Leak or Link? the Overrepresentation of Women in Non-Tenure-Track Academic Positions in STEM

Published in: PLoS ONE, Volume 17, Issue 6, e0267561 (2022). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0267561

Posted on RAND.org on July 07, 2022

by Stephanie Rennane, Hannah Acheson-Field, Kathryn A. Edwards, Grace Gahlon, Melanie A. Zaber

This paper examines gender variation in departures from the tenure-track science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) academic career pathway to non-tenure-track academic careers. We integrate multiple data sources including the Survey of Earned Doctorates and the Survey of Doctorate Recipients to examine longitudinal career outcomes of STEM doctorate women. We consider three types of careers after receipt of a PhD: academic, academic non-tenure-track, and non-academic positions. We find that STEM women are more likely to hold academic non-tenure-track positions, which are associated with lower job satisfaction and lower salaries among men and women. Explanations including differences in field of study, preparation in graduate school, and family structure only explain 35 percent of the gender gap in non-tenure-track academic positions.

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