2014 Members' Survey Results
Summary of findings of the 2014 Member Survey.
20, Mar, 2015
1.0 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
In 2014, the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) contracted Banister Research & Consulting Inc. to conduct the 2014 Members’ Web Survey. More than 1,500 ASET Members completed the online survey (n=1,508). Key findings from the 2014 ASET Members’ Web Survey included the following:
General Sources of Information
When asked where they find relevant information relating to their industry or field; more than half of the respondents (52%) look online, in general, followed by 17% who refer to others in the industry.
- Respondents were asked what they considered to be the top qualifications needed to work in their position or field; 51% mentioned skills, knowledge, or experience, in general, followed by 39% who reported that a post-secondary education is necessary.
- When asked what it means to be a technician or a technologist, nearly one-third of the respondents (30%) mentioned having the skills, experience, or knowledge in a given field.
- Respondents were asked to list up to three (3) words or phrases they would use to differentiate ASET professionals from non-members; one-third of the respondents (33%) mentioned “professional,” followed by one-fifth (20%) who said “certified” and 16% who said “ethics.”
Perceived Value and Benefits
- Respondents were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with the value they receive from their ASET membership. More than half of the respondents (58%) were satisfied, providing ratings of 4 (38%) or 5 (20%) out of 5.
- Twenty-six percent (26%) were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied (3 out of 5);
- Fourteen percent (14%) were dissatisfied, or provided ratings of 1 (4%) or 2 (11%)1; and
- The mean satisfaction rating was 3.61 out of 5.
- Respondents were asked why they provided the ratings that they did:
- Fifteen percent (15%) of those who were satisfied (ratings of 4 or 5; n=871) explained that their membership with ASET is recognized and supported, while 12% explained that their membership assists in terms career opportunities and job advancement;
- Respondents who were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied (3 out of 5), or who were unsure (n=423), most often explained that they felt there is little value to their membership or that they do not receive benefits (17%), and that their employer does not recognize their membership (17%); and
- Those who were dissatisfied with the value they receive for their membership (ratings of 1 or 2; n=214) most often explained that they feel their membership lacks value, worth, and/or benefits (42%).
- When asked why they first joined ASET, nearly one-quarter of the respondents each reported that they joined to obtain their certification or professional designation (23%), and for recognition or acknowledgement, in general (22%).
- In terms of the top reasons why respondents maintain their memberships with ASET, more than one-third (35%) reported maintaining their membership for the professional designation and/or status that accompanies it, followed by 24% who enjoy industry recognition.
- In terms of what provides ASET members with the most value, more than half of the respondents (51%) mentioned the certification or professional designation status.
- Respondents were provided with seven (7) statements concerning their employer, workplace, and scope of practice, and were asked to what degree they agreed with each statement. More than two-thirds of the respondents agreed with each of the following:
- “My employer has a solid understanding of my role and the tasks that I complete in my day-to-day work” (n=1,442)2 – 81% of respondents agreed (ratings of 4 or 5 out of 5);
- “The engineers I work with respect my skills and knowledge” (n=1,370) – 79%;
- “My employer encourages me to keep my skills up-to-date through ongoing upgrading and additional training” (n=1,429) – 72%; and
- “My employer maximizes the use of my skills and capabilities” (n=1,443) – 72%.
- Conversely, fewer than two-thirds of the respondents agreed with the following statements:
- “My employer encourages me to maintain my membership with ASET” (n=1,399) – 64% of respondents agreed (ratings of 4 or 5);
- “Many of my workplace colleagues maintain a membership with ASET” (n=1,385) – 53%; and
- “I am aware of others working in my field who should be members of ASET, but are not currently members” (n=1,262) – 43%.
- Those who indicated that they were aware of others in their field who are not currently ASET members (n=836) were asked what they thought was preventing individuals from pursuing ASET membership and/or certification; just under one-fifth of the respondents each mentioned that others are uninformed or lack awareness of ASET (19%), and that the registration process is too difficult or that others do not qualify (18%).
