International Career Expectations

Using 2015 PISA survey results, OECD published the brief report What kind of careers in science do 15-year-old boys and girls expect for themselves? (2017). The OECD average expectations show almost parity between boys’ and girls’ expectations of a science career, in which about 25% of respondents from each gender expect a science career. Yet, when these expectations are further disaggregated by professional occupations in different science sub-fields, a clear gender difference can be discerned. On average among OECD countries, more than half the girls interested in a science career, 17.4%, expect a health professional career while 5.9% of boys expect to do so. On the contrary, almost half the boys interested in a science career,12.2%, expect a career as science and engineering professionals whereas 5.3% of the girls have the same occupational expectations.  Another way to describe this is that on average among OECD countries, boys are 2.4 times more likely than girls to expect careers as scientists and engineers. In the United States, this likelihood is higher than the OECD average, with boys being 3.3 more likely than girls to have these expectations.

OECD Average Expectations of a Science Career, by Gender, 2015

International Career Expectations
Source: OECD (2017), "What kind of careers in science do 15-year-old boys and girls expect for themselves?", PISA in Focus, No. 69, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/76e7442c-en.

Students expecting to work as science and engineering professionals for Selected Countries, by Gender, 2015

International Career Expectations
Source: OECD (2017), "What kind of careers in science do 15-year-old boys and girls expect for themselves?", PISA in Focus, No. 69, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/76e7442c-en. Note: B-S-J-G (China) refers to the four PISA-participating municipalities/provinces in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Guangdong; CABA refers to Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina; FYROM refers to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Additional Resources

  • OECD (2017), "What kind of careers in science do 15-year-old boys and girls expect for themselves?", PISA in Focus, No. 69, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/76e7442c-en