

$95

292

$64

255

$68

243

$74

790

$68

296

$78

251

$82

588

$89

2,553

$108

704

131
105

1
25

70

1
30

80

2
34

81

4
89

78

5
49

85

2
43

94

34
126

117
97

201
397

136
117

674

87

62

65

56

67

48

73

166

68

58

74

50

81

119

86

281

102

265
136
575

99
111
90

16

68

79

45
6
121

22
2
44

81

13
7
39

82

27
10
75

90

65

13
2
43

69

42

158
111
296

114
117
102

140
275
93
186

87
80
103
92

12
37

97

35
85
7
25
28
12
6

65
65

5
10
6

11
19
3
9
11
3
3

9
19
5
19
10
3
4

26
23
10
20
9
20
11

84

63

153
67

All occupations. ..................................-

57
133
69
111
34
113
40

105
89
109
102
87
103
65

136
274

103
71

8
49

7
23

3
15

8
33

102
104

112
81

.56
201
202

88
112
101

3
1
13

1
11

6
4

7
6
24

34
187
125

95
113
112

Stenographic group:
Typist, dictating-machine transcriber,
Accounting group:
Accounting, audit, and bookkeeping
Bookkeeper, hand; and cashier, teller Other clerks:

Clerks not elsewhere classified in—
Manufacturing and wholesale distrib-




16

58

36
12
29
4
11
7
3
1
3
25
7
10

67

61

71

66
58

13
15
2
11
14
5
6

18
97

61

5
25

10
2
34

73

15

5

66

85

72

O FFICE W O RK AND OFFICE W O RK ERS IN 1 9 4 0

Occupation

Under 3 years

MEN
All occupations.

1 Not computed for groups of less than 25.




3,025

$137

194

431

$83

150

161

134

8

14

5

27

89

16

204
183

141
164

5
1

8
1

5
1

18
3

282
207

147
105

7
14

7
14

4
15

18
43

127
295
225
130
165

139
78
143
151
125

4
90
60
7
3 ............
9

4
41
2
1
9

96
184

126
167

183
151
243
189

133
152
124
202

$77

4

$85

65
—

91

$92

3
14
7
1 ............
7

11
145
16
5
25

4
1

_________

4
1
36
1

146

106

5
11
1
11
1

30
10
63
3

83

6
24
7

$106

78

92

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

15
7

21
2

2

16

104

$121

2,094

$154

95

157

139
173

152
165

224
103

156
122

6
19
13
1
22

102
92
182
124
104

149
101
151
154
140

15
1

62
182

142
167

115
127
98
172

151
159
137
207

27
20

9
4

254

24
6

10

6
23

62

96

15

13
1

13
1

15
8
16
1

$96

3

—

16
10
50
9

126

129

EFFEC TS OF EX PER IEN C E AND AGE — KANSAS CITY

Stenographic group...................................... .
Accounting group:
Accounting clerk.................................. .
Cashier, teller
Audit and bookkeeping clerk and hand
bookkeeper ___________________
Machine operators........... ................... "Ill"
Other clerks:
Billing and statement
Messenger, mail, and transit’
Record........................................................
Shipping.................................. ...................
Stock"
Clerks not elsewhere classified in—
Finance and insurance
Railroads______________ ___________
Manufacturing and wholesale distribu­
tors_________ ____ _______________
Public utilities other than railroads.. I
Other types of office________ ________
Special office workers........... .........................1

Cn

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

52

When all the men office workers scheduled in Kansas City are treated
as a group and current salaries are compared with total years of experi­
ence, it will be noted that rise in salaries with additional experience
was slightly more rapid for men than for women. For example, as
compared with women’s 6-percent increase, men with 1 and under 2
years of experience earned 10 percent more than those at work less
than a year. Men’s average salary rose by only 8 and 4 percent in
the 2 succeeding years, as compared with women’s increases of 9 and
5 percent, but the men with 4 and under 5 years of experience earned
10 percent more than those who had worked 3 and under 4 years,
women with the same experience advancing by only 5 percent. I' rom
the experience interval of 4 and under 5 years to that of 5 and under 10
years, men’s average advanced by 14 percent as against women s 9
percent, and after 10 years men’s average rose by 27 percent though
women had only a 21-percent increase.
The difference between the sexes in degree of salary advancement
with experience is much more apparent when a comparison is made
between men and women who have had all their experience with one
firm and for whom their beginning as well as their current salary rates
are reported. These data are available for 659 women and 635 men.
The women who in 1940 had been working even less than a year with
the present firm had advanced already from an average of $64 to one
Table

XI.—Changes in rates of employees whose total experience has been with
same firm, by years with firm—KANSAS CITY

Employees re­
ported

Time with present firm
Total

Group averages of
monthly rates—

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

Num­
ber re­
Per­
port­
Has
Has
In first In pres­ cent of Is same
ing
in
de­
in­
ent job
job
first
creased creased
and
crease
present
rates
WOMEN

All experience with same firm..
Total with time reported.
Under 1 year _ _.............................
1, under 3 years. ...............-.........
3, under 5 years—............... .
5, under 10 years....... .................
10 years and over..............-.........
Time with firm not reported...
MEN
812
796

All experience with same firm..
Total with time reported
Under 1 year...... ..........................
1, under 3 years ..........................
3, under 5 years............ -............
5, under 10 years..........................
10 years and over------------------Time with firm not reported...




.

637
635

$68
68

$105
105

54.4
54.4

125
125

182
165
113
85
251

166
132
93
71
173

73
69
65
69
64

77
87
99
121
143

5.5
26.1
52.3
75.4
123.4

108
13
3
1

2
2

510
508

2

58
119
90
70
171
2

EFFECTS OF EXPERIENCE AND AGE—KANSAS CITY

53

of $66 a month, or 3 percent; the men had advanced from $73 to $77,
or 6 percent. The women with 1 and less than 3 years of experience
with the company earned 21 percent more than when they came, but
the corresponding increase for men was 26 percent. With the suc­
ceeding intervals of experience of 3 to 5 years, 5 to 10 years, and 10
years and over with the same company, the increases in monthly
salaries for the women were respectively 29, 38, and 72 percent as
against 52, 75, and 123 percent for the men.
Occupational experience and salary advancement.

Data concerning over-all time in office work were secured for 4 478
women and 3,025 men, or 72 percent of the office workers scheduled.
(See table X.) Fewer occupations than are presented in table if
1) under “other clerks” can be discussed here, because of in­
sufficient numbers. In some cases, similar types of work, or jobs at
similar wage levels, have been combined to make one occupational
class, and where this was not feasible different jobs have been thrown
together under “clerks not elsewhere classified” and listed by tvne of
office.
J
For the women in the stenographic group of occupations the typists,
dictating-maclnne transcribers, and correspondence clerks are com­
bined, while the secretaries and stenographers are listed separately.
In the men’s summary all occupations in the stenographic group are
combined In the accounting group, the accounting, audit, and book­
keeping clerks on the one hand and the hand bookkeepers and cashiers
and tellers on the other are combined for the women’s list; for the
men s, the accounting clerks and cashiers and tellers are presented
separately the audit and bookkeeping clerks and hand bookkeepers
being combined. All machine operators are thrown together for both
men’s and women’s analysis. Tube clerks, listed under “other clerks”
for the women, include the service-desk and cash-girl clerks found
only m retail trade, service-desk clerks in public utilities being in
clerks not elsewhere classified.” The women clerks not elsewhere
classified are grouped under finance and insurance; retail trade, which
covers the retail stores and national chain and mail-order housesmanufacturing distributing, and meat packing; the public utilities’
which here include telephone and telegraph; and the miscellaneous
group of other offices. Some men clerks not elsewhere classified are
fisted under railroads, but those in retail trade are in the category
“other types of office.”
J
In each occupational group in table X average monthly salaries rise
considerably with experience, but there is little agreement among the
various occupations in the rate and degree of salary advancement.
For example, the women machine operators with less than 3 years of
experience earn $2 a month more than the women accounting, audit
and bookkeeping clerks with the same experience, but after at least
10 years in office work the latter have more than overtaken the former
with earnings greater by $12. Likewise, billing and statement clerks
and hie clerks m office less than 3 years both earn $65, but with experi­
ence of 10 or more years the billing and statement clerks average
$105, or $16 more than the file clerks. Women stock clerks of less
than 3 years’ experience have earnings $7 below those of file clerks, but
after 10 years they earn only $2 less. On the basis of these figures,
women m the accounting group and in billing and statement work




