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Gender and Career Outcomes of U.S. Engineers

Lisa M Frehill


Why are women more likely than men to leave the U.S. engineering workforce?  This article analyses existing, nationally-representative data about engineers in the United States to answer this question.  Two types of factors are considered: factors associated with balancing work/family; and those associated with the relative success of moving into managerial work away from technical tracks, a common engineering career path.  The data are the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Science and Engineering Statistical Data System for 2006 and provide the most comprehensive data about the U.S. science and engineering workforce.  While U.S. engineering women are more likely than their male peers to indicate that family-related reasons were part of the reason for not being in the field, this reason was less important than were “changes in career or professional interests.”  Consistent with previous research, men are more likely than women to move into managerial careers and to indicate that they have left engineering for “pay or promotion opportunities.”


careers; gender; engineering; work-life balance; SESTAT

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