Personality Characteristics of Established IT Professionals II: Occupational Personality Charateristics
Ronald A. Ash (University of Kansas, USA), Joshua L. Rosenbloom (University of Kansas & National Bureau of Economic Research, USA), LeAnne Coder (University of Kansas, USA) and Brandon Dupont (Wellesley College, USA)
Copyright: © 2006
Women are underrepresented in the information technology (IT) workforce relative to the overall labor force, comprising about 35% of the IT workforce and 45% of the overall labor force (Information Technology Association of America, 2003). A basic question to be addressed is whether this underrepresentation is a function of barriers to employment of women in this career field or a function of career-related choices that a majority of women make during their lives. The research reported here is part of a series of studies attempting to better understand the reasons underlying this underrepresentation of women in this reasonably lucrative profession. Through a grant provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF 29560) and in partnership with Consulting Psychologists Press, we have been able to design and conduct an extensive survey of professional workers, IT professionals and a comparable set of non-IT professionals. The non-IT professionals included individuals who are similar to the IT sample in terms of education level (but not specific degree fields) and who work in jobs with comparable human attribute demands, including written comprehension, oral comprehension, oral expression, written expression and deductive reasoning. The survey items include measures of occupational personality constructs (RIASEC) and Personal Style Scales (PSS). The purpose of this article is to document similarities and differences between established IT and non-IT professionals and between males and females on these variables, thereby establishing a benchmark for comparisons with future samples of IT professionals. Why is this worth doing? Because in the last decade of the 20th century, a critical mass of knowledge related to personality in work organizations developed. Personality contributes to all that happens during a person’s career, and informs our understanding of things like work motivation, job attitudes, citizenship behavior, leadership, teamwork, well-being, and organizational culture. Increasingly we have realized that personality plays an important role in determining who is hired and fired (cf. Schneider & Smith, 2004), as well as who voluntarily stays in and leaves organizations (cf. Harmon, Hansen, Borgen, & Hammer, 1994; Holland, 1997).