Researchers have been puzzled by the fact that males score better on technical tests - but do no better in the workplace.
Researchers at the University of Iowa found that the difference in performance in technical tests wasn't related to intelligence - and it had no impact on job performance.
Young women simply aren't interested in the tests, but can adapt to the same skills if required for a job.
Workplace performance is purely based on intelligence - smart people are better at ANY job, as they're better equipped to learn the requirements.
'The factors that are measured by specific aptitude tests don't make any contribution to job performance,' says Frank Schmidt, professor of management.
Schmidt wanted to know why women and men score differently on technical aptitude in particular.
He found that at all intelligence levels women score lower on technical aptitude than men at the same intelligence level.
People who are more interested in technical things - such as dismantling a bike - are led to acquire technical experience, which in turn increases technical aptitude scores.
Schmidt says there may be no easy solution, 'The research shows it's very hard to change people's interests,'he says. 'They're pretty stable and they form pretty early in life.'
He warns, also that using technical aptitude tests as part of a general intelligence test may cause women to do worse.
He suggests that teachers should ensure that technical tests are not a part of general intelligence tests - as these yield distorted results.
'That is quite possible today. You can either not use technical aptitude tests or you can use them and counterbalance them,' he says, with tests that women tend to do better on, like verbal tests.
Schmidt's paper is published in the current issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, published by the Association for Psychological Science.
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