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ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia
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ICWES15 - 'I Like the Challenge': A Study of Women Engineers Who Have Stayed in the Profession. Presented by Ms Mary E Ayre, University of South Australia, United Kingdom and Professor Julie E Mills, University of South Australia, Australia

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  • Not been possible to obtain comparable data. Note UK data is all SET, not just engineering
  • From US literature (Hunt, 2010; Hewlett et al, 2008; Fouad & Singh, 2011) Also found in the 2 Australian CREW surveys
  • ATU chosen because we had ready access to data. [If necessary – 76 women have graduate 1974-2008. No contact details available for 11, hence survey sent to 65. Of the 65 sent invitations, 56 responded hence 86% response rate to the survey) The 94.6% rate is of the 56 who responded, i.e. 53 of them were still in the engineering profession BUT cannot assume that the 20 uncontactable or who did not respond have left the profession. Some international, may well be working as engineers in own country. Others reported by contemporaries as on the move: travelling or taking career break.] 16 of the 56 volunteered to be interviewed. Well aware that the purpose was to explore the factors leading to success in the profession – so sample is almost certainly heavily biased towards the successful. Questions ranged over several topics – when and why decided to become engineer How they managed their caring responsibilities How to belong or fit into the profession Why there are so few women engineers & what can/should be done
  • IF NECESSARY A good engineer is (in any order) Good at problem solving Oral and written communication skills, teamwork Technical Good at current job is same 3 as above but this time ranked, with people skills at top. BUT MOST (ALL BUT 3) SAID THEY HAD NOT BELONGED FROM THE OUTSET.
  • Several mentioned having had to learn to be more vocal, assertive and ‘visible’ Others found a change in the work environment helped them belong: either by chance like a new manager or a change in the social dynamics of the team, such as more women OR they had to make the changes themselves, by requesting transfer to another area in same organisation, or changing employer to one which has more family friendly policies . POSSIBLE KEY IN FINAL PHRASE ON SCREEN: NEED TO BE ABLE TO MATCH EXPECTATIONS TO REALITY
  • RE LAST POINT: USEFUL FOR EMPLOYERS WHO SAY THEY WANT TO ATTRACT/RETAIN WOMEN ENGINEERS BUT DON’T KNOW HOW TO. THIS RESEARCH IS ONGOING AND WE WILL BE REPORTING RESULTS FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE INTERVIEW IN DUE COURSE.
  • Transcript

    • 1. I Like the Challenge A Study of Women Engineers who have Stayed in the Profession Mary Ayre, Julie Mills, Judith Gill University of South Australia, Adelaide Presentation Outline
    • 2. Women in the professional workforce <ul><li>Percentage of engineering professional workforce which is female: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Australia – 11.2% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Canada – 12.2% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK – 7.0% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USA – 11.1% </li></ul></ul>Presentation Outline
    • 3. Workforce Retention Data <ul><ul><li>Australia – Women engineers 38.8% more likely to leave than men </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK – 56% of male SET graduates in SET employment but only 35% female </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USA – engineering exit rates 9.8% for men, but 12.9% for women </li></ul></ul>Presentation Outline
    • 4. Known causes of women’s dissatisfaction <ul><ul><li>Limited promotion opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unequal pay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual harassment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulties of combining work and family responsibilities </li></ul></ul>Presentation Outline
    • 5. New Study: ‘ATU’ 56 female engineering civil engineering graduates from one university <ul><li>Compared with recent national study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher workplace satisfaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More likely to work in public sector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nearly twice as likely to have responsibility for children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surprisingly high retention rate: 94.6% </li></ul></ul>Presentation Outline
    • 6. Interview Questions included <ul><li>When and why they decided to become engineers </li></ul><ul><li>How they managed their caring responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>How to belong or fit in the profession </li></ul><ul><li>Why there are so few women engineers and what can or should be done </li></ul>
    • 7. Respondents’ own assessment of why they fit in engineering <ul><ul><li>A good engineer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good at current job </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managers and co-workers agree </li></ul></ul>Presentation Outline
    • 8. Achieved ‘belonging’ by: <ul><ul><li>Working to gain respect of colleagues and clients – often a change in communication styles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change in work environment to improve their opportunities of meeting their own career objectives </li></ul></ul>Presentation Outline
    • 9. Conclusion <ul><ul><li>Mismatch between expectations and reality of the job is a key cause of women’s dissatisfaction in the profession </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Women can often use their labour market power to achieve change in employment situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May lead to cultural change in the profession as employers compete for qualified engineers and recognise women’s value. </li></ul></ul>Presentation Outline
    • 10. Thankyou Questions?

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