Information Systems and Applied Computer Sciences

IS and ACS Commissioner for Women's Affairs

“Career coaching in Math, Computer Sciences, Natural Sciences and Engineering” research project

Project description and project objectives

Funding period: 1 July 2015 till 30 June 2017

Based on data gained from a survey amongst former students of computer science from the department for Business Informatics and Applied Computer Science from the academic year 2013/2014, gender specific differences regarding the employability of male and female computer scientists are to be revealed by way of a quantitative secondary analysis. Up for examination is the professional career suitability of the male and female graduates who manifest comparable properties regarding age, study programme, final degrees, parental leave and caregiving times, and the position of the graduates before they retired from their job.

Furthermore, during the entire duration of the project, a qualitative analysis by way of exploratory guided interviews is planned. Men and women are to be interviewed with regard to their workplace experience in terms of career development measures, their respective positions before and after their reintegration into the workforce, workplace layout and organization of working hours and child care within and outside of the family.
As a first step of the analysis, a comparative study of the interviews is to take place in order to ascertain whether patterns show up in the professional careers, regardless of gender.
Another goal of the analysis is to reveal whether similar biographies will result in similar professional careers.

Based on the results of the quantitative and qualitative analysis, a coaching program is to be developed which will support especially women after their reintegration into the workforce or in time of professional reorientation. This measure aims to strengthen people’s motivational resources enabling them to make better use of their career opportunities. In particular, barriers to motivation with regard to executive positions are to be taken into account. 
A fundamental aspect of the coaching program will be a tool-based and scientifically sound analysis of potential. By these means, the person to be coached is to become aware of their respective capabilities and talents.

Moreover, means for building networks are to be taught.
By means of contacts between professionals, reference groups form which can provide mutual support. Male and female participants will learn communication strategies which show how to pass on company messages in an appropriate way. 

On the basis of a differential diagnosis, and along the patterns of a consultation, an individualized career plan is to be developed as a final step stone of the coaching program. This career plan will take people’s key personal life objectives into account.

Based on a personal work-life balance, male and female computer scientists will receive guidance and support in their career planning. Precise objectives and a strategy for implementation will be defined. Recommendations for the conceptualization and implementation of corresponding coaching programs for other areas of Math, Computer Sciences, Natural Sciences and Engineering will be developed accordingly.

The project is funded by the Adecco Foundation and the Technology Alliance of Upper Franconia (Technologie Allianz Oberfranken TAO)