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Women, Minorities and Persons wiht Disabilities
in Science and Engineering: 2002
Introduction Chapter 2: Undergraduate Enrollment Chapter 3: Undergraduate Degrees Chapter 4: Graduate Enrollment Chapter 5: Graduate Degrees Chapter 6: Employment Technical Notes Appendix Tables
Chapter Contents:
Overview
Trends in S&E employment, 1993-99
Labor force participation, employment, and unemployment
Occupations of scientists and engineers
Sector of employment
Nondoctoral scientists and engineers
Professional development activities
Salaries of employed scientists and engineers
Initial labor force experiences of recent graduates
A demographic profile: Age and family characteristics
References
 
Sidebars
Appendix Tables
List of Figures
Presentation Slides

Employment

Initial labor force experiences of recent graduates

Recent bachelor's degree recipients
Recent master's degree recipients
Recent doctoral degree recipients

By 1999, the vast majority of the approximately 950,000 individuals who had earned bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees in S&E in 1996/97 and 1997/98 from U.S. colleges and universities and who were residing in the United States had entered the labor force. This section focuses on their initial labor force experiences.

Recent bachelor's degree recipients  top of page

Among the bachelor's degree earners, approximately 22 percent were enrolled as full-time students in 1999, another 22 percent were employed in S&E occupations, and 51 percent were employed in non-S&E occupations. (See appendix table 6-17.) Although men and women accounted for similar numbers of S&E bachelor's degree recipients, men were twice as likely as women to be employed in a science or engineering occupation.[9] Much of the difference is accounted for by differences in field. Women are far more likely than men to have a bachelor's degree in the social and related sciences, and a much smaller percentage of those with such degrees are employed in S&E occupations.

Among recent S&E bachelor's degree recipients, blacks are the least likely of members of all racial/ethnic groups to be employed in a science or engineering occupation; Asians are the most likely. At least some of these racial/ethnic differences in employment status are field related. For example, blacks are more likely than members of other racial/ethnic groups to have earned their baccalaureate in the social and related sciences—fields in which a small percentage of recent graduates are employed in S&E occupations, and Asians are more likely than members of other racial/ethnic groups to have earned their bachelor's degree in engineering—a field in which a large percentage of recent graduates are employed in S&E occupations. Overall, blacks and Hispanics are as likely as whites to be full-time students after receiving a bachelor's degree.

Although persons with disabilities represent a small percentage of the total bachelor's degree awards in S&E, they are as likely as persons without disabilities to be full-time students, employed in an S&E occupation, or employed in a non-S&E occupation.

Recent master's degree recipients  top of page

Among S&E master's degree recipients in 1996/97 and 1997/98, approximately 20 percent were enrolled as full-time students in 1999, 46 percent were employed in an S&E occupation, and 29 percent were employed in a non-S&E occupation. (See appendix table 6-18.) Although men and women made up relatively equal proportions of the master's degree recipients in science fields as a whole, men represented almost 60 percent of those employed in S&E occupations in 1999, and women represented just over 60 percent of those employed in non-S&E occupations. As with bachelor's degrees, the disproportionate number of women with master's degrees in the social and related sciences accounts for a large part of this difference. Among all S&E master's degree recipients, Asians were least likely of members of any racial/ethnic group to be employed in a non-S&E occupation in 1999. Blacks were the least likely to be employed in an S&E occupation and the most likely to be employed in a non-S&E occupation. Persons with disabilities represent a small percentage of the total recipients of master's degrees in S&E, but were as likely as persons without disabilities to be employed in a science or engineering occupation.

Recent doctoral degree recipients  top of page

Among doctorate earners in S&E in 1996/97 and 1997/98, 26 percent were working in postdoctoral positions, and another 65 percent were working in full-time jobs in 1999. (See appendix table 6-19.) Women were more likely than men to have postdoctoral positions, to be employed part time, and to be out of the labor force (i.e., not employed and not seeking work). Asians were more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to be in postdoctoral positions; this was especially true for the life sciences, where 60 percent of Asians held postdoctoral positions. Recent doctorate recipients with disabilities were less likely than those without to have postdoctoral positions; they were more likely to have full-time jobs.

Approximately 88 percent of the 1996/97 and 1997/98 doctorate earners indicated that between the time they completed their doctorate and the time of the survey (1999) they had either sought or held a "career path" job, defined in the survey as one that helps an individual further his or her career plans in a field in which he or she wants to make a career.

When asked to indicate the extent to which there were limitations imposed on their search for a career path job, the women were more likely than the men to report that their job search was limited "somewhat" or "a great deal" by their spouse's career or employment and by their own desire not to relocate or move to the place of job. (See appendix table 6-20.) Women were no more likely than men to report that family responsibilities limited their career path job search, however.

Racial/ethnic differences in career path limitations were also evident. Black and Hispanic doctorate earners were more likely than members of other racial/ethnic groups to report that debt burden from undergraduate or graduate degrees limited their career path job search. Asian doctorate earners were more likely than members of other racial/ethnic groups to report that their job search was limited because a suitable job was not available. Recent doctorate recipients with and without disabilities reported roughly similar limitations on their career path job search.




Footnotes

[9]  See Rayman and Brett (1995) for factors related to women's persistence in science after graduation.
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