An Empirical Exploration of Factors Contributing to Malaysian Men Becoming Involved in a Feminine Career: A Case Study of Male Nurse and Pak Andam

Main Article Content

Siti Salina Abdullah
Suhaili Arifin
Fazliyaton Ramley
Zakaria Mohamad
Mohd Sani Ismail
Khuzaimah Mustapa


The gender socialisation process will form and affect the career choices of children when they grow up. As a result, certain careers are considered appropriate only for a certain gender. However, this scenario of gender dominated career is now loosened. Currently, there are men who work as nurses, secretaries, and bridal beauticians. This study examines the factors that influence Malay, Muslim Malaysian men to work in two careers generally dominated by women, which are nurse and “pak andam” (Malay bridal beautician and consultant). Using a case study qualitative approach, the author investigated the factors that influence male nurses (N = 14) and “pak andam” (N = 5) to work in occupations generally considered to be the main domain of women in Malaysia’s culture. Data from semi-structured interviews revealed that the reason why men become male nurses is mainly caused by external factors, which are family obedience, financial disadvantage, and  religious obligation. However, during their journey in becoming nurses, they developed their passion for nursing. In contrast, the males who become “pak andam” do so mainly because of personal factors, which is their interest in beauty and fashion. This paper will further discuss the participants’ experiences from the context of Malay Muslim culture.

Article Details

How to Cite
Siti Salina Abdullah, Suhaili Arifin, Fazliyaton Ramley, Zakaria Mohamad, Mohd Sani Ismail, & Khuzaimah Mustapa. (2024). An Empirical Exploration of Factors Contributing to Malaysian Men Becoming Involved in a Feminine Career: A Case Study of Male Nurse and Pak Andam. Asian Academy of Management Journal, 29(1), 203–227.
Original Articles


Abdul Razak, N. S., & Wan Husin, W. N. (2011). Social interaction between Malay and non-Malay communities according to civilisational perspective: An introduction. Jurnal Pengajian Melayu, 22, 205−233.

Abdullah, A. (1996). Going global: Cultural dimensions in Malaysian management. Malaysian Institute of Management.

Ann, G., & Dienemann, J. A. (2014). Job satisfaction and career development of men in nursing. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 4(3), 86−93.

Appiah, S., Appiah, E. O., & Lamptey, V. N. L. (2021). Experiences and motivations of male nurses in a tertiary hospital in Ghana. Sage Open Nursing, 7.

Autor, D. H., & Dorn, D. (2013). The growth of low-skill service jobs and the polarization of the US labor market. The American Economic Review, 103(5), 1553–1597.

Baharom, N. (2018). Jejaka ‘pak andam.’

Beggs, J., Bantham, J. H., & Taylor, S. (2008). Distinguishing the factors influencing college students’ choices of major. College Student Journal, 42(2), 381–394.

Bohari, S. J., & Magiman, M. M. (2020). Symbols and meanings indigenous ritual tepung tawar wedding Sarawak Malays. Jurnal Komunikasi Borneo, 9, 22−37.

Boughn S. (2001). Why women and men choose nursing. Nursing and Health Care Perspectives, 22(1), 14–19.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.

Bujang, A. R., Ali, M., & Zolkefli, Y. (2020). Working as male nurses in Brunei: A qualitative study. International Journal of Care Scholars, 3(2), 33−40.

Cassie, D. V. W., & Chen, C. P. (2012). The gender-mediated impact of a career development intervention. Australian Journal of Career Development, 21(1), 3–13.

Chusmir, L. H. (1990). Men who make nontraditional career choices. Journal of Counseling & Development, 69(1), 11–16.

Creswell, J. W., & Piano-Clark, V. L. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage.

Darussamin, Z., Rahman, & Ghozali, I. (2020). Justicia Islamica: Jurnal Kajian Hukum dan Sosial, 17(2), 323–341.

Dwyer, R. E. (2013). The care economy? Gender, economic restructuring, and job polarization in the U.S. labor market. American Sociological Review, 78(3), 390–416.

Friedman, S. (2015). Still a ‘stalled revolution?’ Work/family experiences, hegemonic masculinity, and moving toward gender equality. Sociology Compass, 9(2), 140–155.

Ginzberg, E. (1972). Toward a theory of occupational choice: A restatement. Vocational Guidance Quarterly, 20(3), 169–176.

