Engineer Workforce

Study Explores Why Men & Women Stay in Engineering


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.”

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.

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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