54

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

show the greatest salary advancement, and file clerks and machine
operators the least.
Among the men, salary advancement between experience of less than
3 years and that of 10 years or more is greatest for stock clerks and
stenographers and it is least for machine operators.
It is interesting that men with 10 or more years of experience in the
stenographic and accounting groups had monthly averages of $157
and $158 respectively, but the experienced men in the stenographic
group had advanced by 76 percent over those with less than 3 years
of experience while the experienced men in the accounting group had
advanced by only 61 percent. Thus beginning salaries were greater
in the accounting occupations but in stenographic jobs the advance
was more rapid. Men stock clerks who had been in office work
under 3 years earned $5 less than the machine operators, but after
10 or more years of experience the stock clerks earned $18 more than
the machine operators.
Occupational advancement.

It was possible to analyze for 586 women and 398 men whose entire
office experience had been in the present firm, what shifts in occupation
had taken place since first employment. This discussion is limited to a
few lower-paid jobs in which a large proportion of men or women are
commonly employed.
Over two-thirds of 116 women who began office work as stenographers
for their present employers remained stenographers. The majority
of the others were transferred to different stenographic occupations,
but chiefly to secretarial positions. In contrast with the stenographers,
only half of the 215 women who entered as typists remained in that
occupation. Forty were transferred to other stenographic positions,
15 entered the accounting occupations, and 18 became machine
operators. Of the 123 women who began as file clerks, 66 still were
file clerks when scheduled, but nearly two-thirds of these had been
employed less than 3 years. The remainder were well scattered in
various jobs listed in table II, except for a group of 26 who advanced
into the stenographic field. Of 30 who began as mail clerks 13 were
mail clerks when scheduled and the rest were in various other clerical
jobs. .
Women who began as office girls, of whom there are complete occu­
pational data for 59, did not remain for long in that job. Of the 19
who still were office girls when the survey was made, 17 had been
with the firm less than a year. Of those who changed jobs, 18 had
become machine operators, file clerks, or record clerks, and the re­
mainder were scattered through a variety of office occupations.
Eighteen in a group of 43 women whose first office work was with the
present employer as tube girls, cashier-wrappers, and inspectors had not
been transferred to other jobs when scheduled. Of these, 14 had been
with the company 3 years or more. Those whose office occupation
had been changed were in a variety of clerkships when scheduled; 12
had entered the stenographic, accounting, and machine-operating
groups of jobs.
There are complete occupational data for 305 men who began as
messengers. Less than one-third had remained in the same job and all




EFFECTS OF EXPERIENCE AND AGE—KANSAS CITY

55

but 5 of those had been with the firm less than 3 years. Those who
had made a change entered a scattering of occupations, with 33 going
to the accounting group and 28 to the machine-operating group.
Fifteen of 47 men whose first job was for the present employer as tak­
ing care of incoming and outgoing mail still were working in the same
capacity when scheduled. All but 3 of them had been so employed less
than 3 years. Half of the mail clerks whose occupation had changed
were in the 3 important job groups, machine-operating, accounting,
and stenographic. Over half of the 46 men for whom first occupation
was recorded as stock clerk still were in that job at the time of the
survey, and half of these had been with the office 3 or more years.
Those whose occupation had changed were well scattered throughout
the office occupations encountered.
Type of office and salary advancement.

There were few office workers scheduled in Greater Kansas City for
whom data were not secured concerning time with present firm." As
would be expected, there is a sharp and consistent rise in average
monthly salary. Not quite so obvious are the differences by type of
office between wages paid beginners and those paid the most highly
experienced. Table Nil shows the average monthly salaries by sex,
time with the firm, and type of office.
The women scheduled did not advance so far in their offices nor so
rapidly as the men. Men who had been with the same concern 20
years or more were earning $79 more than those who had been there
less than a year, but women whose service had reached the 20-year
mark earned only $53 more than those who had worked for the firm
less than a year. Women employed 20 or more years averaged $125,
or $13 more than those with 15 and under 20 years of service. Those
who had been with the firm 5 and under 10 years earned about $18
more than women with less than 5 years of service. Men’s average
salaries rose more steeply. For example, men with 2 and under 3
years of service with the company averaged $15 more than those
with 1 and under 2 years of service. Those with service of 5 and
under 10 years were earning $21 a month more than those who had
worked 4 but less than 5 years. A $15 advance in the average came
with experience of 10 to 15 years, of 15 to 20 years, and of 20 years and
more.
The difference in average monthly salary between women who had
served one company for at least 10 years and those with less than a
year of service varied greatly by type of office. It amounted to $40
or more in financial offices and insurance, local manufacturing, and
Federal Government, but was less than $20 in mail-order houses and
wholesale companies distributing others’ goods. Such difference in
the case of men was over $70 in financial and insurance concerns and
local manufacturing firms, but was less than $50 in oil-distributing
companies; while in the city and State government offices the amount
actually was $1 higher for the group with less than a year’s experience.




56

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

Table

XII.—Average monthly salary 1 according to length of service with present
firm, by type of office—KANSAS CITY
All employ­
ees reported

Number and average salary 1 of employees who had
been with present firm—

Under 3
3, under 5
5, under 10 10 years and
years
years
years
over
Aver­
Num­ age
ber
sal­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
ary Num­ age Num­ age Num­ age Num­ age
sal­
ber
ber
sal­
sal­
ber
sal­
ber
ary
ary
ary
ary

Type of office

WOMEN
.....................................

6,206

$92

2,204

$76

1,033

$86

1,015

$97

1,954

$110

Banks and other finance .............
Insurance_____________ ____ ____

432
523

99
98

118
160

75
78

64
61

90
92

78
89

106
99

172
213

116
115

143
91
107
110

2
I0y
32
70

86
71
86

2
16
36
64

144

90
100

6
8
24
63

141

Other public utilities.-.--------------

151
133
405
353

109

313
156

114
124

Meat packing................................ ..
Printing and publishing. ______
Other manufacturing—Local firms.
Other manufacturing — Branch
firms

167
162
393

99
85
88

36
40
188

77
70
74

28
25
64

85
78
91

33
28
75

93
84
98

70
69
66

119
96
114

155

106

41

87

34

103

38

111

42

122

Oil distributing . .
Wholesale distributor, own goods.
Wholesale distributor, others’
goods _____________ .. -------Department and apparel stores_
_
Mail order and distributing offices
of national chain stores .

