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Women More Likely To Leave Engineering Over Work Environment, Study Finds

McClatchy Newspapers (3/11) reports, “Women who left engineering jobs after getting the necessary college degree were more likely to quit the field because of an uncomfortable work environment than because of family reasons,” a survey from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee found. “Nearly half of the women surveyed said they left the engineering field because of negative working conditions, too much travel, lack of advancement or low salary.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (3/11, Barrett) reports that the study surveyed “more than 3,700 women, with degrees from 230 universities” so far, although the survey work is ongoing. “Women engineers who were treated in a condescending, patronizing manner, and were belittled and undermined by their supervisors and co-workers, were most likely to want to leave their organizations, according to the study.” Other significant factors were “long working hours, unclear work objectives and a lack of company planning,” factors that experts noted could also be significant for men. Women “who stay in the field differ in that they have supportive supervisors and co-workers, and they have very clear perceptions of their jobs and how they can advance in the field,” said Nadya Fouad, a UW-Milwaukee professor and one of the study’s authors.

The International Business Times (3/11) reports that the Project on Women Engineers’ Retention (POWER) study “could have important implications in terms of finding ways to encourage more women to participate in and contribute to the advancement of engineering practice, as the authors found that women’s decisions to stay in engineering can be influenced by key supportive people in the organization, such as supervisors and co-workers.”

Post information via ASEE First Bell.

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