10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
19 October 2023

Please Don't Go: Retention of Women Engineers

State of the Industry / Profession

Research shows that 30 years into their careers, women in engineering are half as likely as the men who stayed to report that they are still working; and, despite decades of research attempting to explain this gender gap, the field continues to be dominated by men. An evidence-based analysis (EBA) was performed to understand the factors the impact the persistence or career commitment of women in engineering. After establishing the claim, which must be supported by evidence, and the development of a warrant analysis, a model of the causal factors and their effect sizes on the outcome was developed. The final model indicated that engineering identification and job involvement have a statistically medium impact on career commitment, followed by job attitude and job satisfaction. Factors such as work-family conflict and burnout have a statistically small impact. After predicting the risk, the model was evaluated using a well-constructed survey based on reliable measurement scales for the identified factors of importance. Survey results produced thoughtful insights. For instance, the women surveyed indicated that being an engineer has a lot to do with how they feel about themselves. They also indicated it was important to them to be good at engineering. Based on this, engineering managers can help women engineers to develop their professional identities by creating a sense of belonging in the workplace, and that their beliefs, values, and experiences belong, which will in turn facilitate their attachment and commitment to their career.