227
193

107
91

83
73

94
79

36
33

105
88

53
40

114
97

55
47

123
108

198
633

83
77

76
249

77
69

40
147

80
76

32
115

87
86

50
122

91
88

Total

1,412

73

614

65

291

75

204

82

303

81

Federal Government

312
143

123
83

139
108

110
79

43
13

123

70
15

127

60
7

147

Nonprofit organizations.......... .........

104
110

100
79

23
43

72

22
14

38
30

117
93

21
23

MEN
Total........................................ -

4,141

$130

1,279

$96

514

$114

554

$140

1, 794

$156

Banks and other finance_______
Insurance_____________ -................

610
287

116
117

158
88

70
86

78
51

93
107

116
63

134
131

258
85

144
145

Railroads.........

766
156
75
338

158
102
136
147

29
129
8
55

110
94

137

26
10
10
47

146

684
2
48
208

161

109

27
15
9
28

235
86
232

122
87
111

62
46
115

78
67
91

33
8
52

26
9
31

125
140

114
23
34

152

109

226

152

57

113

52

139

42

160

75

185

263
135

142
131

80
46

111
97

38
21

141

68
18

160

77
50

158
173

175
100

112
103

71
48

85
84

27
24

119

18
13

59
15

138

147

101

76

85

31

105

203
95

145
114

161
45

140
112

15
4

............-..........

Telephone and telegraph------------Other public utilities
Meat packing
Other manufacturing—Local firms.
Other manufacturing — Branch
firms _______________________
Oil distributing__________ _
Wholesale

distributor,

others’

Department and apparel stores ...
Mail order and distributing offices

6
6
i Not computed for groups of less than 25.




1
4

1

114
96

138

16

6
27

1

4
1

159

24

21
19

143
163

117

EFFECTS OF EXPERIENCE AND AGE---- KANSAS CITY

57

Average salary according to number of positions held.

For all experience groups but the shortest (under 3 years) more
workers, and usually many more, have had experience elsewhere than
have been with only one company.
When all the experience has been with one company, the average
wage, is somewhat less than the average for those who have worked
with other firms, a variation that tends to be greatest among those
with the shortest and the longest service records.
Average salary according to variety of
experience

Employees
reported

All experience with
present firm

Years of experience

Number

Average
salary

Number
of em­
ployees

Average
salary

One or more jobs
elsewhere
Number
of em­
ployees

Average
salary

WOMEN
Total............................................. .........

3,393

$89

1,285

$81

2,108

$94

Under 3 ............................... ................. .......
3, under 5......... ...............................................
5, under 10_
_ ____
_______ __
10 and over.............. .......................................

782
545
584
1,482

68
80
89
104

517
225
177
366

67
78
87
100

265
320
407
1,116

71
SO
90
106

MEN
Total........................................................

1, 783

$122

796

$108

987

$134

Under 3. ______ ____________ _
3, under 5........................................................
5, under 10
_
10 and over........................................ .............

425
243
253
862

83
100
121
148

347
113.
85
251

82
100
121
145

78
130
168
611

90
101
121
150

AGE AND SALARY

Since salaries advance with increased experience, they appear also
to advance with employees’ age. Salaries of men at the various age
levels rise more rapidly than those of women. Both men and women
under 20 had an average of $63 in the Kansas City offices scheduled
in 1940. In the age group 40 years and over, however, men averaged
$162 monthly, women only $114.
It will be noted from table XIII that the various types of office
differ considerably in the rate at which their office workers advance in
salary with age. In finance, insurance, meat packing, branch and
local manufacturing, and wholesale distributing of owTn goods, men
40 or more years of age had average salaries from $80 to $106 above
those of men 20 and under 25 years old, but in railroads and Federal
Government they averaged only $51 more than the younger men.
It should be noted, however, that in the two last named, the averages
for men 20 and under 25 were considerably above the general average
for men in this age group, and even the average for men 40 and over
was somewhat more than the general average.




Table

XIII.—Average monthly salary 1 of employees in the various age groups, by type of office—KANSAS CITY

CJJ

Number and average salary i of employees whose age was—
Under 25 years

Type of office

Total under
25 years

20, under
25 years

Under 20
years

35, under
40 years

30, under
35 years

25, under
30 years

40 years
and over

Num­ Average Num­ Average Num­ Average Num­ Average Num­ Average Num­ Average Num­ Average Num­ Average
ber
salary
ber
salary
salary
salary
ber
salary
ber
salary
ber
salary
ber
ber
salary
ber
WOMEN
All types..._____________________

6,217

$92

410

$63

1,489

$76

1,899

$73

1.178

$87

1,121

$97

824

$103

1,195

$114

Banks and other finance------- ------------Insurance__________________ ____ ______

433
522

99
98

31
29

66
69

56
108

74
77

87
137

71
76

58
77

90
92

70
105

97
102

72
73

108
106

146
130

116
119

151
134
411
353

143
91
107
110

1
69
55
61

92
98
9S

11
17
95
74

109
111

31
9
79
43

U5

86
80
91

1
26
60
66

107

87
82
92

1
82
60
67

139

13
5
6

111
114

117
103

123
125

168
161
393

99
85
88

5
5
39

36
31
110
26

76
71
75
90

41
36
149
30

76
70
71
88

27
28
87
34

88
81
90
104

34
28
77
43

100
84
97

25
24
37
27

111
100
117

41
45
43
20

123
93
117

227
194
198
646

107
91
83
77

2
6
8
37

02

45
43
38
169

93
77
73
69

47
49
46
206

93
77
72
68

53
35
60
146

102
85
80
76

56
44
31
134

109
94
89
85

41
31
26
79

118
97
91
82

30
35
35
81

122
109
90
85

1,404

73

211

60

511

69

722

66

288

76

196

84

117

81

81

80

115
88

53
18

127

58
17

128

82
33

133
83

30
36

122
84

Other manufacturing—Local firms

Department and apparel stores .
Mail order and distributing offices of national chain stores..
--




63

311
144

123
83

1
2

46
43

105
108

100
78

3
3

22
19

1C8
76

47
45

107
75

71
31

25
22

80

13
17

21
14

16
19

O FFICE W O RK AND OFFICE W O RK ERS IN 1 9 4 0

Total
employees

MEN
All types................................................

4,205

$130

170

$63

Banks and other finance
Insurance___ ____________ III”
Railroads.......................................................
Air transportation.____________ ____ _
_
Telephone and telegraph................... ”11
Other public utilities....................................

607
288

116
117

49
12

58

779
155
74
337

158
102
134
146

Meat packing________________________
Printing and publishingII.
Other manufacturing—Local firms
Other manufacturing—Branch firms

235
87
233
240

Oil distributing......................... ...................
Wholesale distributor, own goodsII.
Wholesale distributors, others’ goods
Department and apparel stores
Mail order and distributing offices of na­
tional chain stores____ _______________

1 Not computed for groups of less than 25.




996

$83

710

$116

633

$135

554

$150

1, 312

$162

73
81

177
82

69
79

86
79

101
111

95
53

125
119

97
38

143
152

152
36

157
175

4
8
1
2

34
82
9
36

115
91

110
89

66
18
20
57

139

148
3

157

498
1

166

93

29
43
15
47

132
112

94

38
90
10
38

149

56

158

139

163

122
87
111
154

20
22
11

63
28
84
49

81
67
87
108

73
50
95
49

76
64
85
108

41
10
67
58

30
16
30
52

139

25
3
10
34

146

66

161

176

31
47

167
194

263
146
186
107

142
132
112
102

2
5
5
13

54
29
61

100
83

56
34
66
35

99
83
81
73

47
29
42
24

131
115
108

54
25
22
19

67
34
42

163
192

149

101

12

48

82

60

77

31

100

24

209
98

145
113

2
1

31
7

119

33
8

116

48
13

130

35
15

1

1
1 ..............

