Careers come first
One message that was loud and clear throughout the alumni survey was that alumni services, from the provision of news and events to online resources are most highly valued when they help you with your careers.
51% of alumni leave it to the Alumni Association board to decide on how best to prioritise funds (which in any case the board invests predominantly on career initiatives like the John Kendrew Young Scientist Award, for example). 42% asked that funds be invested specifically in careers initiatives and tools, while 2% chose "Other" for their funding priorities, and then suggested more careers support, like:
"Career planning and exchanging young versus more experienced scientists."
"Informing alumni what it's like to work in industry, pathology labs and specific countries."
"More support on practical things like jobs, funding and grants."
We like all these suggestions and will address them in due course, starting with more articles in the EMBL newsletter on these topics.
Three highly valued services:
These three services popped up regularly and passionately in alumni comments under all service-related questions. The fact that they received a relatively low percentage on this bar chart reflects more the lack of information about them, which we are also addressing.
The Alumni Relations Office is now in talks with the Petty Cash Office on how to best streamline the application process for the Heidelberg lunch cards, which are available to all EMBL alumni including the Outstations, but can only be used in the EMBL Heidelberg canteen and cafeteria - hence the name Heidelberg lunch card.
The 12% not interested in alumni services explained that they were either retired or working outside science.
LinkedIn - a careers platform for all before retirement
To accurately assess the alumni usage of networking platforms we studied the survey results from the four age groups separately. There was little surprise to see that 70% of the over 65 year olds do not use networking platforms compared to only 22% of the 21-35 year olds. Interestingly it was both the youngest and oldest groups whose majorities used the fun networking platform Facebook as their main networking platform.
In the two age groups 36-50 and 51-65, the professional and career-focused LinkedIn got the most hits for main networking platform.
The EMBL Alumni Association offers EMBL alumni groups on LinkedIn and Facebook (while the latter is under re-construction), but focuses its resources mainly on the EMBL alumni pages and the EMBL alumni members directory.
Belonging to a community
Your feedback tells us that the most important reason for joining a networking platform is to belong to a certain community, but that you see it as the role of the community to engage the members. We therefore look forward to more contributions from you to our alumni groups on LinkedIn and Facebook!
Find out more survey results in the following sections: