Leaving Science: Gender Differences in Career Continuity Following a Job Loss1

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Abstract

This study investigates gender differences in the postdisplacement experience of nonacademic science and engineering (S&E) workers. Using a pooled sample created from the Displaced Worker Surveys conducted between 1994 and 2008, it finds that (1) this S&E work force is particularly vulnerable to job loss and potential career disruption; (2) displaced female S&E workers are more likely than comparable male workers to exit the work force, a gender difference that is conditional on and explained by marital and parental status; and (3) reemployed female S&E workers are also more likely to leave science for non-S&E occupations, but this gender difference is limited to unmarried workers. A concluding section discusses the implications of these findings for interpreting gender differences in career outcomes.

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