- Those who indicated that they were aware of others in their field who are not currently ASET members (n=836) were also asked what they felt could be done to overcome these barriers; one-fifth of the respondents (20%) reported that increasing awareness of ASET and its membership benefits would help to increase participation.
- When asked what it would take for them to introduce a colleague to ASET, 22% of all respondents mentioned that they had already introduced a co-worker or friend to ASET.
- In terms of the issues facing respondents in their workplace or industry, that ASET might be able to assist with, 9% of the respondents suggested that ASET could help address the lack of awareness of its program, followed by 8% who suggested that ASET could help address an overall lack of training or professional development related to the industry.
- When asked what issues or messages ASET could address or communicate to help educate employers, regarding the benefits of hiring ASET members, 9% of the respondents reiterated the need to increase awareness, followed by 6% who mentioned a need for more education on the benefits of hiring ASET members.
- Respondents were provided with seven (7) statements concerning certification practices, and were asked to what degree they agreed with each statement. Approximately two-thirds of the respondents or more agreed with each of the following:
- “It is appropriate that P. Techs be required to pass the National Professional Practice Exam in order to achieve their certification” – 75% of respondents agreed (ratings of 4 or 5 out of 5);
- “It is appropriate for members to be assessed using a competency-based approach” – 74%;
- “I support a formal exam process used in order to achieve certification” – 68%; and
- “Applicants should be required to hold the Technician/Technologist in Training (TT) designation for 2 years prior to being considered a C. Tech or a CET certification” – 66%.
- Conversely, fewer than two-thirds of the respondents agreed with the following statements:
- “It would be appropriate to require C. Tech/CET applicants to pass a National Professional practice Exam to achieve their certification” – 55% of respondents agreed (ratings of 4 or 5);
- “It is appropriate for P. Techs to be required to submit practice reviews in order to maintain their certification” – 47%; and
- “It would be appropriate for C. Techs/CETs. to be required to submit practice reviews in order to maintain their certification” – 31%.
- Those who disagreed with the statement “It would be appropriate for C. Techs/CETs to be required to submit practice reviews in order to maintain their certification” (ratings of 1 or 2 out of 5; n=523) most often explained that C. Techs or CETs already receive the necessary training (19%), or that this practice would be too inconvenient (16%).
Continuing Professional Development
- Respondents were provided with six (6) statements concerning Continuing Professional Development, and were asked to what degree they agreed with each statement. More than two-thirds of the respondents agreed with each of the following:
- “Continuing professional development is important for me to advance my career” (n=1,445) – 79% of respondents agreed (ratings of 4 or 5 out of 5);
- “I am aware that ASET provides continuing professional development opportunities” (n=1,465) – 77%; and
- “I have access to a number of training opportunities and resources, in general” (n=1,453) – 68%.
- Conversely, fewer than two-thirds of the respondents agreed with the following statements:
- “I have access to a number of training opportunities in terms of soft skills” (n=1,438) – 65% of respondents agreed (ratings of 4 or 5);
- “There is sufficiently enough rigor in the Continuing Professional Development program to ensure members are qualified” (n=1,404) – 64%; and
- “I am concerned about keeping my skills and knowledge up-to-date and current” (n=1,446) – 57%.
- When asked if they had any other comments or suggestions regarding Continuing Professional Development, related to their ASET membership or certification, 6% of all respondents mentioned that they would like to see more courses, or a wider variety of courses, in general, followed by 4% who indicated they enjoy the Continuing Professional Development program as a benefit of ASET membership.
- Respondents were provided with twelve (12) potential courses that ASET is considering including in its Educational Program Offerings, and were asked to rate their likelihood of enrolling in each course. Fewer than half of the respondents reported a high likelihood of taking any one single course; however, at least 4 out of 10 respondents indicated a high likelihood of enrolling in the following:
- Situational Leadership – 48% would be likely to enroll in this course (ratings of 4 or 5 out of 5);
- Managing Change – 47%;
- How to Influence Others – 46%;
- Strategic Business Planning – 45%;
- Team Building – 42%; and
- Presentation Skills – 40%.
