Abstract A three-dimensional finite element model is developed, validated and used in the parametric study to investigate the influence of shear stud’s position and profiled sheeting thickness on the strength, ductility and failure modes of the headed shear stud welded to the modern profiled sheeting. A total of 240 push tests were analysed with different sheeting thicknesses, positions of the shear stud in the trough, concrete strengths and transverse spacings. The results showed that the sheeting thickness influenced the shear connector resistance of studs placed in the unfavourable position more than studs placed in favourable and central positions. The strength of the shear connector placed in the unfavourable position increased by as much as 30% when the sheeting thickness was increased. The shear connector resistance of the unfavourable stud was found to be primarily a function of the strength and the thickness of the profiled sheeting rather than the concrete strength. The strength prediction equations for unfavourable and central studs were also proposed. The results suggested that the strength of the shear connector increased as the distance of the shear stud increased from the mid-height of the deck rib in the load bearing direction of the stud. The load–slip behaviour of the studs in the unfavourable position was more ductile than the studs in the favourable position, with slip of 2–4 times higher. It was found that the increase in sheeting thickness and transverse spacing improved the ductility of the stud in unfavourable position, but had no effect on the stud in the favourable position. The failure modes suggested that the favourable and central studs failed by concrete cone failure and unfavourable studs failed by rib punching together with crushing of the narrow strip of the concrete in front of the stud.