You talked, we listened: Key findings from member research

ICRS has come a long way since its launch just over three years ago. We now have around 300 Individual Members and 60 Organisational Members together with a further 2,000 people who receive the Institute’s fortnightly newsletter. This rapidly growing and diverse membership is supported by a rich set of resources and events to help them increase their positive impact on both society and the environment. With CRS careers becoming more popular and specialised than ever before, we thought it was time to take stock.

So, in April 2017, we began a research project to get your views on: -

  • What is expected of us as a professional body, and how professionals derive value from their membership;
  • Challenges that CRS professionals face in their roles;
  • Skills and competencies required to succeed in a CRS position, and what skills will be needed in the future;
  • Learning resources used by CRS professionals for their development, and to stay informed to trends and best practice; and
  • Other professional institutes helping CRS professionals.

Over 300 of you responded to the survey, which was followed by a series of focus groups including established, new and aspiring CRS professionals.

Here we highlight three key findings from the research: -


1)      Integrating CRS with business strategy keeps you awake at night, but staying up-to-date with trends and measuring impact are also significant challenges. Securing senior-level backing and securing investment is seen as less pressing – perhaps indicating growing acceptance of the importance of CRS amongst CEOs and Directors.

Figure 1: Biggest challenges cited by CRS professionals - Members versus non-members (294 responses)


2)      Access to a network of peers is the main reason you join a professional body, but you also want access to learning resources and job opportunities, as well as formal professional recognition. Many of you think the application process for membership is onerous – but you think that’s an important means of protecting professional standards and the community’s credibility.

Figure 2: What makes membership of a professional body attractive (316 responses)


3)      You want the ICRS to share knowledge, facilitate networking and build the reputation of CRS as a profession, but it doesn’t stop there: professional standards and recognition are also top on the agenda for about a third of you. Responding to government policy proposals is important, but only if it helps build the reputation of the profession. Meanwhile, most of you don’t want to dedicate significant ICRS resources to sharing achievements of members or formal assessment of your peers’ skills.

Figure 3: Most important roles for ICRS to fulfil, according to respondents' professional experience (285 responses)


What are we going to do with the findings?

In June 2017, the ICRS Board met to discuss the findings and devise a set of actions to make sure we’re meeting members' needs, as well as attracting new members, of course. Here’s a few highlights from our member engagement plan:

  • Increasing the chances for members to network with each other, both remotely and face-to-face – including outside of London;
  • Maintaining variety in our events and resources, both in terms of topics and type;
  • Refreshing our key communications tools to make them more relevant and readable;
  • Reviewing how we share and promote job opportunities; and
  • Considering how we engage with wider sector developments such as government policy proposals.

What are your thoughts on the research findings? You can comment below or email us at


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