Gottfredson, L. S. (1981). Circumscription and compromise: A developmental theory of occupational aspirations. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 28(6), 545–579.

Gottfredson, L. S. (1996). Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription and compromise. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Eds.), Career choice and development (3rd ed., pp. 179– 232). Jossey-Bass.

Gottfredson, L. S. (2005). Applying Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription and compromise in career guidance and counseling. In S. D. Brown & R. W. Lent (Eds.), Career development and counseling: Putting theory and research to work (pp. 71–100). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Gutek, B. A. (2001). Working environments. In J. Worell (Ed.), Encyclopedia of women and gender (pp. 1191 – 1204). Academic Press.

Hennink, M., Hutter, I., & Bailey, A. (2020). Qualitative research methods. Sage Publications, Inc.

Henson, K. D., & Rogers, J. K., (2001). “Why Marcia you’ve changed!” Male clerical temporary workers doing masculinity in a feminized occupation. Gender and Society, 15(2), 218–238.

Hoff, K. A., Song, Q. C., Wee, C. J. M., Phan, W. M. J., & Rounds, J. (2020). Interest fit and job satisfaction: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 123, 103503.

Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments (3rd ed.). Psychological Assessment Resources.

Juliff, D., Russell, K. P., & Bulsara, C. (2017). The essence of helping: Significant others and nurses in action draw men into nursing. Contemporary Nurse, 53(2), 156−166.

Keshavarz, S., & Baharuddin, R. (2009). Parenting style in a collectivist culture of Malaysia. European Journal of Social Sciences, 10(1), 66−73.

Kim, S. C., Park, Y. S., Ho, B. S.W., & Wu, I. (2017). Family conflict, Asian cultural values, perceived parental control, and affectionate care among Asian American college students. Journal of Asia Pacific Counseling, 17(2), 123−140.

Kim, S. O., & Moon, S. H. (2021). Factors influencing turnover intention among male nurses in Korea. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(18), 9862.

Ku, M. C. (2011). When does gender matter? Gender differences in specialty choice among physicians. Work and Occupations, 38(2), 221–262.

Law, W., & Arthur, D. (2003). What factors influence Hong Kong school students in their choice of a career in nursing? International Journal of Nursing Studies, 40(1), 23–32.

Lincoln, Y. S., Guba, E. G., & Pilotta, J. J. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry: Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1985, 416 pp., $25.00 (Cloth) [Book review]. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 9(4), 438–439.

Lupton, B. (2006). Explaining men’s entry into female-concentrated occupations: Issues of masculinity and social class. Gender, Work and Organization, 13(2), 103–128.

Mao, A, Wang, J., Zhang, Y., Cheong, P. L., Van, I. K., & Tam, H. L. (2020). Factors influencing recruitment and retention of male nurses in Macau and mainland China: A collaborative, qualitative study. BMC Nursing 19(104), 1−10.

Marañón, A. A., Rodriguez-Martín, D., & Galbany-Estragués, P. (2019). Male nurses’ views of gender in the nurse-family relationship in pediatric care. International Nursing Review, 66(4), 563−570.

Mcdowell, J. (2015). Masculinity and non-traditional occupations: Men’s talk in women’s work. Gender, Work and Organization, 22(3), 273–291.

McLaughlin, K., Moutray, M., & Moore, C. (2010). Career motivation in nursing students and the perceived influence of significant others. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66(2), 404−412.

Meadus, R. J., & Twomey, J. C. (2011). Men student nurses: The nursing education experience. Nursing Forum, 46(4), 269–279.

Mohd Afandi, M. F. A. (2018). Jika pengantin perempuan guna mak andam, kini pengantin lelaki semakin guna khidmat pak andam.

Mustapa, K., & Abdullah, S. S. (2019). Pengalaman kerjaya sebagai jururawat lelaki. Journal of Business and Social Development, 7(1), 1–8.

Nicolao, J. S. (2014). The effects of gender stereotyping on career choice among secondary school students in Dar Es Salaam. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Tanzania).

Public Services Commission of Malaysia. (2019). Nursing training.

O’Connor, T. (2015). Men choosing nursing: Negotiating a masculine identity in a feminine world. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 23(2), 194−211.

Oxford Reference. (n.d.). Fard al-Kifayah.

Patola, A. (2018). Keselarasan kerjaya, motivasi, dan kepuasan kerja dalam kalangan pekerja persekitaran maskulin dan feminin (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Universiti Putra Malaysia).