1

—........

6
6

22

--------- --

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

1

123
112
109
143

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

134
158
154
130

39
24
14

162

130
13
20

144

2 | ...... -

21
73

1

1

—

3

170

E FFE C T S OF E X PE R IE N C E AND AGE — KANSAS CITY

Federal Government
State and city governments............ IIIIII"
Education..........................................................
Nonprofit organizations........................... II.

$88
128
70

Cn
CO

Table

O*
o

XIV — Average monthly salary 1 of employees of various ages, by occupation—KANSAS CITY
Number and average salary i of employees whose age was—
Employees reported
25, under 30 years

Under 25 years
Number

Average
salary

Number

Average
salary

Number

Average
salary

30, under 35 years
Number

35, under 40 years

40 years and over

Average
salary

Number

Average
salary'

Number

Average
salary

_

WOMEN
All occupations.......................................................
Stenographic group.
Secretary------------------------ ---------------------------Stenographer----------------------------------- -----------Typist; dictating-machine transcriber; corre­
spondent ---------------- --------------- ----------------Accounting group;
Accounting, audit, and bookkeeping clerks------Bookkeeper, hand; and cashier, teller....... ............
Machine operators...... .........-.......................-...........—
Other clerks:
Billing and statement------------------ ------ ---------File____ ____ _____________ _____ ____ -............
Pay roll------------------------------------------------------Record-------- ------ ------ ------ --------------------------Stock.------ -------------------------------------------------Telephone___________ _______ ____ __________
Tube
Clerks not elsewhere classified in—
Finance and insurance .
------------------------Trade: Retail and mail order-----------------------Manufacturing and wholesale distributors------Public utilities ----------------------------------------Other types of office..................................................




217

$92

1,899

$73

1,178

$87

1,121

$97

824

$103

1,195

$114

072

129
100

28
305

95
80

60
253

114
96

78
206

130
105

40
144

137
114

95
164

143
124

912

85

383

72

162

84

143

92

105

96

119

109

73

84

52
44
181

102
101
94

41
33
139

98
113
99

83
62
120

124
124
107

87
81
101
92

21
36
21
31
15
32
9

100

114
98
122
112

96

27
65
28
44
17
76

895

88

98
18
300

75

59
19
155

196

85
78
99
90

72
136
27
73

70
67
76
73

46
58
15
41

80
79
86

30
47
30
32

93
64

28
42

77
62

30
32

80
66

42
21

93

99
71

32
170

69
64

27
87

91
71

25
55

98
80

36
31

106
82

63
41

113
82

108
97

31
59

83
77

38
40

98
88

52
42

108
96

44
41

112
107

78
82

121
111

95

221
139
208
118
183
384
109
243
264

85

83

103

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

Occupation

MEN
All occupations

1 Not computed for groups of less than 25.




4,205

$130

996

$83

710

$116

633

$135

554

$150

1,312

$162

272

126

90

91

68

119

35

146

30

149

49

171

267
219

137
161

41
4

99

50
14

122

55
46

141
145

31
41

153
153

90
114

155
176

355
314

141
102

46
115

94
83

53
73

116
103

50
59

130
114

68
42

153
124

138
25

164
126

159
459
287
146
239

134
76
138
145
118

19
312
41
13
54

66
103

26
54
43
3
52

112
88
114

29
37
34
9
36

134
101
137

154

139

19
16
51
24
29

66
40
118
97
68

151
107
153
156
133

137
209
387
192
322
241

124
165
123
146
120
200

26
5
117
18
92
3

35
11
98
29
77
24

114

139
147
130
172

26
36
44
41
23
33

29
138
65
69
65
141

152
172
152
160
141
215

84
82
90
93

109

120
129
118

21
19
63
35
65
40

133
145
160
150
156
208

EFFECTS OF EXPERIENCE AND AGE— KANSAS CITY

Stenographic group....................... ............................... .
Accounting group:
Accounting clerk_______
Cashier, teller
Audit and bookkeeping clerk and hand book­
keeper.............. .........................................................
Machine operators_______ ____ _______________ __
Other clerks:
Billing and statement
Messenger, mail, and transit..................................
Record..________ ____________ ___________
Shipping_____________ ____ _________________
Stock___________________ ____ ______ _____
Clerks not elsewhere classified in—
Finance and insurance
Railroads_________ .
Manufacturing and wholesale distributors____
Public utilities other than railroads....................
Other types of office
Special office workers
1

O

62

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

In telephone and telegraph, finance, insurance, local manufacturing,
and meat packing, women 40 or more years of age had average salaries
between $40 and $50 higher than those of women 20 and under 25
years old, but in wholesale distribution of others’ goods, retail trade,
and State and city governments the difference was less than $20. In
none of the types of office last named did the average salary of women
in the two age groups exceed the general average for such groups.
There are differences among the various occupations as well as
among types of office in the rate of salary advancement with increased
age. For secretaries and stenographers the difference between the
average sa'aries paid to the young workers under 25 and those to
workers 40 years of age and over exceeded the general difference
for all occupational groups combined. This was true, in addition,
in the case of the women who held accounting jobs and those who were
employed as billing clerks, pay-roll clerks, and clerks not elsewhere
classified in finance and insurance companies. For men the least
differences in earnings of the younger and older workers were for mail
clerks, messengers, machine operators, stock clerks, and record clerks,
and for women clerks not elsewhere classified in retail trade, as tele­
phone girls and receptionists, file clerks, or machine operators.




ANNUAL EARNINGS
Regularity of employment.

Weekly and monthly earnings data have little significance without
information as to how many weekly or monthly periods through the
year workers have been employed. For this reason, in addition to
earnings for one current pay period the earnings and the number of
periods worked in the calendar year 1939 were transcribed from actual
records by Women’s Bureau agents and analyzed for all employees
scheduled who had been working for their present firms in January of
1939.
Data on the regularity of their jobs for one calendar year were avail­
able for 71 percent of the Kansas City office workers covered in this
survey. The figures confirm what is common knowledge, that office
work provides year-round employment: As many as 95 percent of the
men and 89 percent of the women for whom information was available
had been employed 52 weeks in 1939. All but a fraction of the remain­
der were employed at least 39 weeks in the year. Of those employed
less than 52 weeks, 70 percent of the women worked in retail trade and
57 percent of the men were in railroads, 14 percent in the mail-order
offices.
Annual earnings by type of office.

