Deepening shortages of highly qualified scientists, managers, and technical professionals seriously threaten American agriculture. The purpose of this study is to investigate the degree to which gender differences exist in former agricultural students' acquiring employment in the agricultural industry after leaving college. Data were obtained using a 30 percent random sample (n=1,730) of students enrolled in 1977 at two major land-grant universities in the Southwest. A mail survey conducted in late 1986 resulted in 707 respondents. Male out-numbered female respondents 3 to 1, which was approximately the same enrollment ratio in 1977. Findings of the survey indicate that 9 out of every 10 respondents received a bachelor's degree with some type of agricultural major. Twenty-three percent had attained graduate-level education and about 10 percent are currently in graduate and professional degree programs; almost half were or are involved with agricultural disciplines. Few respondents used university placement, administration, and faculty as sources for obtaining employment after graduation. Job changes subsequent to first employment after college were toward nonagricultural jobs. In the transition from education to employment attainment, women were disproportionately under-represented in agricultural-related jobs. Moreover, their employment outcomes conformed to traditional gender-defined career patterns.

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