A study of factors influencing female nontraditional career choice in Newfoundland and Labrador

Aylward, Catherine Ann (1991) A study of factors influencing female nontraditional career choice in Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The purpose of this study was to examine, at three developmental levels, some of the factors which may have influenced the nontraditional career choices of women employed in many sectors of the workforce in Newfoundland and Labrador. The intention was to determine to what degree and at what level of development these factors were present or absent in the seven nontraditional occupational categories surveyed. The knowledge thus gained could be used to increase the number of young women who may consider choosing a nontraditional career. -- This survey was carried out by means of a questionnaire which examined the internal factors of self-efficacy, interests, and work values. It also examined the external factors of family background, educational background, significant others, and previous work experiences. These factors were examined retrospectively at the three developmental stages of childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. The questionnaire was mailed to 764 females working in nontraditional occupations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador: A return rate of 36.5% was realized. -- The sample consisted of 279 females representing seven occupational categories. These were: the professionals, the science/engineers, the forces, the technologists, the tradeswomen, the semi-skilled workers and those working in primary resources. -- The basic analysis procedure was to compare the seven occupational groupings on their responses to the various questions. Comparisons were made developmentally within each group and between groups at each developmental level. -- The findings of this study indicated, that although there were differences between the groups some factors appeared to be common to most nontraditional career choices. These common factors were: a high level of belief in one's own abilities, a high level of aspiration, a background of nontraditional interests and work experience, a high level of proficiency in math and science where required, and most importantly a solid foundation of support either from the family or from significant others. -- Certain factors had greater significance for some groups than for others. The professional and science/engineering groups reported very high levels of academic self-efficacy and educational achievement. However, they differed greatly in that the science/engineers also reported a great many other nontraditional factors in their backgrounds. The forces reported the largest number of traditional factors and they were the only group which expressed any great interest in public speaking. -- The technologists and trades groups both reported high levels of interest in fixing things and working with things. Their masculine relatives provided a high rate of role models for the technologists whereas the trades group relied on their instructors, counsellors and women's groups for support and guidance. -- The semi-skilled and resource groups reported high levels of support and encouragement from their husbands and boyfriends. Both also expressed a high level of interest in outdoor activities and working with their hands. The semi-skilled reported a fairly high level of risk taking whereas the resource group had the highest level of commitment of all the groups. This group also depended on their neighbour for support of their nontraditional careers. -- Recommendations for programming included a program in career guidance for junior high schools, parental involvement programs, and programs whereby the schools could provide equality of opportunity for all students. Recommendations for research included studies to investigate: the means of improving female self-efficacy; background factors related to nontraditional interests; support systems at lower socio-economic groups; evaluation of present guidance services and; the potential of women's support groups.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10111
Item ID: 10111
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 237-247.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1991
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Student aspirations--Newfoundland and Labrador; Women--Vocational guidance--Newfoundland and Labrador; Vocational interests--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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