Annual earnings are discussed in this report only for those workers
who were employed in the firms where scheduled for 48 or more weeks
in 1939. This covers 69 percent of the women and 72 percent of the
men surveyed.
It will be noted from table XV that the women had average earnings
in the year of $1,171 and the men of $1,662. The variation and range
of earnings in the different types of office correspond to the monthly
averages discussed on pages 28 to 32. For example, the railroads and
the Federal Government led all other types of office in the year’s wages
of women in 1939 ($1,697 and $1,513) as well as in average monthly
salaries. The oil-distributing companies, branch manufacturing con­
cerns, and gas, electric, water, and street-railway utilities were next
in order of average year’s earnings of women, with $1,320, $1,310, and
$1,309, respectively. Yearly wages were lowest in retail trade, $956,
and in the nonprofit organizations, $988.
The types of office paying men the most in the year were the rail­
roads and the branch manufacturing firms, $1,903 and $1,855, respec­
tively. The offices of the public utilities, oil-distributing companies,
and wholesale distributors of goods of their own manufacture were
next, having paid their men in 1939 averages of $1,787, $1,767, and
$1,725. Printing and publishing paid lower wages in 1939 than any
other type of office scheduled, an average of only $1,178 for the year.
Retail trade, though next to the foot on the annual salary scale for men,
paid $168 more than printing and publishing.




63

Table

XV.-—Percent distribution 1 of employees accordinq to annual earnings for work in 48 weeks or more of 1939, by type of office—KANSAS
CITY '
Percent1 of employees who worked 48 weeks or more in 1939 and earned—
Aver­
age
em­ annual
ploy- earn­ Under $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 under under and
ees re­ ings
ported (mean) $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 over

Cl

Num-

WOMEN

Other manufacturing—Local firms.........
Other manufacturing—Branch firms----

$1,171

3.6

5.4

6.0

5.8

6.7

6.8

14.7

10.2

10.5

8.4

5.7

5.6

3.7

2.0

2.2

1.0

1.6

1,259
1,248

1.5
.3

2.1
1.3

1.2
3.6

1.5
2.8

5.7
6.9

5.4
6.4

13. 5
23.1

9.3
11.3

17.1
11.8

14.4
9.0

8.1
4.4

10.5
6.4

5.4
3.8

2.8

2.7
.8

.6
1.0

1.2
4.4

141
33
363
287

1,697
1,196
1, 298
1.309

.7

2.1

1.4

1.4

5.0

17.0

23.4

24.8

12.8

6.4

5.0

19.6
13.6

10.2
9.8

8.5
10.5

5.5
5.6

2.2
1.0

1.9
2.1

.8
.7

.6
2.8

85
131
251
131

1, 261
1,014
1, 141
1,310

180

Telephone and telegraph.......... ................

4,314
334
390

All types..........................................

1.1

1.1

1.9
1.4

1.1
3.1

1.9
1.7

2.5
5.2

8.8
12.9

17.1
14.3

15.2
15.0

3.5

4.7
9.2
3.6
.8

2.4
12.2
3.2
.8

5.9
9. 9
6.8
.8

7.1
11 5
13. 5
1.5

5.9
6. 1
13.5
4.6

14.1
16.8
19.1
4.6

14.1
8.4
10.0
13.7

4.7
8. 4
4.0
35.1

5.9
4.6
5.6
13.7

4. 7
3.8
4.0
6.9

5.9
2.3
2.8
6.9

2.4

5.9

4.7

4.7

3.5

3.2

2.0
.8

1.6
.8

3.2
3.8

.8
3.1

3.2
2.3

3. 4
10.8
6.6

11. 0
13.5
5. 5

11. 7
20.0
19.6
11.9

14. 4
11.0
7.4
8.2

20.0
22.8
10.1
4.7

27.8
4.1
7 4
2.4

7.2
2.8
7
2.6

7.8
4.1
2. 7
1.1

2.2
2.1
.7
.8

2.8
.7

.6
1.4

7.4
10.0

3 4
8.1
12. 4

1.7
6. 2
7.4
6. 1

.6

4.1
4.1
25. 6

3.3
2.1

379

1,320
1,153
1,019
955

.3

.8

.3

.8

893

956

6.7

8. 5

12.1

15.1

13.1

10.8

18.8

7.4

3.1

1.5

1.7

.4

.2

.1

.2

.

Wholesale distributor, others’ goods___
Mail order and distributing offices of




221
68

1,513
1, 085

85

1,074
988

.3

4. 4
10.6

13. 2

3.5

16.5

5.9

1.4
1. 5

1.4
7. 4

.4
33.8

5.9
10.3

10.4
4. 4

8.6
1.5

5.9

3. 5

10.6

15.3

14.1

14.1

20.4
14.7

16.3
2.9

14.9

2.4

1.2

3.6

10.0

1

.1

2.3

4.5

2.4

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 194 0

Type of office

MEN
$1,662

1.9

0.9

493
227

1, 498
1,475

4.7
.9

2.0
.4

Air transportation__________ _______
Telephone and telegraph......................... .
Other public utilities-.................. ...........

706
28
68
292

1,903
1,458
1,684
1,787

Printing and publishing
Other manufacturing—Local firms__
Other manufacturing—Branch firms___

97
53
145
196

1,508
1,178
1,472
1,855

Oil distributing___________
Wholesale distributor, own goods_
_
Wholesale distributor, others’ goods___
Department and apparel stores .
Mail order and distributing offices of

197
119
131
61

1,767
1,725
1, 520
1,315

1.7
1.5
11.5

89

1,368

2.2

96
51

1,668
1,422

Federal Government_____
State and city governments....... .............
Education__________ _________
Nonprofit organizations_________

4
1

m
(*)

1 Percents not computed where base less than 50.
2 Not computed; number too small.




1.3

-..........

