Our focus on increasing the retention rate of women in SET has centered on the young professional level – women who have been working in industry for three to seven years. The core of these activities has been implemented in cooperation with the WinSETT Centre. We have held six Leadership Development Workshops in four different communities, and assisted with continuous improvement of the material and delivery, building a set of best practices that is being implemented across the country.
We also added a more scientific approach to workshop impact measurement to help validate their impact. Our Self-Efficacy Study goes beyond measuring outcomes based on participant direct feedback, by measuring changes in career self-efficacy, a predictor of persistence in a career. We adapted Rigotti, Schyns & Mohr’s Occupational Self-Efficacy Scale: Structural and Construct Validity Across 5 Countries (2008) into a specific pre- and post- model and obtained UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board approval for a study on the impact.
Self-efficacy is defined as one’s belief in one’s own ability to succeed in a specific competency area. It differs from the concept of self-confidence in that it is very specific to one set of competencies. For example, a person may be very self-confident, but not have self-efficacy in her ability to play soccer.
We have found that there is a statistically significant change in self-efficacy before and after the intervention, and are now engaged in follow-up research to analyze whether those changes persist. Our findings were presented at the CCWESTT conference in May 2012. WWEST has also been invited to present the WinSETT workshop series, our self-efficacy findings, as well as our workplace research study (described in Section 2.1.4) with Professor Schmader in a series of three workshops at the APEGBC Annual General Meeting in October 2012. This work will also be profiled in an upcoming issue of the APEGBC bimonthly Magazine “Innovation”.
WWEST also conducted a self-efficacy study after the Creating Connections 3.0 conference. The results are currently being analyzed and will released in the coming months.