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Retention in the Engineering Workforce

Women’s low retention in the engineering workforce is a concerning issue. According to the 2010 National Survey of College Graduates, 50% of women who are recent engineering graduates (0-4 years since they earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering) work in engineering jobs. Similarly, 54% of men who are recent engineering graduates work in engineering jobs. However, a gender gap is observed among those who have long since earned their engineering degree. For example, among those who earned their engineering degrees 10-14 years ago, only 36% of women engineering graduates are employed in engineering jobs while 43% of men are. Still, this gender gap widens among those who earned their engineering degrees 30-34 years ago. Among this group of graduates, only 19% of women work in engineering jobs but almost twice as many men (36%) work in engineering jobs.

Retention
Source: SESTAT, 2010 and 2019 National Survey of College Graduates

In 2019, despite a higher proportion (61%) of recent women engineering graduates (0-4 years since engineering degree completion) working in engineering jobs compared to their male counterparts (54%), we observe similar declines among women as the number of years since earning their engineering degrees increases. Beginning with women who completed their engineering degrees 15-19 years ago, only 20% of them work in engineering occupations. This proportion of women remains about the same (21%) among those who graduated with engineering degrees earlier (30-34 years). In contrast, 34% of men who earned their degree 30-34 years ago work in engineering jobs.

Retention
Source: SESTAT, 2010 and 2019 National Survey of College Graduates

SWE Efforts to Increase Female Representation in the Engineering and Computer Science Workforce


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