2.1
5.7
.7
1.0
.8
1.5
1.6

5.2
9.4
.7
.5

2.2

5.1

4.1

3.5

2.7
2.7

3.2
5.3

7.1
15.9

3.3
8.4
.7

3.1
17.0
2.8

2.1

1.0

1.4

2.9

1.8

1.3

1.5
1.0

3.4

10.3
3.4

4.4
3.1

5.2
13. 2
10.3
1.5

7.2
9.7
2.0

11.3
5.7
10.3
5.1
3.0
13. 5
7. 6
11.5

2.1

5.2
11.3
4.1
1.5

5.2

1.4

.8
.8
1.6

.8
3.1
1.6

1.0
2.5
2.3
8.2

1.5
2.5
3.8

1.5
2.5
6.9
21.3

2.5
3. 4
11.4
3.3

3.4

6.7

3.4

4.5

6.7

2.0

1.0
9.8

5.2
3.9

5.9

7.5

8.8

6.7

9.1

7.2

22.4

5.7

10.0
10.6

6.3
5.3

3.5
2.7

10.1
2.7

5.1

14.6
14.1

5.4

13.0

10.6

13.5

12.6

36.3

11.8
6.8

4.4
5.5

5.9
7.9

2.9
10.3

8.8
11.7

10.3

13.2
11.0
4.1

4.1
1.9
8 3
5.1

2.1

5.2
5.7

8.2

5.2
3.8
3.4
10.2

1.0
5.7
3.4
11.7

21.6
7.5
15.2
29.6

7. 6
13. 7
6.6

5.6
6. 7
6.1
3.3

11.7
1.7
2.3
1.6

22.3
26.1
10.7

11.2
11.5
33.3

3.1
3.9

7.7
10.1

12.4

1.0
2.0

6.9
7.9
9.7

2.0

6.2
1.5

19.8
19.6

11.5

11.7

9.7

4.6

10.2

10.2

3.3

8.2

3.1
3.3

6.6

6.7

4.5

6.7

1.1

15.6
11.8

1.0
2.0

23.5
27.1

1.1

9.0

3.1
2.0

18.8
7.8

ANNUAL EARNINGS— KANSAS CITY

3,054
Banks and other finance.............
Insurance____________ ______

05
Ot

66

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

About one-third of all the women earned less than $1,000 in 1939.
It is interesting that women earning less than $1,000 were a much
larger proportion, over half, of those employed in retail trade, printing
and publishing, and the wholesale distributing of others’ goods. In
contrast, all the women in railroads and almost all in oil distributing
and the Federal Government received at least $1,000.
Very few women for whom annual earnings were secured received
$2,000 or more; in fact, only 16 percent earned as much as $1,500.
Much larger proportions in railroad and Federal Government offices
than elsewhere earned as much as $1,000—89 and 52 percent, respec­
tively. Few of the remaining types of office paid as many as one-fifth
of their women $1,500.
In contrast, more than three-fifths of the men whose salaries for 1939
were summarized earned $1,500 or more, and something over one-fifth
earned at least $2,000. In the railroad offices more than one-third of
the men earned at least $2,000, whereas less than one-tenth earned so
much in air transportation, retail trade, printing and publishing, and
city and State governments.
Only 1 in 10 of the men for whom annual earnings were recorded
received less than $1,000 for the year. But more than 2 in 10 received
such low annual wages in printing and publishing, retail trade, and
meat packing. Almost none (less than 3 percent) of the men in the
offices of the Federal Government, street-railway, gas, electric, and
water utilities, and the railroads received as little as $1,000.
Annual earnings by occupation.

Women who held jobs as special office workers, secretaries, statis­
tical clerks, and hand bookkeepers were at the top of the women’s
occupational list arranged by amount of total earnings in 1939. The
special office workers averaged $1,644, or $473 more than the $1,171
for all women together. It will be noted that these special office
workers, the highest paid among the women scheduled, had a lower
average than that of all men combined, whether special office workers
or messengers. W'omen hand bookkeepers, statistical clerks, and
secretaries averaged $1,305, $1,407, and $1,536.
Tube-room cashiers and other clerks in retail trade not elsewhere
classified were at the bottom of the women’s occupational list arranged
by amount of earnings. The former averaged $808 in 1939, more
than $800 below the special office workers. Also receiving low annual
wages were women clerks not elsewhere classified in education, credit
clerks, addressing-machine operators, counter and circulation clerks
in printing and publishing, and mail clerks, all of whom had an average
of less than $1,000.
.
_
,
Special office workers were at the top of the men’s occupational list
also. They averaged $2,381 in 1939, or $719 more than the average for
all men scheduled and as much as $1,485 above the messengers, the
lowest-paid male group encountered in this study. Male secretaries,
rate and route clerks, bond clerks in financial offices, cashiers and tell­
ers, and service-desk clerks also had high average earnings, all amount­
ing to more than $1,900.
Next to the messengers, men who held jobs as clerks not elsewhere
classified in public utilities, as bank transit clerks, mail clerks, and
“other” machine operators had the lowest annual earnings, in every
case less than $1,200, or $100 a month.




ANNUAL EARNINGS---- KANSAS CITY
Table

67

XVI.-Average annual earnings of employees who worked 48 weeks or more
in 1939, by occupation—KANSAS CITY
Women
Occupation

Special office workers......
Secretaries..-........
.................
Statistical clerks_____ ...........................
Bookkeepers, hand .......___
..........
Clerks not elsewhere classified,"public
utilities other than railroads..
_
Cashiers, tellers______
Service-desk clerks..... I”~................
Stenographers_______
Clerks not elsewhere classified, finance
and insurance_______
Clerks not elsewhere classified," other
types of office_ ____________
_
^C?0*kn^n^' au(^it, and bookkeeping
Pay-roll clerks'””””IIIII~~~‘"
Telephone clerks________ IIIIII”
Calculating-machine operators. II
Bookkeeping-machine operators
Transit clerks______
Correspondents... .IIIIII.!”"..........."
Dictating-machine transcribers
Record clerks... ______
Other machine operators "I
Typists______________ III””
Claims examiners and adjusters.......
Billing and statement clerks. _ ...IIIII”
Billing-machine operators._____’
Clerks not elsewhere classified, manufac­
turing and wholesale distributors
Checkers._____ ____ ____
Order clerks__ ___ ~~~~
File clerks______ III””
Stock clerks._____ .............. .
Mail clerks_______III””””
Counter and circulation clerks.IIIIIIIIIII
Addressing-machine operators _ _
Credit clerks _______
Clerks not elsewhere classified," education"
Clerks not elsewhere classified, retail and
mail-order houses___ _
Tube clerks____




Men
Average ]
year’s
earnings
$1,644
1,536
1,407
1,305
1,287
1,272
1,258
1,242
1,230
1,226

Occupation
Special office workers. _.
Secretaries.____ ______
Ticket sellers_______
Rate clerks______IIIIII”””
Bond and security clerks
Cashiers, tellers._______ ....................""
Service-desk clerksIIIIII
"
Clerks not elsewhere classified, railroads
Claims examiners and adjusters.
Bookkeepers, hand.............
Audit clerks________
Timekeepers______ III”””
Clerks not elsewhere classified," "oil’ ’
distributing__________
Shipping clerks_____ III””........
Correspondents___ II..............
Accounting clerks_____ III””
Statistical clerks._____ ill”
I
Billing and statement clerks
Record clerks________
Cost clerks____ ........ _...........
Credit clerks____ III”
’
Stock clerks______ IIIIII
’
Clerks not elsewhere""classified,’'manu­
facturing and wholesale distributors
Order clerks .... _____
Bookkeeping clerks.”””
Pay-roll clerks..___
___
StenographersI
.........
Clerks not elsewhere classified’, finance’''
and insurance_____________
Typists and dictating-machine tran­
scribers
Bookkeeping-machine operators
File clerks.
Calculating-machine operator's III
Clerks not elsewhere classified, other
types of office_______ _
Mail clerks~
"
Other machine operators”.........
Transit clerks___ ________ I. II”
ClerS?„.not elsewhere classified, public
utilities other than railroads
_
Messengers and office boysIIIIII”

Average
year’s
earnings
$2,381
2,085
2,028
1,985
1,954
1,926
1,915
1,832
1,830
1,825
1,804
1.785
1,777
1,756
1,732
1,716
1,694
1,662
1,655
1,651
1,633
1,525
1,491
1,487
1,486
1, 478
1,473
1,378
1,361
1,298
1,253
1, 215
1,215
1,184
1, 140
1,092
950
896

PERSONNEL POLICIES
Sex preference.

It will be noted from table I on page 7 that though women form
57 percent of all the office workers covered by the Women s Bureau
in this study, the proportion varies considerably by type oi office.
For example, women comprise more than 80 percent of the office force m
the education field, nonprofit organizations, mail-order houses, retail
stores, and telephone and telegraph companies.
“e other hand
in the railroads, branch manufacturing concerns, and banks and other
financial establishments over 60 percent of the employees are men. ^
All the firms scheduled except the nonprofit organizations and tele­
phone and telegraph were questioned as to which occupations m their
offices were open onl\ to men or only to women. Several railroad
offices stated that except in emergencies all their office jobs were open
only to men and in the others the jobs open to women were few. One
manufacturing company employed only men. Three offices were
restricted to the employment of women. Where definite choice was
expressed, in most cases women were preferred for stenographers
switchboard operators, receptionists, and in purely routine clerical
occupations such as billers, file clerks, and calculating-machine oper­
ators Men were preferred for administrative and supervisory posts,
especially as purchasing agents, sales managers, credit men, /md pay­
masters, and also as stock clerks, messengers, tellers, bookkeepers
accountants, collectors, multigraph and mimeograph operators, and
^From the survey it is apparent that men, though not nearly in so
great numbers as women, nevertheless are employed frequently m
the stenographic and routine clerical jobs. On the_other hand women,
though sometimes employed in the occupations for which men gen­
erally are preferred, enter what are designated as men s occupations
less frequently than men appear to enter women s.
Marital status.

