Gender, Family, and Careers in STEM

Early-career male PhDs are more likely to secure jobs than their female counterparts, but having kids hurts men’s chances at landing academic positions more than it hurts women’s, according to a new report.

Rina Shaikh-Lesko
Mar 6, 2014

FLICKR, CARISSA ROGERS

Female STEM PhD students are less likely than their male counterparts to find a job soon after graduation, but those who do are more likely to get a job in academia, according to a new report from the American Institutes for Research (AIR). AIR researchers analyzed data from 27,000 respondents to the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates who in 2009 and 2010 reported having secured jobs at graduation.

Men that did attain academic positions were more likely to land coveted faculty positions than women, the researchers found. Married PhDs were less likely to get academic positions, regardless of gender. Having children didn’t appear to hurt female PhDs’ career prospects—they were just as likely to land academic jobs as their childless peers. Men coming out of PhD programs who had young children, however, were much less likely than childless men to find jobs in academia.

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