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Women Are Leaving Science and Engineering Jobs in Droves

Women Are Leaving Science and Engineering Jobs in Droves

Written by Annie-Rose Strasser

One year into a profession in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), women are far more likely to leave their jobs than their male coworkers. A new study released Wednesday by the Center for Talent Innovation finds that women call it quits 45 percent more often in their rookie years at such STEM jobs than men.

Women are consistently underrepresented in high-tech fields. Despite making up about half the U.S. workforce, they’re a mere quarter of American STEM workers. And their numbers have been stalling. It’s not that women aren’t getting STEM degrees; they make up 41 percent of those graduating from engineering or science programs. But when they leave school, they’re not always going into the workforce for which they’ve been trained. Previous research has found that “men are employed in a STEM occupation at twice the rate of women.”

The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) study reveals why: Women are abandoning their STEM careers within months of starting them. Nearly one in every five women with a STEM degree is out of the labor force entirely.

The question that remains: What causes them to leave?

One reason is that women are more often required to be the primary caretakers of children, a time-consuming activity that doesn’t always gel with the rigid disciplines of STEM. Sixty-two percent of female STEM workers report having no kids at home, compared to 57 percent of men — a sign that kids can get in the way of a woman’s career in that field, even when the child doesn’t do the same for a man’s.

There is also persistent discrimination against women who enter the science and math fields. CTI’s study found that almost a third of “senior leaders” in STEM fields think a woman would never be able to reach top jobs at their organizations. A part of this surely comes from a general societal bias against women in those fields. Previous research has shown that even STEM professors doubt the ability of their female students. Biases against women in STEM start when they’re young girls and can become so ingrained as to actually make the girls worse at the subject.

But even when women overcome all of the odds and tough it out in STEM fields, they’re still not reaping all the benefits that the men they work with enjoy. Full-time female workers with STEM degrees earn $58,000 a year compared, while men with the same degrees are making $85,000.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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7:37AM PST on Feb 23, 2014


6:11AM PST on Feb 22, 2014

My husband is an aerospace mechanical engineer. Out of work for past two years. No good jobs .

7:51AM PST on Feb 21, 2014

Ha ha, since when does congress do anything but take more rights and ignore serious issues like Illegal wars and the rape of our wealth? Congress is a ceremonial joke.

6:50PM PST on Feb 20, 2014

Dangerous territory ahead.

6:46PM PST on Feb 20, 2014

If you are unable to answer simple questions, that doesn't say much for your book.

Truth can always stand up to scrutiny. Any philosophy that crumbles under scrutiny cannot be true.

6:42PM PST on Feb 20, 2014

“Rainbow, you need to get some professional mental help. I'm done here..”
As a mental health professional your comment is noted. As a man I see you have no logical rebuttal, just insult and flee. Go peddle your propaganda elsewhere, no one is biting.

6:34PM PST on Feb 20, 2014

And Suba, I'm not going to debate this further. I'm done here.

6:32PM PST on Feb 20, 2014

Rainbow, you need to get some professional mental help. I'm done here..

6:29PM PST on Feb 20, 2014

Thanks for the facts & research Rainbow. Now for the logic.

Richard, EVEN IF all the research you presented and conclusions made are correct (which they are not, as Rainbow just pointed out) your whole premise is based on the assumption that “an increase in the gay population is harmful to society, and an impediment to the advancement of women”.

That assumption is obviously false. If you now claim homosexuality is responsible for our societal problems, please provide reasons.

6:27PM PST on Feb 20, 2014

Thanks for the green stars, which are supposed to mean that you like or agree with my posts. :) If so, why haven’t you addressed the points I presented?

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