Weekend Poll Results: The Significance of Professional Networks and Associations in 2018

Last weekend, I published the third annual Exceptional EA poll focusing on readers’ membership in professional associations and networks. My question:

Do you belong to a professional association or network?

Over the course of the weekend, you identified five dozen associations and networks that play a role in your professional (and social) lives. Some of these are city- or region-specific, while other networks and associations are national or international in nature.

87% of you reported having such affiliations. 36% of you joined your network or association within the past five years. 18% of you tapped into such peer groups for the first time within the last two years. At the other end of the spectrum, a full 25% of respondents have maintained such affiliations for more than 15 years.

Read on to see what your peers have to say.

THE DATA

Note: Information below reflects the percentage of respondents who selected specific responses from multiple choice options.  In instances where more than one person offers similar responses to an open ended question, I typically cluster or paraphrase such responses rather than duplicating all of them.

Do you belong to any professional associations/networks?

  •  87% do belong to professional associations/networks (compared to 95% in 2017 and 89% in 2016) Note: this includes a reader who selected “Other” but then identified the association to which they belong
  • 13% of respondents don’t belong to professional associations/networks (compared to 5% in 2017 and 11% in 2016)

 

What about that 13%? I asked readers who aren’t involved in such peer groups whether it was a reflection of budget or time.

  • 60%: Budget/cost (compared to 33.3% in 2017, the first year I posed this question)
  • 10%: Time (compared to 33.3 in 2017)
  • 30% selected “Other”.  One person commented that both time and budget were factors, along with a need for knowledge on which association would be most appropriate. Others reported that they’re just starting out, or had no specific reason.

 

In how many professional associations/networks are you a member? 

  • 13%: no associations or networks  (compared to 8% in 2017 and  3% in 2016)
  • 18%: one association/network  (compared to 24% in 2017 and 21% in 2016)
  • 30%: two associations/networks (compared to 40% in 2017 and 33% in 2016)
  • 24%: three associations/networks (compared to 20% in 2017 and  23% in 2016)
  • 9%: four associations/networks  (compared to 0% in 2017 and  10% in 2016)
  • 4%: five associations/networks  (compared to 8% in 2017 and 10% in 2016)
  • 2%: six associations/networks  (compared to 8% in 2017 and 10% in 2016)

 

What percentage of membership in your networks/associations do you estimate is male?

  • 7% of you reported that there are no male members in our networks/associations  (compared to 13% in 2017, the first year I posed this question)
  • 62% of you estimated the male membership to be between 1 – 5% of total membership   (compared to 68% in 2017
  • 16% of you estimated the male membership to be between 6 – 10% of total membership  (compared to 10% in 2017
  • 2% of you estimated the male membership to be between 11 – 20% of total membership  (compared to 3% in 2017)
  • 4% of you estimated the male membership to be between 21 – 30% of total membership  (this is the first year I identified this range of percentages)
  • 2% of you estimated the male membership to be between 31 – 50% of total membership  (this is the first year I identified this range of percentages)
  • 2% of you estimated the male membership to represent approximately 40% of total membership (this reader selected “Other” and noted this membership percentage within ASAE.
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other” and indicated that they don’t know the percentage(s) of male assistants in their associations.

How long have you been a member of such associations or networks?  

  • less than a year: 7% of respondents (the first year I included this option)
  • 1 – 2 years: 11%  (compared to 17% in 2017 and  18% in 2016)
  • 3 – 5 years: 18% (compared to 22% in 2017 and 33% in 2016)
  • 6 – 8 years: 15%  (compared to 25% in both 2017 and 2016)
  • 9 – 10 years: 11% (compared to 6% in 2017 and  12% in 2016)
  • 11 – 15 years: 13% (compared to 19% in 2017 and  7% in 2016)
  • 16 – 20 years: 9% (compared to 5.5% in 2017 and 2.5% in 2016)
  • 21 – 25 years: 7% (compared to 8% in 2017 and 3% in 2016)
  • 26+ years: 9% (this is the first year I included this category)

 

Has membership in such associations/networks enhanced your career?

  • Yes: 88% of respondents  (compared to 79% in 2017 and  86% in 2016)
  • No: 7% of respondents  (compared to 18% in 2017 and  12% in 2016)
  • 5% of respondents selected, “Other” (compared to 3% in 2017). See below for readers’ comments.
    • Have not seen full benefits yet but I am hopeful
    • Don’t know
    • Belonging to a professional association turned my job in to a career, and one that I am immensely proud of.

IAAP trade show Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

If you had to pick the single most significant factor such associations/networks have on your career, what would it be? 

  • 22%: Development of professional contacts/network (compared to % in 2017; I didn’t ask this question in 2016)
  • 18%: Leadership skill development (this is the first year I included this response as an option)
  • 12%: Attainment of credential(s) or certification(s)   (compared to 13% in 2017 and 10% in 2016)
  • 10%: Awareness of issues and trends (this is the first year I included this response as an option)
  • 10%: Professional pride  (compared to 17% in 2017 and 34% in 2016)
  • 7%: Communications skills (this is the first year I included this response as an option)
  • 5%: Expansion of social circle/friendships   (compared to 9% in 2017 and 22% in 2016)
  • 5%: Soft skills development   (compared to 10% in 2017 and  6% in 2016)
  • 4%: Self confidence   (compared to 18% in 2017 and  20% in 2016)
  • 4%: CV/resume enhancement  (compared to 3% in 2017 and  0% in 2016)
  • 4%: Technical skills development   (compared to 6% in 2017 and 4% in 2016)
  • Note: 1% of respondents selected “Other”.
    • Since that person elaborated by commenting, “networking”, I added that 1% to “Development of professional contacts/network”.
    • Another reader commented, “Taking a leadership position in a professional organization has helped me to develop skills in a ‘safe place’ where leaders help you excel and are less judgmental than in the work place.”