- When asked if there were any other Educational Offerings they would like to see ASET offer its members, 4% of the respondents suggested courses on project or business management, followed by 3% who cited industry- or profession-specific courses. Nearly three-quarters of the respondents (73%) did not have any suggestions for additional courses.
- Respondents were asked to rate the importance of their ASET certification. More than three-quarters of the respondents (77%) felt it was important, providing ratings of 4 (32%) or 5 (45%) out of 5.
- Thirteen percent (13%) felt it was neither important nor unimportant (3 out of 5);
- Eight percent (8%) felt it was unimportant, or provided ratings of 1 (3%) or 2 (5%); and
- The mean importance rating was 4.14 out of 5.
- Those who indicated that their ASET membership is not important (ratings of 1 to 3 out of 5), were asked what still motivates them to retain their ASET membership; 17% of the respondents explained that their employer pays for their membership fees or that they do not pay their fees themselves, followed by 15% who appreciate having a designation or professional recognition.
- Respondents were provided with a list of ten (10) discounts provided by ASET’s affinity partners, available to ASET members, and were asked to rate how important they considered each benefit. Half of the respondents or less rated each benefit as important, with at least 4 out of 10 respondents indicating that the following benefits are important:
- Home/auto insurance – 50% felt this is important (ratings of 4 or 5 out of 5);
- Professional liability insurance – 41%; and
- Discounts at Mark’s Work Wearhouse – 41%.
- Conversely, one-fifth of the respondents or less indicated that the following are important:
- Bell Mobility – 20% felt this is important (ratings of 4 or 5); and
- Minuteman Press Services – 10%.
- Just under one-fifth of the respondents surveyed (19%, or n=279) reported that there are other discounts or benefits they would like to offered as part of their ASET membership. Suggestions included travel discounts or benefits (23%), and more retail or wholesale discounts (17%).
Communications and Promotions
- In terms of the frequency with which members are in contact with ASET (excluding website or literature access), 30% of the respondents reported that they are in contact with ASET approximately once per year, while 18% are in contact with ASET approximately 3 to 4 times a year. Nearly one-quarter (24%) are not in contact with ASET at all.
- When asked if they normally read, look at, or access any of the cited sources of information, three-quarters of the respondents (75%) reported reading Technology Alberta, while approximately two-thirds (66%) access the ASET website (www.aset.ab.ca). Just over half (54%) read the TECHLink E-Newsletter.
- More than half of the respondents (55%) prefer to read Technology Alberta in print or hard copy format, while 43% prefer to read it electronically.
- More than two-thirds of the respondents (68%) indicated that ASET’s communication tools provide adequate information, while 13% reported that they provide more than adequate information. Only 7% of the respondents felt that the information provided was less than adequate.
- Eleven percent (11%) were unsure, or did not provide a response.
- In term of any additional content respondents would like to see in Technology Alberta, 3% of all respondents suggested a wider variety of topics or features for different industries, while another 3% suggested reporting on advancements in tools and technology.
- Respondents were then provided with a list of six (6) forms of communication and were asked to indicate their preferred methods of communication. More than 4 out of 10 respondents indicated a preference for the following:
- Notices in the E-Newsletter – 54% of respondents indicated a preference (ratings of 4 or 5 out of 5);
- Notices in Technology Alberta – 47%; and
- Posts on the ASET website – 43%.
- Conversely, one-third of the respondents or less preferred the following:
- Direct mail – 33% provided ratings of 4 or 5;
- Social media – 24%; and
- ASET Chapter information sessions – 20%.
- Social media opportunities most commonly used by respondents included LinkedIn (61% of respondents use this); Facebook (54%); YouTube (47%); and Wikipedia (38%).
- Eleven percent (11%) of the respondents indicated that they do not use social media, or did not provide a response.
- One-quarter of the respondents (25%) reported having attended a Chapter meeting in their area, while the majority (74%) have not; 1% were unsure or did not provide a response.
- When asked what activities, events, or presentations they would like to see offered through their local Chapter, 4% of the respondents mentioned tours, while 3% cited networking or social events (e.g., bowling; meet-and-greets).
