Entry to employment : choices made by qualified women civil engineers leaving higher education
The subject of this thesis is the career choice of final year women civil engineering students. Though a considerable body of general literature exists on women in the labour market, including women in engineering and women in construction, there is a lack of knowledge about women in civil engineering specifically. Present attitudes are largely based on unproven assumptions unsupported by empirical data. By examining the career choice of the group, the aims of the thesis were to examine the factors affecting career choice of women civil engineers; to extend the knowledge base and to test some of the current thinking about women in engineering and construction. Four objectives were formulated. These concerned the initial reasons for the career choice, differences in male and female choices, whether there is a relationship between college experiences and career choice and whether there is a relationship between career expectations and career choice. These objectives were explored in a comprehensive literature review, and in an extensive series of interviews followed by a national survey of all final year women civil engineering students and an equivalent number of final year male civil engineering students. The data was analyzed by testing a number of hypotheses for each of the four objectives using advanced statistical techniques. The results of the study showed that there were a very large number of complex factors involved in women's career choice. Of particular interest were the differences in the career choices of male and female civil engineering students, that some college experiences of women were related to career choice and that generally the beliefs women had of a career in civil engineering did not appear to be related to their choice of sector of civil engineering. The thesis, in its original research, has clearly made an important contribution to the study of women in civil engineering and there is ample scope for future research projects to build on this original research. These findings have important implications for career advisors, teachers, lecturers in higher education as well as employers in the construction industry.