Key Factors Influencing Young Women's Educational and Career Choices in STEM Fields (2022-2023)

Studies and international comparisons point to the persistently high horizontal gender segregation of the Austrian labour market, i.e. a numerical dominance of women or men in certain occupations or occupational groups. Against this background, the aim of the planned study is to identify push and pull factors that influence young women's choice of an apprenticeship or occupation in the STEM field and their retention in this field. A special focus is on identifying factors that can be shaped in order to reduce gender segregation in the labour market.

Two approaches are chosen to work out this objective: 

  • First, a systematic literature analysis will serve to elaborate push and pull factors. The aim is to look at factors at the individual and structural level in order to generate the best possible picture of the current state of knowledge. 
  • This will be supplemented by qualitative focus groups among female pupils, students and apprentices in the STEM field. In addition to the general discussion of individual motivations and obstacles in the choice of career and training, the role of social media will be focused on: How and with what effects are they used? Are new career aspirations triggered? Do they reinforce existing career aspirations or do they serve to obtain factual information? 

The interweaving of the literature review with the findings from the focus groups is intended on the one hand to provide an overview of supporting and hindering factors for an education and career choice by young women in the STEM field, and on the other hand to provide impulses for design approaches to make STEM professions equally accessible to women and men.

The study is commissioned by LEA - Let's Empower Austria, the Austrian Fund for the Empowerment and Promotion of Women and Girls. 

Team: Nadja Bergmann, Claudia Sorger, Petra Wetzel, Lucas Meyer, Ronja Nikolatti

Client: LEA – Let’s Empower Austria

Status: running