Poster Paper: Turnover and Career Outcomes of Female and Male Scientists and Engineers

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Exhibits (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Qingqing Wang, Arizona State University

The paper compares gender difference of job mobility patterns and the effects of mobility on career outcomes. Women usually suffer from bias and disadvantages in turnover and career outcomes compared to men (Fuller, 2008). The research questions of this paper are: What are the reasons for turnover for men and women? Does voluntary turnover lead to different career outcomes for men and women? This paper contributes to the previous literature by considering the different turnover reasons, including change for pay, promotion opportunities, working conditions, job location, change in career or professional interests, family-related reasons, school-related reasons, and laid off or job terminated (includes company closings, mergers, buyouts, grant or contract ended). Furthermore, previous studies mainly focus on the wage difference by gender, other career outcomes like job satisfaction and supervisory positions are largely ignored. This paper will compare the effect of turnover on different career outcomes for men and women. Policy implications are proposed to promote the career success and trajectories for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

According to the social role theory (Eagly, 1987), women have the primary responsibility for caring for the family. Compared to men, women’s career trajectories are more strongly affected by marital and family circumstances (Han and Moen, 1999). Compared to women, men do not need to take so many family responsibilities. Considering voluntary turnover of female and male scientists and engineers, I propose: Female scientists and engineers are more likely to have voluntary turnover due to family-related reasons, while male scientists and engineers are more likely to have voluntary turnover due to career-related reasons. Moreover, compared to men, women gain less benefits from voluntary turnover, mainly because of limited scope of job search and employer’s bias. Women’s family-related turnovers might lead to lower returns towards career outcomes. Women might need to spend more time and energy in taking care of family members, especially children. Previous studies have shown that having children is associated with lower income for women (Budig and England 2001; Waldfogel 1998). This kind of family burden can cause career interruptions for women (Budig and England 2001; Williams 2000). After women change jobs, the new employer might have bias towards them. If employers perceive women as less dedicated to their careers because of real or presumed family responsibilities, their past mobility is more likely to be interpreted as evidence of lack of commitment rather than career-oriented job shopping.

To test the above theory and hypotheses, the paper adopts the coming from the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG), which has been conducted since the 1970s by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Since the sampling frame of the NSCG has changed since 2010, and due to data access limitation, this study only adopts 2010, 2013 and 2015 surveys for panel data analysis. The paper will mainly use pooled OLS and the fixed effect model to run the analysis. Preliminary analysis has shown to support the hypotheses.