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

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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Aud nordby
Aud nordby1 years ago


Carol Ann O.
Carol Ann O.1 years ago

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

maestro stephen Miller

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.

Jordan G.
Jordan G.1 years ago

Dangerous territory ahead.

Rainbow W.
.1 years ago

“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.

Richard Pawlowski

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

Richard Pawlowski

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

Rainbow W.
.1 years ago

“According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the federal Food and Drug Administration”
You love making stuff up. They don’t allow “cosmetic manufacturer to use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval ...” Their regulations are pretty exhaustive.
[http://www.fda.gov/forindustry/coloradditives/coloradditivesinspecificproducts/incosmetics/ucm110032.htm]” Color additives are subject to a strict system of approval under U.S. law [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), sec. 721; 21 U.S.C. 379e].”

The FDA does systematic reviews of safety. [http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/transparency/basics/ucm262353.htm]” How FDA Evaluates Regulated Products: Cosmetics… FDA’s Own Research.” Who do you think animal rights groups target a lot?

You continue to show your bias, stupidity and hatred of women. Tell me when did you first have these negative feelings toward females?

Rainbow W.
.1 years ago

“Scientists from the University of Rochester”
The “Swan Study” was very limited and biased. Swan and her colleagues tested urine samples of 74 pregnant women who gave birth to boys and 71 who gave birth to girls, looking for nine different phthalates. First of all this is a very limited number, second urine has a bad habit of showing false positives. Second she asked them to complete a standard research questionnaire, called the Preschool Activities Inventory (PSAI), for their children ages 3 1/2 to 6 1/2 years. There are several problems with PSAI. First, the parent fills out the questionnaire and doesn’t account for the intentional or unintentional misinterpretation of the child’s behavior. Second the scoring is percentile skewed and prone to high error.

A more thorough study [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1247527/]”found that "adolescents exposed to significant quantities of DEHP as neonates showed no significant adverse effects on their physical growth and pubertal maturity."

Rainbow W.
.1 years ago

“Whether or not this has any bearing on why there are increasing amounts of homosexuals in our society,”
You are one serious homophobe. Homosexuality has been around since the dawn of man. If anything there is LESS homosexuality today because religion suppresses it. Some cultures revolved around homosexuality. The Spartans could not even marry a woman unless she dressed as a man, after having sex they ran back to the arms of their male lover. You know less about history than you do about women [if that were possible].

Furthermore homosexuality is genetic and epigenetic. Homosexual men inherit marker X chromosome in a region known as Xq28 and are expressed in epi-markers during pregnancy. Gay is not “made” it is born.

“Not angry, just a lot wiser and pragmatic than I used to be about women and their true power - to hurt or heal.”
Your “wisdom” is antiquated and harmful. Furthermore it’s is very interesting that you would go to such lengths to write a “book” filled with disinformation, intentionally misquote and misrepresent in an effort to demean and subjugate women. That in and of itself is quite disturbing.