A 16-question survey was conducted by the Women’s Special Interest Group during May 9 and May 24, 2019, and sent to approximately 6,000 women FENG members; 221 people responded to the survey, and 236 members updated their directories to include the Women’s SIG.
The goal of the survey was to learn who are members are and to determine the priorities and interests of participants so that the SIG Steering Committee could set a meaningful direction and provide useful content for members.
Analysis & Conclusions:
Question1: What Type of Member Are You?
Survey results reveal a near split between alumni and active members. Approximately 15% of respondents indicate they are “Unsure,” meaning they are employed in some interim capacity.
Our takeaway here is that everyone is seeking their next new career opportunity, though some more actively or openly than others.
Question 2: Location Demographics
In terms of location, survey results indicate that eight respondents are located outside of the US (Canada (4); Europe (4); Australia (1) and that the majority of respondents are located within the US. Not surprisingly, the greatest concentration (45 people) is in the New York Tri-State area. However, many other areas – Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and Boston, to name a few – have sufficient networking numbers.
Conclusion: Although in-person meetings or events would likely have the greatest number of attendees if held in the NY Tri-State area, there are sufficient member clusters around the country for some form of networking to occur.
Question 3: How Long Have You Been a Member of FENG?
Nearly 60% of the Women’s SIG members are longer-time members (defined as more than 4 years), and nearly 11% indicate that they have been FENG members for between 2 to 4 years.
It’s positive that longer-term members are still looking to get something out of FENG and the Women’s SIG, including networking opportunities and career advancement.
Question 4: Attendance at Chapter Meetings in the Last 12 Months.
In a word: poor. Respondents, for the most, tend to have a poor record of attending FENG chapter meetings. Survey results indicate that nearly 60% respondents have not attended any meetings in the last 12 months. Approximately a third of respondents indicated they have attended between 1 and 3 meetings during that period. Less than 4% indicated that they have attended more than 6 meetings.
Question 5: Current or Previous Title
Women’s SIG members have achieved significant corporate roles and titles.
Approximately 24% of respondents indicate a CFO title and others indicate CEO, Partner, COO, and other senior titles. Approximately 13% and 10%, respectively, indicate titles of VP, Finance, and Corporate Controller. Another 12% indicate titles of Director. One failing of the question, which we knew going in but could not easily solve for, is that it did not capture Financial Service titles in investment management, portfolio administration, risk management, etc.
Question 6: Which Activities are Important to You
On an absolute basis, 56% of respondents indicated that job opportunities are their primary interest.
However, when ‘most important’ and ‘somewhat important’ responses are combined, the opportunity to network becomes the top priority though by a narrow margin:
1. Networking: 86.7%
2. Job opportunities: 82.6%
3. Work-related education: 78.3%
4. Career-related education: 71.7%
5. Mentoring: 63.0%
6. Seeking a board position: 53.9%
Question 7: Guest Speakers and Topics of Interest
Again, ‘most important’ and ‘somewhat important’ responses were combined to rank the results.
1. Technology: 83.9%
2. Career development: 78.2%
3. Industry education: 69.2%
4. Job search techniques: 60.1%
Comments to this question focused on finding board seats, networking, technology, and education topics.
Question 8: Volunteers and Available Resources
While the survey indicated that nearly 60% of people would be interested in participating in a Women’s SIG event, there was a generally low level of interest in organizing a local meeting, chairing a local chapter, hosting a meeting, and/or providing a speaker.
Question 9: We asked about Membership/Participation in Professional Women’s Groups
This had a very low response rate. Only 36 people answered the question, so it’s clear that members of the Women’s SIG are not participating in professional women’s groups such as the Financial Women’s Association.
Question 10: Membership/Participation in Professional Groups
As a whole, more respondents participate in the broader professional groups than in the groups for professional women. Financial Executives International has a relationship with FENG, which may account for its better membership and attendance rates. Interestingly, very few respondents indicate that they attend events for women. Association for Corporate Growth had some responses, and among the comments, CFO Leadership Council and AICPA were mentioned more frequently.
Question 11: Board Experience
Approximately two-thirds of respondents are currently on a board or have previously served on a board. A nearly equal percentage (63%) has experience with boards. Significant numbers of women are board-ready, either from serving on a board or with extensive and valuable experience reporting to and/or working with boards. This is reflective of the senior level positions and titles respondents reported in question 5.
Question 12: What Type of Company Does/Did Board Experience Represent?
The majority of respondents serve or have served on nonprofit boards, primarily in social services and education. Respondents indicate a strong presence on private company boards, though have less of a presence on the boards of public companies.
Our takeaway is that women can and do service on nonprofit, private and public boards, though representation tends to be in that order. Industries most receptive to women on boards are the manufacturing, consumer products, media, and financial services industries.
Question 13: How Would You Like to Network?
What we heard is that meeting via conference call works, but the preference is for some kind of periodic meeting of undetermined frequency. As noted in the results from question 2, the majority of respondents are in the New York City area, and other large cities across the US have some degree of critical mass that would allow for some in-person networking. However, few respondents expressed the desire to organize, host or be responsible for organizing a formal meeting, though they might be open to more informal networking meetings. The Steering Committee could also explore the use of webinars for meetings with specific speakers or agendas/topics.
Question 14: FENG Volunteer Donations
We included this question at the request of Matt Budd and Bruce Lynn.
Respondents prefer a combination of methods (ad hoc, fee for service, membership fees, event based) to fund the FENG.
Question 15: Women’s SIG Actions to Help Women Reach More Senior Roles
There were 89 responses to this question. The majority focus around ‘education, support network, and career advice.’ One of the recurring comments is the need to include men in the process. The Women’s SIG is open to all members of the FENG – not just women – so please invite men along if you know anyone who would like to participate.
Question 16: Volunteers
The good news is that 36 respondents have expressed an interest in volunteering in some capacity for the Women’s SIG. Isabelle has been working with these women to determine how they would like to contribute.