Is there a gender difference in STEM students' perceived employability?

Dawn Bennett, Sherry Bawa, Subramaniam Ananthram*, Tim Pitman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The study sought to determine whether there are gender differences in self-perceived employability of students enrolled in Australian higher education science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. Design/methodology/approach: Using an online measure comprised of Likert style and open text items, STEM students (n = 3,134) reported their perceived employability in relation to nine dimensions of employability identified from the literature as having relevance to careers in STEM. Analysis determined whether student confidence differed according to gender, field of study, study mode, age, and engagement with work. Findings: Female students in STEM reported higher mean factor scores in relation to their self- and program-awareness, self-regulated learning, and academic self-efficacy. Male students were more confident in relation to digital literacy skills; these findings were consistent both overall and across several fields of study within STEM. Gender differences were observed across study mode, age, and engagement with work. Originality/value: The analyses of students' perceived employability provide important insights into the formation of a STEM “identity” among female students. The study has implications for policy, higher education, the engagement of girls in early STEM education, and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-773
Number of pages20
JournalEducation and Training
Volume64
Issue number6
Early online date9 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2022

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