The Socialization of STEM Professionals Into STEM Careers: A Study of Newly Hired Engineers

Russell Korte, Samantha Brunhaver, Sarah M. Zehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The Problem: Recently there has been a growing interest to increase the number of people entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. One of the major problems with this “supply-side” model is that it sees STEM workforce development narrowly as one of inputs (recruitment) and ignores the practice of STEM work, which affects the retention of professionals in STEM careers. The Solution: Informed by recent research and theory on career development, we studied the work experiences of newly hired engineers in one organization. A key finding is that a major part of their experiences involved organizational work and social dynamics outside of what many considered to be “real” engineering work. We propose that these experiences provide important insights for the education and retention of STEM workers. The Stakeholders: Faculty in higher education that prepare STEM workers, managers in organizations that hire new STEM workers, and aspiring STEM workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-113
Number of pages22
JournalAdvances in Developing Human Resources
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • career development
  • human resource development
  • newcomer experiences
  • organizational socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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