Members and Career Development
According to Wiley’s annual Membership Survey, support for their career is one of three key reasons people choose to join (along with access to content and being part of the larger discipline community). As much as 77% of potential members are more likely to join if they believe that a society can support their career growth, and if they’re satisfied with the career opportunities that they get through their membership, they’re more likely to recommend the society to a peer or colleague.
Career support is even more important for the next generation of society members: As of 2017, in the U.S. alone 56 million Millennials were either already working or looking for work, and Millennials officially surpassed Gen Xers in the workforce in 2016.
But, as important as career development is to current and future members, it’s not always prioritized in the same way that the other key benefits are. Societies often focus on their publications program to provide members access to great content and invest hugely in their annual meeting which brings the people in their community together. Are societies doing enough to help members advance in their careers? According to our 2019 Wiley Membership Survey (full results to be released soon), only about 50% of members are satisfied with the career benefits they receive.
Move Beyond the ‘Job Board’
Even if you do provide centralized career resources, it’s not always easy to offer them in a way that will keep your members engaged and convinced of the value they provide – a traditional job board, for example, is a relatively ‘flat’ resource which doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of 21st century jobseekers – early career researchers in particular - who have high expectations for their online experiences.
A modern career center needs to be more than a website that hosts job ads. Instead, it can be the epicenter of career development for your community, where members can easily find great opportunities from the leading employers in the discipline, but also get access to valuable content and career advice to boost their professional development all in one place.
Boost Member Engagement
Our survey data show that more engaged members are more satisfied members, and a career center can help build engagement as well. Some examples of features to build engagement include:
- A jobs widget and/or articles about the benefits of the career center in the association newsletter
- An automated feed of job tweets, increasing the society’s social media presence
- Automated email job alerts
Career centers are also a place to share easy-to-access, relevant content with members who may be considering a professional move. And while only a fraction of your membership may be actively looking for a new opportunity at any given time, statistics show that about 70% are passive job seekers and would consider a move if the right job was offered to them.
Know Your Community’s Needs
An advanced career center platform provides powerful data tracking and reporting on which content is working, so you can focus on providing the most valuable types of resources.
For example, by looking at what job titles are most popular, what content job seekers are most interested in, and which cities garner the most applications, you can develop more targeted career development resources. Career center sites can also give you detailed and specific information about users, such as which certifications they hold and whether they're planning on attending any events in the next six months.
Support Members at Every Step of Their Careers
The core benefits that members and potential members look for from society membership are clear: members want access to relevant content through the journal and other resources like association newsletters and magazines, they want to be part of a larger community and connect with other people in their discipline, and they’re looking for help advancing in the profession.
What’s changed, thanks to technology, is the way that societies deliver those benefits.
Engaging members often enough–and in the right ways–is an ongoing challenge for every association. An advanced career center that transcends a flat jobs feed and provides valuable career content, advice, and suggested career opportunities based on user profiles allows members to see the benefits of membership and keep renewing year after year, throughout their careers.
To learn more about how career centers can help advance professionals in their fields and improve the value that society membership provides, please contact David Kim.
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