Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Work climate the main reason women leave engineering, survey suggests

Date:
March 10, 2011
Source:
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Summary:
After years of investing in strategies to encourage more women to pursue a rigorous engineering degree -- and succeeding -- US engineering firms are now facing a problem in retaining qualified women engineers. Why are so many women leaving the field -- or getting their degrees but never entering the field? The top reason isn't family, according to a new study, but an unfavorable work climate.

Women who leave engineering jobs after obtaining the necessary degree are significantly more likely to leave the field because of an uncomfortable work climate than because of family reasons, according to a study being undertaken at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

Nearly half of women in the survey who left an engineering career indicated they did so because of negative working conditions, too much travel, lack of advancement or low salary, the study shows.

Despite successful interventions to increase the numbers of women earning degrees in engineering, the field now faces the problem of retaining those female engineers. The study, supported by a half-million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), allowed respondents to list more than one reason for leaving, and about half did.

Findings show one in three respondents left engineering because they did not like the workplace climate, their boss or the culture. One in four left engineering to spend more time with family.

"Some women are leaving because of family issues, but that's not the majority of women who responded to our survey," says Nadya Fouad, UWM Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology.

This is the first systematic study of the engineering field's retention of women, says Fouad. She and co-author Romila Singh, UWM associate professor of business, received input in the form of an online survey on the topic from more than 3,700 women with degrees from 230 universities.

Respondents fall into four groups: those who are currently working as engineers, those who got their degree but never entered the field, those who left the profession more than five years ago, and those who left less than five years ago.

Other key findings include:

  • One-third of the women in the survey who did not enter engineering after graduating said it was because of their perceptions of the field as being inflexible, or the workplace culture as being non-supportive of women.
  • Women's decisions to stay in engineering are best predicted by a combination of psychological factors and factors related to the organizational climate.
  • Women's decisions to stay in engineering can be influenced by key supporters in the organization, such as supervisors and co-workers.
  • Being given opportunities for training and development was a key factor that influenced current engineers' career and job satisfaction.
  • Women in the survey who wanted to leave their companies were also very likely eventually to leave the field of engineering altogether.
  • Women who graduated with an engineering degree but who did not enter the field are using the knowledge and skills gained in their education in a number of other fields.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. "Work climate the main reason women leave engineering, survey suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310101341.htm>.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. (2011, March 10). Work climate the main reason women leave engineering, survey suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310101341.htm
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. "Work climate the main reason women leave engineering, survey suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310101341.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins