Xu, Y. J. (2017). Attrition of women in STEM: Examining job/major congruence in the career choices of college graduates. Journal of Career Development, 44(1), 3-19.
Data from a national survey are used to examine how individual characteristics and social structural factors may influence college graduates choosing an occupation that is congruent with their undergraduate field of study. Analysis is conducted separately for males and females and for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM majors. Comparisons between the subgroups help to identify factors that may contribute to improving career outcomes and, in particular, lowering the attrition rates in STEM at transition from college to employment. The results suggest that positive career outcomes, such as better earnings and greater job satisfaction, are associated with individuals having an occupation congruent with their college major. STEM graduates have a lower unemployment rate than non-STEM graduates, but female presence in STEM majors remains low; and gender inequality (salary and employment status) in STEM occupations is significant from the very beginning of postbaccalaureate employment.