About 27 in every 100 women covered in this survey were married,
64 were single, and 9 were widowed, separated, or divorced.
Some married women were found in each type of office studied except
education. Retail stores and telephone and telegraph companies
employed proportionately more married women, oil distnbutmg and
meat packing fewer married women, than other types of firm. Ih
reflects bv and large the attitudes of the various kinds of industry
toward the employment of married women. When questioned as to
their policy in this matter, 6 of the 8 oil companies all 3 meat-packing
concerns, 3 of the 5 public utilities, and the education office reported
that they did not employ married women as office workers. In each
of the remaining types of office, more firms would employ married
women than would not. The retail concerns and government offices
under civil service are especially liberal in their employment policy
68




PERSONNEL POLICIES—KANSAS CITY

69

in this regard. Nineteen of the 22 retail stores surveyed expressed no
discrimination in favor of hiring single women.
In 84 percent of the firms studied, women who marry while employed
by the company are allowed to remain. The public-utility and
meat-packing companies are the business concerns most likely to re­
quire resignation after marriage.
Nearly two-thirds of the men covered in the survey were married
only 2 percent were widowed, separated, or divorced, and about a
third were single. Single men are more numerous than married men
only in air transportation and printing and publishing, which happen
also to be the only 2 industries surveyed in which over 50 percent of
the male office workers were under 25 years of age.
Hiring and dismissal policies.

The hiring of new office workers in the Kansas City firms scheduled
m 1940 is more usually carried on through a central personnel office or
an individual responsible for this function than by decentralized means
such as the heads of various office departments. Of 146 firms re­
porting this information, 91 stated that their employment function
was in the hands of a personnel manager, the officers or owners of
the company, the chief clerk, or some other one or two administra­
tive heads.
Well over two-thirds of the 132 firms that reported with regard to
dismissal policies gave their employees either notice or advance pay.
Iwo weeks was the interval most frequently named for which wages
or notice were given. Of the 22 firms reporting that neither dismissal
pay nor notice was given, 15 were Federal Government offices in
which employees, according to civil service regulations, are on dis­
missal or resignation, entitled to all accumulated leave due them, in
addition to the sum of money with its accrued interest that they have
contributed to the Federal compulsory retirement fund.
Vacation and sick-leave procedures.

All but 1 of the 144 firms that reported on their vacation policies
granted their office employees vacations with pay on their meeting
certain minimum conditions with respect to length of service In
63 offices the workers were entitled to 1 week of vacation after having
served a specified period, usually 1 year or even less than a year, but
m a few cases up to 2 or 5. years. In 40 of these 63 offices some ex­
tension of the vacation period took place after service of 6 months, 1,
2, 5, 15, or 20 years, in most cases to a 2-week period but in 3 instances
to as much as 3 weeks. In three-fifths of the 144 offices the maxi­
mum yearly vacation was 2 weeks, given usually after 1 year of service.
Vacations of only 1 week were more prevalent in retail trade and in
the wholesale companies selling others’ goods than in any of the other
types of office scheduled.
Only 8 business firms reported an allowance of a specified number
of days of leave a month. In two cases a definite annual limit was
placed on the accumulation of leave, in one instance 12 days, with 18
clays permissible after 10 years, and in the other instance 2 weeks.
In 6 other firms the workers were entitled to 2 weeks after the first
year (5 firms) or year and a half (1 firm), 1 day a month of service
before this. All the other offices with this system of granting vaca­
tions were government offices. In the Federal Government, repre­




70

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

sented by 15 offices scheduled in Greater Kansas City, leave may be
accumulated by permanent employees up to 60 days at the rate of
2% days a month and, with the approval of one’s supervisor, may be
taken when desired, even before all the increment has been earned,
subject of course to proportional deductions in salary if later unearned.
Only 13 of the 142 firms that reported a policy with regard to
granting sick leave did not pay employees for periods of absence due
to illness. The periods for which sick leave was granted were less
often fixed than in the case of paid vacations, and in many instances
depended on the status of each individual employee. Limits on sick
leave varied in the Kansas City offices from a few days to as much as
6 months. In general, they were very liberal, in many instances leave
being extended as needed.
It should he noted that sick leave and paid vacations are granted
in all 9 of the 10 railroad companies that reported on these points,
but only on the condition that it is not found necessary to hire a sub­
stitute in the employee’s absence. In actual practice, paid vacations
are usual but the whole period allowed may not always be taken at
once, in order to avoid overburdening the current staff.
Promotional policies.

Comparatively few firms scheduled in Greater Kansas City reported
that they operated under a working promotional policy. Such poli­
cies usually provide for seniority in advancement and regular pay in­
creases or for periodic review of employees’ work performance, at
which times recommendations are made with regard to pay increases
or job promotions. Of the 40 firms reporting any part of such policies,
9 were in retail trade, 6 were railroad companies, and 5 were banks.
The rest were scattered over all the types of office reported except
meat packing and the Federal Government. The 41 nonprofit organ­
izations were not questioned on general personnel policies, since most
of them employed only 1 or 2 office people and the questions raised
would not have been applicableinsurance and other welfare plans.

‘ Some kind of insurance plan was in effect in over 80 percent of the
146 firms that reported. The management usually did not contribute
directly to the hospitalization plans—a very popular system—but co­
operated by attending to the accounting and other procedures in­
volved in making regular deductions from employees’ salaries and
rendering payment to the company by which they were covered.
Company contributions, however, were quite common and in a few
instances were extensive even to the point of complete coverage, in
the case of life, accident, and pension plans, in which the majority of
the regular employees were either automatically or voluntarily en­
rolled after a specified period of service.
Labor unions.

Very little labor-union activity was encountered among the office
employees of the firms scheduled. Besides three railroad lines and
two public utilities, one company each in air transportation, printing
and publishing, local manufacturing, and wholesale trade reported
collective bargaining with office employees. Some of the Federal
Government workers belonged to one of the several Federal workers’
unions.




PERSONNEL POLICIES—KANSAS CITY

71

Sources of applicants.

Nearly half the firms that reported the ways in which they secured
new office workers used only one source of applicants. Most popular
among these firms were, first, the informal method of consulting friends,
employees, and business associates; second, calling the public or pri­
vate employment agencies; third, using the company’s own personnel
files of applications. Only a few offices relied entirely on business
schools to send them their graduates or on the personal application of
individuals who may have heard of an opening. Not one employer
reported having used newspaper advertising as his only source of office
personnel and only 5 offices used advertising at all.
Employment, agencies frequently were reported as supplementary
sources of new office workers; about two-fifths of the offices used them
at times, though not exclusively. It was not possible to secure more
than an incomplete count of the offices using the State Employment
Service in addition to or instead of private agencies. According to
this count at least 27 offices, and probably more, made some use of the
public employment services, 5 of them using this source exclusively.
Personnel files and friends, employees, and business associates fre­
quently were consulted as supplementary sources of personnel, in
addition to serving many firms as their only source. Individual
applications and business schools were used less frequently to secure
new office workers, though together they were mentioned as the sole or
supplementary source by about one-third of the offices for which
there are data. Business-machine companies furnished applicants to
8 firms and* only 5 offices mentioned the use of seniority rosters or the
policy of drawing office personnel from other parts of their organization.




