Previous studies of the engineering workplace often emphasize understanding why and how women consider leaving a job and in some cases, exit a particular engineering workplace or engineering altogether. A 'chilly' climate has often been implicated as a primary or contributing reason for these exit decisions and has been classified in the literature under such descriptors as a hostile or macho work culture, mysterious pathways to career advancement, and extreme work pressures. This study expands on these previous studies by (a) emphasizing the engineering workplace experiences of millennials in order to understand whether these chilly climate conditions have evolved over time or are tending to persist into the next generation; and (b) studying men as well as women to gain deeper insight into which negative working conditions tend to occur across gender and which may be gender specific. We include results of interviews with 45 individuals who graduated with an engineering or computer science bachelor’s degree between the years 1998 and 2015 from five different institutions including those that are research and teaching focused, big, mid-sized, and small, and geographically disparate (from the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast, and Northwest areas of the United States). All of those interviewed for this study can be considered millennials (graduating around the year 2000 or later) and 64% of those interviewed are women. Interviews were coded using existing classifications of chilly workplace conditions and expanded to include new codes that incorporated responses that did not fit into these existing classifications. Qualitative analysis of these results showed that of the five existing classifications of chilly climate, hostile culture was predominantly expressed by women. However, extreme work pressure, mysterious career pathways, and isolation were reported by both men and women; diving catch situations (where risk averse individuals are penalized in the promotion and advancement structure) emerged only once, and seven new classifications of negative workplace conditions emerged: boring, inconsistent (work conditions), poor job security, misaligned interests, oppressive physical environment, poor management, and conflicting work/life desires.
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