In April, SAA fielded a pop-up survey focused on mid-career archivists. “Mid-career” was defined as more than five years in the profession and more than 10 years until retirement. The goal of the survey was not necessarily statistical, but to collect ideas and issues for education programming and to ensure that we are considering the concerns and needs of this group in SAA’s strategic planning. Here are some preliminary results.
How long have you been working in the archives field?
There were 698 responses that broke down as follows:
5-10 years: 40.54% (283)
10-15 years: 28.80% (201)
16-20 years: 20.06% (140)
21+: 10.60% (74)
What issues are of the greatest concern to you at this stage of your career?
The three issues at the highest level were burnout and stress; little opportunity for growth and promotion; and life balance. Although SAA may not be able to deal with these issues directly, it’s important that you can rely on your professional organization for support for your continued development, networking, and career progress.
What do you find most challenging at this stage of your career?
The answers (in priority order) were staying current, career planning, salary, workloads, networking, and internal advocacy. SAA’s education programming is there to help you with training needs. We’re already planning a webcast on salary negotiation (see this past post too) and are working on gathering other online resources on career planning and advocacy.
What do you think that SAA, as your professional organization, should do or provide to help you at this stage of your career?
Online courses: 57.48%
Courses and training: 48.59%
Annual meeting programming: 42.81%
Certificate program in leadership and/or management: 40.89%
Overall, the survey answers were both enlightening and worrying. One resource that I hope more members will consider is participating in the SAA Mentoring Program, either mentoring others or being mentored. SAA will continue to advocate for the needs of archivists and explore programming to answer some of the difficult questions raised by the survey participants, but it is also up to us to take care of each other as much as we can.