Career Insights: Women, STEM, and the Talent Shortage header image

by | May 13, 2022

Career Insights: Women, STEM, and the Talent Shortage report

The Career Insights: Women, STEM, and the Talent Shortage report reveals female students have a high aptitude for technology careers

Female students show a high aptitude for technology careers, but interest lags. National research conducted among 116,372 female juniors and seniors in high school shows high aptitude, but low interest in in-demand careers such as engineering and technology. YouScience analyzed the top 50 most frequent aptitude and interest-based career recommendations and found that, based on interest alone, 0% of female high school juniors and seniors were encouraged to consider engineering and technology careers. Using aptitude-based measurements that number increased to 44%.

This finding underscores a core challenge that many educators, parents, and students grapple with, namely, how to best connect education and career preparedness in a way that encourages student participation and engagement and provides data-based direction beyond high school. One of the challenges facing many high school students is the use of interest-based, not aptitude-based, tools to gauge student talents, abilities, and pathways. Interest-based tools reflect primarily what the student already knows, while aptitude measures surface known and unknown talents that are less recognized and can surprise students, teachers, and parents.

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A closer look at the data

Alignment by standard occupational classification (SOC) group

The following graph shows female students’ aptitude, or natural talents, versus their interest, showing a clear gap between what they have an interest in and what they can do. For instance, it shows that female high school juniors and seniors have more than 10x the aptitude for careers in architecture and engineering than they do interest.

Graph showing aptitude vs interests in various careers

To learn more about aptitude-based career guidance, Contact YouScience.


1 Findings were extracted from anonymized aggregated YouScience Discovery results for 116,372 junior and senior female students. Demographic breakdowns can be found in the full report.