Gender gap less of a factor for new female college grads

Information collected from and (Jessica Olsen)
Information collected from and (Jessica Olsen)

College graduates believe the future is brighter for females hoping to see the same successes as their male counterparts, a change from inequality in the workplace and the job-hunting process that has been a standing issue in the past.

According to Jodi Chowen, University Career Services Director, gender inequality is no longer a major factor in the hiring process for recent college graduates — especially for graduates of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors.

“The (STEM) employers want more females,” Chowen said. “Employers want to have a diversity of experience and opinion and perspective — that’s why they look for more women.”

According to Chowen, almost every major on campus has hiring potential, and students will learn specific skill sets in each of them — students just need to know how to market themselves to employers. She said knowing specific skills applicants can offer potential employers is the biggest factor in getting hired.

Chowen said people who can talk on the spot can interview better, but some jobs require more critical thinking and analyzing. She said everybody just needs to find their niche.

Chowen noted that the reason most of the women in the workplace see themselves advancing at a slower pace than their male colleagues may be a result of certain factors and responsibilities women take on throughout their lives.

Chowen explained that women might have babies or decide to stay home, and because of that decision they take part-time work. “So a man and woman coming out of the same graduating class, a man might seem to be going higher, further, faster, but it’s because women are taking on these other roles and making decisions around that, which impacts their career.”

Despite the gender gap some women may still see, Chowen is optimistic that women’s opportunities for career advancement are up and coming.

“There are gender differences, and certainly there does still exist some wage discrepancy between men and women,” Chowen said. “I’d like to think that gap is closing. In terms of students getting offers, if you’re qualified, I don’t see it as much.”

Haley Bissegger, a BYU alumna from the journalism program, said she feels that sexism is a factor in women finding jobs in the workforce; but she hasn’t felt personally affected by it.

“It’s not that sexism doesn’t exist or that it’s not a factor when women try to find jobs after they graduate,” Bissegger said. “It’s just, even though that wasn’t my experience, there are things that women can do to make it easier.”

One tip Bissegger said could help women find more success in landing their dream jobs is to be more bold during the application process, even though women may not fit all of the qualifications.

Taylor Street, a recent BYU alumna, said after graduation she applied to jobs in major cities in Texas and California but thinks because she was female that might have held her back from catching the employers’ attention.

Street believes that because she lives in Utah employers may have thought she was not willing to move. “I think people think women are a little less willing to uproot their lives and move somewhere for a job — because traditionally that’s not what a lot of women do.”

One reason Street said women may be having trouble finding a job after graduation is that they may start to feel low self-esteem after some rejection. Street explained that no one was responding to her emails, which was discouraging. “I think that women tend to internalize that a lot more than men.”

The rejection women might face early on in their careers might make them more apt to lower their standards.

“Maybe we’ll lower our standards or stop applying for jobs in major cities, or stop shooting for the stars and just apply for things that maybe aren’t going to make us happy,” Street said. “And that’s what we end up getting, because we lower our standards.”

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