Career Profiles of University Students: How STEM Students Distinguish Regarding Interests, Prestige and Sextype

28 March 2023

The following article belongs to the special issue "Sticking with STEM: Who Comes, Who Stays, Who Goes, and Why?".



Various factors may be important while individuals develop vocational aspirations. Although occupations that fit one’s personal interests appear to be attractive, contextual factors may repel groups, such as young girls, to develop towards areas such as STEM. Especially, the sextype of STEM occupations, that is often considered as male, could limit STEM career choice of young girls. This study investigates career profiles of n = 9277 German university freshmen based on interests, prestige, and sextype. Eleven latent profiles were found. Five profiles can be characterized by their prestige levels and two further by their sextype. Certain profiles are significantly associated with study outcomes and study satisfaction, which allows to identify at-risk profiles. Of note, especially female students in STEM subjects with a low proportion of females distributed widely across the 11 profiles. The implications of this study suggest that career choice profiles according to Gottfredson’s framework can help to identify at-risk students.

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