KANSAS CITY’S SCHOOL FACILITIES FOR TRAINING
OFFICE WORKERS
It was the purpose of the Women’s Bureau in this survey to discover
not only how many office workers were employed in Greater Kansas
City and something about their conditions of work, education, and
employment history, but how many new workers were being trained
and what this training comprised. To secure this information,
public and private schools giving business courses in the Kansas City
area were visited.
The public schools.

There are 14 senior high schools (2 of them including a junior high
school), 8 junior high schools, and 3 junior colleges in Greater Kansas
City that give secretarial and business courses to fit students for office
work. The most commonly available courses, and those with the
largest enrollment, are typing and stenography, but in the fall of 1940
a significant number of students, most of them in the senior high
schools, were taking also bookkeeping, office practice, and business
law. Classes in business organization, arithmetic, and English, and
in business principles and economics, are offered in some senior high
schools, in most cases as half-year courses.
■
Little attention appears to be paid to providing instruction in the
operation of office machines other than the typewriter. Only 3 of the
25 public schools giving business courses offered training in this field
in 1940, and of these 1 was on the junior-college level.
It was impossible to secure a reliable estimate of the total number
of students who, in the fall of 1940, were enrolled in commercial
courses in the Kansas City public schools, since school figures usually
were broken down by course, necessarily involving a good deal of
student duplication. It is safe to state, however, that the figure is at
least 9,000 and that approximately 2,000 young people graduated
from the public senior high schools of Greater Kansas City in 1940,
equipped with some business training that part of them were prepared
to present immediately as qualifications for securing office jobs.
Parochial schools.

The 8 parochial high schools, which offer the standard 2-year course
in both shorthand and typing, and instruction in bookkeeping, general
office training, and business law, reported an enrollment in these
classes in the school year 1939—40 of approximately 600, and about
200 business students completed their course in 1940.
The private commercial business schools.

The private commercial business schools in Greater Kansas City
are of four kinds. First, there are the schools giving general secre­
tarial, bookkeeping, and junior accounting courses, sometimes sup­
plemented by such subjects as business law and commercial English
72




SCHOOL FACILITIES—KANSAS CITY

73

and arithmetic. There are 13 of these in Kansas City. Second,
there is the College of Commerce, which is equipped to give, in addi­
tion, instruction in advertising, sales promotion, advanced accounting,
and business administration. The bachelor’s degree in business
science is awarded for satisfactory completion of the latter course.
Supplementing the training given by these schools are 7 of the businessmachine companies that conduct classes in the operation of the busi­
ness machines they sell and service, and 3 correspondence schools
with local offices, which specialize in giving accounting courses that
eventually prepare the more persevering to take the C. P. A. examina­
tions. Correspondence-school students are invited to avail them­
selves of the tutoring services of a consultant, on the staff of each
school’s Kansas City office, whose work consists solely of helping
students to solve scholastic problems during the period of study.
Most of the schools offer some instruction in the operation of office
machines, either as a separate course or in connection with their
accounting and stenographic courses. There are few, however, that
teach the operation of more than 3 or 4 of the more common appli­
ances. Instruction in calculating, bookkeeping, mimeographing, and
transcribing machines was most commonly available in 1940. Four
schools, besides 2 of the correspondence schools, gave no instruction at
all in office machines, but 2 schools gave training in 10 or more kinds.
At least 3,700 students were enrolled in the fall of 1940 in the private
commercial business schools of Kansas City, including the corre­
spondence schools, and probably as many as 2,700 completed the
course at some time in the previous school year. For the most part
the students were residents of the Greater Kansas City area. A
significant proportion already had jobs and were taking courses in
the evening to help their advancement. This proportion was greatest
in the correspondence schools.
The courses in the private schools range in length from 2 weeks for
a class in gaining speed and precision in the use of an adding machine
to 5 years to reach C. P. A. status through a correspondence course
or to secure a degree in business science from the College of Commerce.
The schools usually allow entrance at any time of the year and the
student may advance at his own rate of speed. Few of the courses
are designed to take the average student more than a year to complete
and most of them require only a few months.
A large proportion of the students enroll in a secretarial school
immediately after graduation from high school and usually are quite
young, ranging from. 16 to 20 years. Few of the day students are
over 25, and seldom, even in the evening schools in which more
employed people are enrolled, are the students older than 35.
Placement.

The public and parochial schools in Greater Kansas City maintain
no regular placement service. Usually positions are secured through
these schools only when requests for help come to them directly from
business firms. Occasionally the schools are instrumental in getting
positions for students when they are asked to furnish letters of recom­
mendation. In only one high school in the area was a concerted effort
made to acquaint the local businessmen of the service it could render
them in referring qualified young office workers. In three of the
high schools those taking the commercial courses alternate in working




74

OFFICE WORK AND OFFICE WORKERS IN 1940

part of each day in private business offices. Some of these students
secure permanent positions by this means.
_
On the other hand, almost all the private schools offer their students
a free and active placement service not only on completion of their
courses but throughout the students’ business career. They stated
in the fall of 1940 that generally they were successful in securing
employment for most of their graduates who did not already hold
jobs. It was impossible, however, even to approximate the total
number placed by them within the school year 1939-40, the period
of the Women’s Bureau survey. It must be remembered that the
schools’ estimates concerning placements were made in a year of
normal business activity.
Conclusions.

According to the figures here quoted, at least 13,500 students
were enrolled in business courses in Greater Kansas City in the fall
of 1940 and about 5,000 had completed their course in the previous
school year. It is not known how many of the latter actually entered
the Kansas City labor market, nor, of those who did, how many
were satisfied with other than office jobs. It is obvious, however,
that each year several thousand young people seek to break into
office employment in Kansas City and yet, as shown in the section
of this report devoted to analyzing the demand for new office work­
ers,6 business expansion in the area during the last decade was slight
and most replacements of office workers appear to be made with experi­
enced personnel. This decade, however, with the Nation’s entrance
into a war that will demand great expansion in some phases of its
economy but drastic curtailment in others, may cause many changes
in the business activities of Kansas City. It is not possible to foretell
what the demand for office workers will be as conditions shift. For
this reason it is important that more adequate labor-market infor­
mation with regard to office employment be made possible through
the amassing of appropriate statistics, and that vocational counselors
in the public and private schools be apprised of the trends. It is
recommended also by a committee of women leaders in vitally affected
labor and welfare organizations recently convened in Washington
by the Women’s Bureau that the training of office workers, especially
in the public schools, be more adequately planned and executed to
meet the changing requirements of industry. Had this been done
in the past, when the mechanization of office work was rapidly pro­
gressing, more public-school students could have found satisfactory
employment and many would have been spared the extra expense
and time of a post-graduate business course in simple machine opera­
tions that they could easily have mastered during their high-school
careers. In these times even more important are the greater efficiency
and economy of time that an effective school program makes possible
in the initial training or in the retraining of workers who may be
vitally necessary for the smooth operation of strategic industries or
governmental agencies.
rt See pp. 5 to 7.




O

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