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Desired Career Outcomes Among College Students: Differences by Gender and Intended Career Field Documents

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Desired Career Outcomes Among College Students: Differences by Gender and Intended Career Field 

written by Florin D. Lung, Geoff Potvin, Gerhard Sonnert, and Philip M. Sadler

Using factor analysis we investigated the desired career outcomes of a large sample of college students. From fifteen original items, we extracted eight factors covering over 50% of the total variance. Some of these factors were associated with gender and/or intended career field. The "communal values" factor is positively associated with the female gender and a life sciences career interest, and negatively associated with an engineering career interest. Furthermore, the "innovator" factor is associated with the male gender and an interest in physical sciences and engineering careers. Another factor strongly associated with male gender is "career as means to social recognition." These results are in line with existing research pointing to different goals for males and females when choosing careers: Females are more oriented toward communal behavior and a connection with real life, whereas males are more attracted by social recognition and power.

Published February 1, 2014
Last Modified January 31, 2014

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