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From subject choice to career path:Female STEM graduates in the UK labour market
journal contributionposted on 13.01.2022, 15:47 by Patrick White, Emma Smith
Increasing the number of women in the STEM labour market has been presented by policymakers and industry representatives as an opportunity to address purported skill shortages in the sector. National governments have spent considerable sums on initiatives aimed at increasing the proportion of girls and women who study science and work in STEM jobs, with a particular focus on increasing the number of female STEM graduates. Although there is a considerable literature on gendered patterns of STEM education, the employment of recent STEM graduates, and gender pay gaps in the STEM workforce, there are important gaps in our knowledge about the position of STEM graduates. We combine several high-quality large-scale data sets to provide a comprehensive overview of the relationship between gender, STEM degree subjects and employment destinations in the first decade of this century. We found that labour market destinations were closely linked to undergraduate STEM subject choice but that gendered differences persisted within subject areas. Throughout their early and mid-career years, women with STEM degrees were more likely than their male peers to be employed in ‘caring’ professions, such as health and education, be employed in ‘lower status’ associate professional positions, and less likely to hold managerial positions.