Perrone, K. M. (2009). Traditional and nontraditional work and family roles for women and men. Journal of Career Development, 36(1), 3–7.

Pinxten, M., de Fraine, B., van den Noortgate, W., van Damme, J., & Anumendem, D. (2012). Educational choice in secondary school in Flanders: The relative impact of occupational interests on option choice. Educational Research and Evaluation, 18(6), 541–569.

Romen, P., & Anson, O. (2005). Israeli men in nursing: Social and personal motives. Journal of Nursing Management, 13, 173−178.

PRPM (Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu). (2021).

Public Service Department. (2022). Staffing and organisation.

Pullen, A., & Simpson, R. (2009). Managing difference in feminized work: Men, otherness and social practice. Human Relations, 62(4), 561–587.

Ramaci, T., Pellerone, M., Ledda, C., Presti, G., Squatrito, V., & Rapisarda, V. (2017). Gender stereotypes in occupational choice: A cross-sectional study on a group of Italian adolescents. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 10, 109–117.

Ridgeway, C. (2011). Framed by gender: How gender inequality persists in the modern world (1st ed.). Oxford University Press.

Salleh, N. (2014). Tepak sirih: Komunikasi bukan lisan dalam adat perkahwinan Melayu. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 30(Special Issue), 177–190.

Salleh, N., & Kim, K. H. R. (2016). Tepak sirih: Interpretation and perception in Malay weddings customs. Jurnal Pengajian Melayu, 27(1), 200–220.

Serra, P., Soler, S., Camacho-Miñano, M.J., Rey-Cao, A., & Vilanova, A. (2019). Gendered career choices: Paths toward studying a degree in physical activity and sport science. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1986.

Shagufta. J. (2018). Concept of masculinity in men. Annals of Social Sciences and Management Studies, 1(4), 555570.

Simpson, R. (2005). Men in non-traditional occupations: Career entry, carrier orientation and experience of role strain. Gender, Work and Organization, 12(4), 363–380.

Sowtali S. N. (2019). Projection of nursing profession in Malaysia: Where we are and what need to be improved? Nursing and Health Care International Journal, 3(1), 000174.

Stanley, D., Beament, T., Falconer, D., Haigh, M., Saunders, R., Stanley, K., & Nielson, S. (2016). The male of the species: A profile of men in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(5), 1155−1168.

Super, D. E. (1972). Vocational development theory: Persons, positions, and process. In J. M. Whiteley & A. Resnikoff (Eds.), Perspectives on vocational development (pp. 13–33). American Personnel and Guidance Association.

Warming, K. (2006). Men working in women’s profession: A sociological interview study focusing on redefinitions of work functions and masculinisation strategies in four gender labelled professions in Denmark. Roskilde Universitet.

Whittock, M., & Leonard, L. (2003). Stepping outside the stereotype. A pilot study of the motivations and experiences of males in the nursing profession. Journal of Nursing Management, 11(4), 242–249.

Williams, L. S., & Villemez, W. J. (1993). Seekers and finders: Male entry and exit in female dominated jobs. In C. L. Williams (Ed.), Doing ‘women’s work’: Men in non-traditional occupations (pp. 64−90). Sage.

Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: Design and method (3rd ed.). Sage.

Yusof, Y. (2013). Faktor pemilihan kerjaya kejuruteraan dalam kalangan pelajar wanita pelbagai jenis personaliti di politeknik negeri Kedah (Master’s thesis, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia).

Zamanzadeh, V., Azadi, A., Valizadeh, L., Keogh, B., Monadi, M., & Negarandeh, R. (2013). Choosing and remaining in nursing: Iranian male nurses’ perspectives. Contemporary Nurse, 45(2), 220–227.

Zhang, H., & Tu, J. (2020). The working experiences of male nurses in China: Implications for male nurse recruitment and retention. Journal of Nursing Management, 28(2), 441−449.

Zulkarnain, N. H. I., Khairulbadri, K. N., Syed Hood, S. A. H., Hussain, N. N. E., Akhbar, R., Mohd Rozaki, A. N., & Ali, O. (2021). Altruistic behaviour among medical students: A comparative cross-sectional study. Asian Journal of Medicine and Health Sciences, 14(1), 128−136.

Zysberg, L., & Berry, D. M. (2005). Gender and students’ vocational choices in entering the field of nursing. Nursing Outlook, 53(4), 193–198.