Chapter 5:



This chapter examines the participation and employment characteristics of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in the science and engineering labor force in 1995.[1]  Representation is examined, in most cases, in terms of age, field of employment,[2]  and highest degree level. These factors influence employment patterns; to the extent that men and women, minorities and nonminorities, and persons with and without disabilities differ on these factors, their employment patterns are likely to differ as well.

Within the science and engineering labor force, the age distributions of women compared to men, and of minorities compared to the majority, are quite different. Because large numbers of women and minorities have entered science and engineering fields only relatively recently, women and minority men are generally younger and have fewer years of experience. Age or stage in career is an influence on such employment-related factors as salary, rank, tenure, and work activity. Employment patterns also vary by field, and these field differences may influence employment in science and engineering jobs, unemployment, salaries, and work activities. Highest degree earned is also an important influence on employment, particularly on primary work activity and salary.

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[1] The data in this chapter are from the 1995 SESTAT Integrated Data Files–a combination of three NSF surveys measuring the employment, education, and demographic characteristics of scientists and engineers in the United States. The surveys were substantially revised in the 1990s and differ from those conducted in the 1980s in terms of the sample, design, question wording, and response rates. In most cases, therefore, it is not possible to present trend data.

[2] Throughout this chapter, scientists and engineers are defined in terms of field of employment not degree field. See appendix A for the SESTAT classification of science and engineering and non–science-and-engineering fields.

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