McCloy and his co-authors took a deeper look at the results of a career fit assessment intervention conducted in the state of Georgia. Sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education and the Technical College System of Georgia, more than 200,000 middle and high school students completed aptitude and interest assessments through the Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) program.
Across the high school student population participating in the intervention, only 12 percent of students indicated high interest for at least one of seven key manufacturing engineering careers, yet 27 percent of students demonstrated high aptitude, the authors found. For females, 4.9 times more students had a high aptitude for manufacturing and engineering than had a self-reported interest. For careers with a predominant skew toward women, data show 1.5 times more males had a high aptitude for health care–patient care careers, for example, than had a self-reported interest.
“By exposing students to careers and encouraging them to think more deliberately about their education choices earlier, while simultaneously arming our faculty with meaningful insights about students’ individual strengths and abilities, we can lay the foundation for a better-prepared workforce and a stronger future economy,” said Barbara Wall, Ph.D., director of Georgia State Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education.
The paper’s co-authors note that effective career guidance will require students, parents, and educators to develop and manage a composite view of a student’s interests and aptitudes, together with job demand information available to them.
“Consideration of both a person’s aptitudes (what they can do) and interest (what they like to do) provides a more complete picture of the career paths that person might fruitfully explore,” they wrote. “Integrative career assessment is critical to narrowing the gender gap in high-demand careers and improving equal gender representation and wages in the workforce.”
The type of holistic approach to career exploration and fit shared by McCloy and his co-authors can be applied in any organization or industry sector. HumRRO’s expertise in considering both aptitudes and interests to generate a full picture of an individual’s potential vocational paths makes us an ideal partner in providing career exploration options that help candidates and employees find the best career fit—and potentially reduce the gender gap in the process.