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What drives women out of Engineering jobs?
What drives women out of Engineering jobs?
Posted Date:28-03-2011 Courtesy:

Bangalore: Even though half of the 3,00,000 engineers India produces every year are women, it is a sad but true fact that none of the Indian IT companies have been able to hold more than 30 percent of their women employees in their job after the first 2 years. This is despite the fact that some of the Tier-I companies have been able to bring out women friendly policies. If you think, India is the only country facing this issue, it may not be true. Even the biggest economies like U.S. face this hurdle. 



Despite years of hard academics, women comprises only 20 percent of engineering school graduates and only 11 percent of practicing engineers are women, reveals a study done at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Over 3,700 women with an engineering graduation participated in the Project on Women Engineers' Retention (POWER) which was aimed at understanding factors related to women engineers' career decisions.


The workplace climate remains to be a strong factor for women engineers choosing not to enter engineering after college or to leave the profession of engineering.


The tiring working conditions, too much travel, lack of advancement or low salary has been noted as the main reason behind nearly half of women opting out of engineering. It was found that one-in-three left the profession for reasons being they did not like the workplace climate, their boss or the culture while one-in-four left to spend time with family.Interestingly, those who left had the same interests, self-confidence, and positive expectations as the current engineers.


A third of participants who did not enter engineering after graduation cited their perceptions of engineering as being inflexible or the workplace culture as being non-supportive of women as the reason. Nearly thirty percent said they were no longer interested in engineering or were interested in another field.A good number of women who did not join engineering stated that they use the knowledge and skills gained in their education in a number of other fields.


A combination of psychological factors and organizational climate has been noted in common among women who choose to say in engineering. They stick on to the profession because of some key supportive people in the organization like supervisors and co-workers. Women expressed greatest levels of satisfaction in companies that value and recognize their contributions and invest substantially in their training and professional development.


Women who are treated in a condescending, patronizing manner and were undermined by their supervisors and co-workers would in most cases want to leave their organization. Women leaving their firms usually consider leaving the field of engineering altogether.


The current working engineers expressed that only fewer work-life benefits are available to them. Work-role uncertainly and a work environment that consistently undermined them can be said to be the factors that most negatively influence women's satisfaction level at work.


Most women engineers contemplate on quitting their job when they feel a lack of confidence in their abilities and fail to manage multiple roles. Leaving job seems to be the only option for women when they are not being positive about the outcomes they expect from their engineering tasks.


What could be a possible solution for this waning number of Women Engineers? We invite our readers to put forward their valuable suggestion in the form of comments. We believe that the ideal solution comes from people who have experienced these scenarios. We also encourage women engineers to write their stories to us at

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