The Importance of Career Services in Leveling the Playing Field in Competition for Tech Jobs

A new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and Break Through Tech examines the current state and the impact of college career services on undergraduate women pursuing technology careers. The goal was to learn if there were best practices and innovations in college career services aimed at addressing the challenges faced by women pursuing tech careers, whether female college students pursuing tech careers use career services, and whether the use of these services matters in outcomes.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the data show that men generally use career services more frequently than women and that men get more job offers than women. This is particularly important and unfortunate because the data also show an important result. When women do take advantage of career services, they benefit from them more than their male counterparts as measured by job offers received.

More remarkably, the data show that for men and women in STEM disciplines, the advantage in terms of job offers reverses. Women in STEM who use career services get more job offers than men in STEM who use career services. In other words, career services can level the playing field for women in tech.

The qualitative survey data of college career services professionals revealed that:

  • The importance of mentoring by industry professionals was the most frequently referenced best practice along with standard career services offerings like resume writing and interview preparation support.
  • Less frequently but importantly mentioned as a best practice were targeted interventions like services that explicitly took a gender lens and running programs specifically for student organizations like ‘Women in Tech’ groups.
  • Equally as important were the kinds of programs that were rarely mentioned, including engagement of faculty, helping students land internships, and a focus on employer engagement beyond traditional job fairs.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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