Study Explores Why Men & Women Stay in Engineering


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IEEE-USA has joined several engineering societies in supporting a first of its kind study designed to systematically document what engineers enjoy most (and least) about their jobs, workplaces, and ultimately, the engineering profession.   The goal of the study is to understand the key factors that shape engineers’ career choices and their engagement within the profession.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study is being conducted by a team of researchers in organizational behavior and occupational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  The project is led by Drs. Nadya Fouad and Romila Singh, who  previously conducted the groundbreaking NSF study on “Stemming The Tide: Why Women Leave Engineering.”  (see TE, May 2011)

One of the motivations for the study is a concern that engineers are leaving the field at a rate four times higher than that of doctors, three and a half times that of lawyers and judges, and 15-30 percent more than nurses or college teachers.  Because of the critical role that engineers play in advancing U.S. technological competitiveness and national security, the National Science Foundation and the engineering community want to better understand what would help employers to better attract, retain, and engage its highly trained engineering workforce and prevent avoidable turnover.   This requires a better understanding of the factors that shape engineers’ career choices and experiences, which will be collected and analyzed through an ongoing nationwide survey of engineers.

The survey of engineers will also give specific feedback to engineering professional societies, policy-makers and educators to help them thoughtfully craft initiatives that optimize engineers’ engagement in technical careers and workplaces.

Your Participation is Requested

U.S. IEEE members are encouraged to participate in the survey, which can be found online at http://www.nsfengage.org.   Is should take about 25 minutes to complete and doesn’t have to be completed in one sitting.  Participants who provide their email address are eligible for a raffle, with over $5000 worth of Amazon gift cards being distributed.


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