Perceived employability and career readiness among STEM students: does gender matter?

Subramaniam Ananthram, Sherry Bawa, Dawn Bennett*, Chelsea Gill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Gender equity is an area of concern within STEM, where women are underrepresented in education and career roles. Increasing the representation of women in STEM and removing negative gender stereotypes are necessary actions, both of which can be fostered during formal education through employability initiatives and in the workplace. This study focused on the university setting and explores the perceived employability beliefs of students in STEM (including medicine), particularly their career identity and commitment, learning mindset, awareness of career and how their learning relates to their future career. The 12,708 student responses to an online questionnaire illustrate significant gendered differences in employability beliefs. Female students in STEM have significantly higher confidence in career identity and commitment, and relevance of learning compared to males, although they feel less confident in their reconsideration of career commitment and occupational mobility. In comparison to non-STEM students, women in STEM report higher confidence in career identity and commitment, reconsideration of career commitment, willingness and ability to learn, relevance of learning, career exploration and awareness and occupational mobility. Employability interventions are needed within the STEM educational context to promote long-term equal opportunities for all genders in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2023

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