Has membership in such associations enhanced your workplace performance?

  • Yes: 86%   (compared to 17% in 2017, the first year I posed this question)
  • No: 11%   (compared to 22% in 2017)
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “Too early to tell for me but I’ve always given 100%”.

 

Is your employer aware of the positive impact your network/association has upon your performance?

  • 46%: Yes; I’ve communicated this to my employer   (this is the first year I posed this question)
  • 29%: Yes; my employer recognises this independent of my communications on the matter
  • 15%: No
  • 4%: No; I’d not thought to specifically communicate this to my employer  
  •  6% of respondents selected “Other”. See below for their comments.
    • I’m new in my job; however, I have communicated my membership with employer
    • Employers do not know how to track association-based activities
    • They are aware, but don’t care

Has membership in such associations enhanced your social life?

  • Yes: 68%  (compared to 72% in 2017 and 87% in 2016)
  • No: 30%  (compared to 28% in 2017 and 13% in 2016)
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “I hope it will”.

 

Have you held any leadership positions within such associations/networks? 

  • 66%: Yes (compared to 65% in 2017 and 70% in 2016)
  • 31%: No%   (compared to 35% in 2017 and 28% in 2016)
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented that they’re a committee member.

Who funds your membership in external networks/associations? 

  • 43%: personally funded  (compared to 56% in 2017 and 49% in 2016)
  •  (compared to 23% in 2017 and 25% in 2016)
  •  (compared to 13% in 2017 and 20% in 2016)
  • 9%: N/A – no fee or costs involved in this particular association (compared to 8% in 2017 and 5% in 2016)

 

Does your employer sponsor any internal/corporate peer/development association for roles such as yours?

  • 63%: No   (compared to 65% in 2017 and 38.5% in 2016)
  • 33%: Yes   (compared to 32% in 2017 and 59.5% in 2016)
  • 5% of respondents selected, “Other”. One reader commented, “Only just starting to!”, while another offered, “I am looking into this”.

 

Do any of your professional associations offer credentials? 

 

Do any of your networks or professional associations offer awards/peer recognition?

  • 71%: Yes – and this reflects comments of 2% of respondents who selected “Other” and noted CPD, Continuing Professional Development (compared to 69% saying yes in 2017, the first year I posed this question)
  • 27%: No (compared to 28% in 2017)
  • 2% selected “Other”, compared to 3% in 2017. One reader commented that such awards aren’t customary in Germany.

 

Do any of your networks/professional associations offer mentorship programs? 

  • 77%: Yes  (this is the first year I posed this question)
  • 21%: No
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “Not that I’m aware of”.

 

What are these organisations that play such significant parts in your careers?

Here they are! Some are local or regional, while others represent global organisations with chapters or networks in a number of countries or continents.

  1. AAA – Association of Administrative Assistants (Canada)
  2. AAPNZ – Association of Administrative Professionals New Zealand
  3. Aberdeen PA (Scotland)
  4. AEAP – The Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals (USA)
  5. AGB – Association of Governing Boards (USA)
  6. AIOP– Australian Institute of Office Professionals
  7. AMA
  8. APAI – Association of Professional Administrators in Ireland
  9. ASAP – American Society of Administrative Professionals
  10. AUA – Association of University Administrators
  11. Belfast PA Network
  12. BIG
  13. Bristol PA Network
  14. bsb – Bur Bundesverband Sekretariat und Büromanagement e. V. (Germany)
  15. Cardiff PA Network (Wales)
  16. CICan-GPOP – Colleges and Institutes Canada: Governance and President’s Office Professionals
  17. CityCo PA Network (England)
  18. Directions – Australia
  19. EAN (Executive Assistant Network) Australia
  20. EPAA – Executive & Personal Assistants Association (UK)
  21. Executive Secretary Magazine
  22. Exeter PA Network (England)
  23. Global PA Association
  24. GPC – Governance Professionals of Canada
  25. IAAP – International Association of Administrative Professionals (international)
  26. IAM – Institute of Administrative Management (international)
  27. ICD – Institute of Corporate Directors
  28. IMA – International Management Assistants (Europe, UK)
  29. IMA France
  30. IMA Germany
  31. IMA Norway
  32. IMA UK – European Management Assistants UK
  33. Instam UK
  34. Manchester PA Network
  35. MEAG – Melbourne Group (Australia)
  36. NAFE – National Association for Female Executives
  37. NAHPA (EDPA) – National Association of Headteachers’ PAs
  38. NALS – Association for Legal Professionals
  39. NAPAHE – National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education
  40. Network PASW1
  41. NHS PA Network (Wales)
  42. Northeast EA Network (internal network)
  43. NRPA
  44. NVD
  45. Office Ninjas
  46. Personal Best NI PA Forum (Northern Ireland)
  47. Platinum Assistant Network South Africa
  48. Scottish PA Network
  49. SCRPA
  50. secretary.IT Manager Assistant Network (Italy)
  51. Society for Education & Training (UK)
  52. Supporting Professionals Network – Leeds Beckett
  53. SW1 Network
  54. The PA Hub (UK)
  55. The PA Network
  56. WashingtonExec EA Committees
  57. WATC – We Are The City
  58. Wisconsin Farmer’s Market Association
  59. Other resources/conferences: People identified Desk Demon, Executive Secretary LIVE, HBR (Harvard Business Review), Office Heroes, Office Ninjas, Be the Ultimate Assistant

Note: In addition to my photography, some of the photos in this post are courtesy of secretary.IT and Executive Secretary

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