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Title: Family formation and the career trajectories of women engineering PhDs
Purpose The underrepresentation of women in engineering has important consequences for meeting the need for a larger, talented scientific and technological labor force. Increasing the proportion of women faculty in engineering will help increase the persistence probabilities of women undergraduate and graduate students in engineering, as well as contribute to the range and diversity of ideas toward innovations and solutions to the greatest engineering challenges. This study aims to examine the association among gender, family formation and post-PhD employment patterns of a cohort of engineering doctorates. Design/methodology/approach Using the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Doctorate Recipients data, 2001–2010, descriptive and multinomial logit regression analyses are conducted to illustrate the career trajectories of engineering PhDs over a ten-year period. Findings The career trajectories of engineering PhDs are nonlinear, and transitions between employment sectors commonly occur over the ten-year time period studied. Although women engineering PhDs with young dependents are less likely to be employed initially after PhD completion, they tend to enter the workforce in the academic sector as time progresses. Early post-PhD employment as a postdoctoral researcher or in the academic sector contributes to the pursuit of the professoriate downstream. Originality/value While previous studies tend to focus on the early career outcomes of science and engineering students, this study contributes to the literature by focusing on the long-term career outcomes of engineering doctorates. Research findings provide engineering PhD students and PhDs with more information regarding potential post-PhD career trajectories, highlighting the multitude of career options and transitions that occur over time. Research findings also provide higher education administrators and doctoral program stakeholders with foundational information toward designing and revitalizing professional development programs to help PhD students prepare for the workforce. The findings have the potential to be applied toward helping increase diversity by shaping policies and programs to encourage multiple alternative career pathways to the professoriate.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1653378
NSF-PAR ID:
10400728
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education
Volume:
14
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2398-4686
Page Range / eLocation ID:
26 to 46
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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