Reflecting on the results of our latest Members Survey
The latest results of our biennial member survey are here. Find out what we learned, and what steps we’re taking to improve your membership experience and support the chemical sciences community.
Our membership community help shape who we are and what we do to support the chemical sciences. To ensure we continue to support you and the chemical sciences, we commission the Member Survey every two years to give you the opportunity to share your experiences and feedback on all aspects of being a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. We use the Member Survey to improve your experience with us by listening and responding to your honest feedback.
In 2022, we partnered with market research agency, Research by Design, to see how your perceptions and opinions compare with those of members of other learned societies and understand where we can implement changes to improve your experience as a member of the RSC.
We would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who took the time to complete this year’s survey and provide us with useful insight. This will help form the basis for decisions taken around future development and professional support for you at every stage of your career.
- Of those surveyed, 89% were proud to be a member of the RSC. This compared to the normative 41% in the professional bodies field.
- 74% of members felt a sense of belonging to the RSC compared to the normative 23% seen for the field.
- Members also highly rated the membership benefits and services as excellent or good at an overwhelming rate of 88%.
- We saw a shift in what our members valued at different stages of their career. For instance, early career members valued enhancing their knowledge, networking, and career and professional development support, whilst mid-senior career members valued professional recognition, maintaining their expertise, and giving back to their profession in various ways.
Upholding professional standards and strengthening the voice of the chemical sciences
We know there is an importance placed on professional standards and recognition as seen in the survey. An impressive 88% of members felt the RSC upholds ethical and professional standards in the chemical sciences, and 87% felt the RSC strengthens the voice of the chemical sciences community.
Head of Professional Standards, Toby Underwood CSci CChem MRSC, highlighted that “continued support in that area in particular helps career development and progression. The blend of knowledge, skills and values is what makes someone professional. It is also important to acknowledge how our members value the association of being linked to a body who holds its Code of Conduct highly and ensures the knowledge, skills and values that makes a chemical scientist professional and competent.”
Your feedback regarding this topic helps us enhance our membership offerings and ensure you get the professional recognition and support you require.
Toby alluded to upcoming plans in this area and stated, “We continue to strive to enhance this offering to our members and are currently working on areas such as tools that can help discoverability of all the professional development support we provide, but also allowing members to reflect on the impact and plan next steps. This sits alongside the way we recognise those achievements through formal processes such Chartered Chemist, Registered Science Technician and other designations available.”
Career and professional development
Planning your next steps for the future is very important, and we want to be able to support you every step of the way. A substantial 76% of members felt the RSC met their expectations when supporting their career. This shows good progress but also some opportunity for us to build the support available to you.
As part of the survey, many of you voiced your opinions on what you have struggled with during your careers. These contributions have helped us to plan additional tools and activities including:
The Careers Toolkit. You get a range of interactive tools designed to help you plan your career with confidence. From assessing your personal career preferences and building/reviewing your CV to interview preparation and aptitude testing, there is something for everyone.
The ChemCareers programme. Year on year, we expand our topics to make sure we’re covering career advice from various chemical sectors you would like to hear more about and providing webinars on topics that you find challenging, such as how to network effectively. We’ve got exciting webinars planned for 2023, including sessions on managing your workload and managing your work-life balance.
The Pathfinder tool. We’re excited to launch this in the late autumn to help you efficiently grow your skillset and professionally develop. The tool will help you choose what skills you would like to focus on, find opportunities to build on them and reflect on your progress.
Volunteering and outreach
With 66% of members feeling they are part of the RSC, it is clear that your connections with one another – either online or in person – is a valuable feature of your membership. Whether within your region or through your interests, you value the opportunities that you have to collaborate, share ideas, network and more.
We did note, however, that a third of you indicated a desire to volunteer but currently felt unable to. Widening access to the many ways that you can participate in RSC activities and volunteer your time, knowledge and experience will be a focus of the coming months.
Our volunteers are a cornerstone of our impact and we value your contributions greatly. Our volunteering opportunities can fit around your availability, giving you the option to take part in all sorts of activities. Find out more and look for volunteering opportunities.
Chemists’ Community Fund
The Chemists’ Community Fund provides members of the RSC, their partners and dependants with confidential support around their well-being, finances, legal advice and careers, but many of our members are unsure of what support is available to them. The impact of the pandemic coupled with rising cost of living has affected many of our members, and we may be able to help.
- Financial assistance is available to help with rising living costs or unexpected expenses.
- We host regular workshops and webinars on financial planning, debt and managing the cost of living.
- We offer confidential, comprehensive support ranging from our Wellbeing and listening service, financial support, volunteer befriending support, and referrals for careers guidance.
- Recently, we launched our confidential addiction and dependencies support service for RSC members and their families.
Our team can guide you through how to access our support services, eligibility and how to apply for financial support. Contact the Chemists' Community Fund.
Inclusion and diversity
The Member Survey forms a large part of our diversity data reporting, and to help improve the depth of our research and ensure our data collection aligns with current best practice, we piloted new diversity data monitoring questions this year. We will be analysing this in the coming weeks and communicating the results through our Diversity Data report.
Challenges, opportunities & future plans
Our surveyed members highlighted several areas for us to address for specific audiences. In the coming year, we will be using your responses to begin a broader review of these areas and work towards increasing support and communications for the concerns you have raised.
A minority of members felt excluded from getting involved in RSC activities in the last two years for reasons including location, cost and time constraints. We will be enhancing our in-person and online activities to ensure these are easily accessible to our members and can fit around your schedules. We will also be promoting grants to help with costs and caring responsibilities for activities.
Many of the surveyed members felt the biggest challenge in their role was achieving a good work-life balance and effectively managing their workload. Several of our teams will be reviewing this area of concern to further develop career and professional development services for 2023 to help our members with stress management.
In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to explore the responses that you provided to identify trends in membership groups and use this data to plan future projects, products and services that will help you on a daily basis and more broadly across your professional and personal life.
Every response to the survey is valuable to us, and we greatly appreciate you taking the time to provide your feedback.
- +44 (0) 20 7440 3351
- Send us an email