NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When it comes to careers, it's not always a man's world. In fact, in some industries, it's quite the opposite.
A new report from job search portal CareerCast.com has identified the best jobs for women in 2015. While some of the fields identified aren't surprising -- public relations, event planning, and human resources -- others aren't as obvious. For example, opportunities for women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and health care are on the rise as well.
Of course, it's no secret that the working world isn't always the friendliest to women. A significant wage gap between men and women persists: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for women was 82% of the median wage earned by men in 2013. Some of the most innovative companies in the world, including Google (GOOG) - Get Report, Apple (AAPL) - Get Reportand Facebook (FB) - Get Report, leave much to be desired terms of gender diversity -- even though gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to financially outperform the national industry median.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of opportunities out there. Here is a look at 11 of the best jobs for women in 2015.
Annual Median Wage: $93,680
Projected Growth Outlook: 26%
According to a CNN Money report, actuaries have a nearly 0% unemployment rate. And while men have traditionally dominated the field, a 2012 study indicates that women comprise 30% of members of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and receive around 40% of bachelor's degree awarded in the field each year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 21,490 actuarial jobs available in the United States as of May 2014 and calculates a mean hourly wage of $52.93. Insurance carriers and other insurance-related agencies and brokerages employ most actuaries, and the states with the most jobs in the field are New York, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Connecticut.
Advertising and Promotions Manager
Annual Median Wage: $115,750
Projected Growth Outlook: 12%
Women comprise nearly 58% of advertising and promotions managers in the United States, and earn a mean hourly wage of $55.15. Advertising and public relations companies employ nearly 10,000 professionals in the area, while the best-paying jobs are offered by wired telecommunications carriers and providers of specialized design services.
New York and California are, unsurprisingly, the states with the most jobs for advertising and promotions managers, followed by Illinois, Georgia and Texas. New York is also the top-paying state for the field, followed by Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.
Annual Median Wage: $86,960
Projected Growth Outlook: 27%
Ranked by CNN Money as one of the 100 best jobs in America, biomedical engineering is a fast-growing field, and women would be wise to jump on board. As of 2014, biomedical engineers make a mean hourly wage of $44.12 and an average annual wage of $91,760.
The most job opportunities reside in the medical equipment and supplies manufacturing industry, though the top-paying industries are employment services and basic chemical manufacturing.
A February article from 24x7 Magazine posits biomedical engineering as a source of a positive outlook for women in technology. "There are positive benefits in a clinical setting. Women are seen as less intimidating when reviewing complex technology with nurses. Women who pick this career are recognized and valued in some circumstances and create a tremendous positive presence. They contribute in the broadest sense as they support clinical staff," Barbara Christe, Ph.D., told author Phyllis Hanlon in an interview at the time.
Annual Median Wage: $70,201
Projected Growth Outlook: 33%
More than 97% of all dental hygienists are women, and the field is growing incredibly fast. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 33% job growth from 2012 through 2022. The reasoning: ongoing research linking oral health to general health will continue to spur demand for preventative dental services, which are often provided by hygienists.
There are nearly 200,000 dental hygienists employed in the United States, earning a mean hourly wage of $34.60. Washington, D.C., hygienists make the most money, followed by California, Washington, Nevada and Arizona.
Annual Median Wage: $86,490
Projected Growth Outlook: 15%
The postsecondary education administration field is growing at an average rate, but as it expands, women may benefit more than men. According to the BLS, 63% of professionals in the field are women -- and educated ones at that. A master's degree or higher is often required to get into the area.
Colleges, universities and professional schools provide nearly 100,000 education administration jobs, and junior colleges add on an extra 23,000. The most positions can be found in California, New York and Massachusetts, but the best-paying jobs are in Delaware, New Jersey and Hawaii.
Annual Median Wage: $45,810
Projected Growth Outlook: 33%
Apps, online platforms and other technological tools may have rendered the event planning process more streamlined, but the profession is still alive and well. And as the U.S. economy continues to improve -- and companies and households feel more comfortable with spending -- event planning will grow even faster. In fact, the projected growth outlook for jobs in the field is 33% from 2012 to 2022.
Event planners employed by firms in the aerospace product and parts manufacturing make the most money, bringing in an hourly wage of $40.17 an hour vs. the occupational average of $24.48. Washington D.C., New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia offer the best-paying event planning jobs.
Human Resources Manager
Annual Median Wage: $99,720
Projected Growth Outlook: 12%
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that as of 2014, nearly three-quarters of human resources managers are women. The mean hourly wage earned by the 116,000 professionals employed in the arena is $54.88, and the highest-paying jobs can be found in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Delaware, New York and Colorado.
The company and enterprise management industry provides the most HR management jobs, followed by local government and general medical and surgical hospitals. Breaking into the field requires a bachelor's degree and at least five years of work experience in a related occupation.
Market Research Analyst
Annual Median Wage: $60,330
Projected Growth Outlook: 32%
It's a good time to get into market research analysis, the practice of studying market conditions to determine what consumers want, what they'll buy, and at what price. The BLS estimates a 32% job growth rate in the field from 2012 to 2022.
As of 2014, there were nearly 470,000 market research analyst positions in the United States, over 60% of which are held by women. Professionals in specialized industries are likely to earn more, with analysts employed in the aerospace product and parts manufacturing, semiconductor manufacturing, and mining support industries making the most. The cities with the largest number of opportunities for market research analysts are New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Annual Median Wage: $75,400
Projected Growth Outlook: 29%
Occupational therapists topped the American Staffing Association's 2015 list of the most difficult positions to fill. The field, which has a projected growth rate of 29%, may be in a bit of a drought.
Becoming an occupational therapist requires a master's degree and pays a mean hourly wage of $38.46. Many of the 110,000 professionals currently in the field work out of hospitals or occupational therapy offices, while others work in schools, nursing homes, physicians' offices and home health services. California, New York and Texas have the most occupational therapy jobs, while Nevada, California and New Jersey boast the best pay.
Also worth noting: Women dominate the arena. More than 92% of all occupational therapists in the United States are women.
Public Relations Manager
Annual Median Wage: $95,450
Projected Growth Outlook: 13%
The pay earned by public relations managers varies significantly from state to state. In Washington, D.C., and New York, professionals make more than $150,000 per year on average. In Oregon and Maine, however, they make around half that amount.
The public relations management field is growing at pace with other areas and is expected to rise 13% from 2012 to 2022. Those employed in apparel and wireless telecommunications companies earn the highest salaries, and 60% of all public relations managers are women.
Annual Median Wage: $75,560
Projected Growth Outlook: 27%
Women hold their own in the statistics field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 50% of statisticians in the U.S. in 2014 were women. Moreover, CareerCast holds that 40% of all enrolled students in statistician programs were women last year as well.
Becoming a statistician does require a master's degree, but it also promises opportunity, with a 10-year job outlook growth rate of 27%. Statisticians earn a mean hourly wage of $40.39. The most jobs are provided by the federal executive branch, and by scientific research and development services companies. Statisticians in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., California, Maryland and North Carolina earn the most money.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.