- When asked if there are any goals, services, or activities they feel ASET should undertake in the next 5 years, 2% of all respondents mentioned improving services, in general (e.g., communication, benefits), as well as ensuring more recognition for its members (2%), and providing continued training and development opportunities (2%).
- When asked if there are any other roles or activities they feel ASET is not fulfilling, that it should undertake in the next 5 years, 2% of the respondents suggested more professional development or educational opportunities, in general.
- In terms of any major challenges facing respondents in their profession that would require action or response from ASET, 85% of the respondents indicated that there are no major challenges or did not have any specific suggestions.
- When asked what they considered the most valuable changes or improvements that would better meet their needs, as a member, 7% of all respondents mentioned student support, training, courses, or workshops, followed by 4% who referenced the need for employers to recognize the value of ASET membership.
2.0 PROJECT BACKGROUND
In 2014, the Association of Science and Engineering Technology (ASET) contracted Banister Research to conduct the 2014 Members’ Web Survey. A total of 1,508 ASET Members completed the online survey, available from September 23rd to October 10th, 2014. Survey objectives included the following:
- Workplace and current scope of practice (including field qualifications)
- Perceived value and benefits of a membership with ASET;
- Potential barriers to ASET registration;
- ASET certification practices;
- Professional development and the ASET Educational Program;
- Services available to ASET Members;
- ASET communications and promotions, including participation with Local Chapters; and
- 5-year strategy and suggestions for improvement.
All components of the project were designed and executed in close consultation with the Association of Science and Engineering Technology (the Client). A detailed description of each task of the project is outlined in the remainder of this section.
3.1 Project Initiation and Questionnaire Design
At the outset of the project, all background information relevant to the study was identified and subsequently reviewed by Banister Research. The consulting team familiarized itself with the objectives of the Client, ensuring a full understanding of the issues and concerns to be addressed in the project. The result of this task was an agreement on the research methodology, a detailed work plan. and project initiation.
Banister Research worked closely with the Client in designing the survey instrument. All draft versions were submitted the Client for review and approval.
3.2 Survey Population and Data Collection
The web-based survey was available online from September 23rd to October 10th, 2014. A total of 1,508 surveys were completed by ASET Members during this time; results provide a margin of error no greater than ±2.4% at the 95% confidence level, or 19 times out of 20.3 The overall response rate was 8.6%.
The Client was responsible for communicating the survey opportunity. All ASET Members were sent an e-mail invitation to complete the survey, which included the URL. The survey was hosted on Banister Research’s web server to ensure the confidentiality of responses. A test link was provided to the Client for review and approval prior to the launch of the survey.
3.3 Data Analysis and Project Documentation
While data was being collected, Banister Research provided either a written or verbal progress report to the Client. After the questionnaires were completed and verified, all survey data was compiled into a computerized database for analysis.
Data analysis included cross-tabulation, whereby the frequency and percentage distribution of the results for each question were broken down based on respondent characteristics and responses (e.g. length of membership, demographics, etc.). Statistical analysis included a Z-test to determine if there were significant differences in responses between respondent subgroups. Results were reported as statistically significant at the 95% confidence level.
A list of responses to each open-ended question was generated by Banister Research. The lead consultant reviewed the list of different responses to each open-ended or verbatim question, after which a code list was established. To ensure consistency of interpretation, the same team of coders was assigned to this project from start to finish. The coding supervisor verified at least 10% of each coder’s work. Once the questionnaires were fully coded, computer programs were written to check the data for quality and consistency. All survey data was compiled into a computerized database for analysis. Utilizing SPSS analysis software, the survey data was reviewed to guarantee quality and consistency (e.g., proper range values and skip patterns).
1 Any discrepancies between reported percentages are due to rounding of the numbers (e.g., 3.7% of those who provided a rating of “1” + 10.5% who provided a rating of “2” = 14.2%).
Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta
Base: Excluding “don’t know” responses.
3 Based on a total of 17,590 Members when the survey was conducted.