Kim Sandoval’s “Push/Pull” series is part of the ELGL #13percent initiative. Kim is specifically looking at the reasons why people enter and leave local government careers. Read all of her columns here.
First, I’d like to extend a BIG thank you to those of you who either took the time to forward our survey request on to former colleagues and friends or who responded to our questions. ELGL has received numerous enlightening and encouraging responses.
Second, there is a caveat to the responses in this survey. Since there is not a central data base of former local government employees, we asked ELGL and Alliance for Innovation members and friends to forward the survey to their contacts that had exited government service. This is, admittedly, not the most scientific way to administer a survey. We could not sample the population of interest and, therefore, cannot provide a confidence interval or extrapolate our information out to definitively reveal the feelings of all former local government employees.
However, I would argue that 135 responses is a fantastic starting point from which to get the discussion started. If we held a public meeting and had 135 people attend, in many cases we’d have to worry about an occupancy issue. Please don’t misunderstand – this is not an angry, protesting crowd. As you’ll see, this group of respondents cares about local government and has expressed some opinions to which we should listen and consider – just as we would during a public meeting.
The majority of respondents to this survey were females – 72%. Since this exploration started in response to the ICMA Women Leading Government article and ELGL’s Glacial Pace post, the responses makes sense. We’ve received a nice balance of responses from male exiters, as well. As you can see in the graph, males have expressed their opinions at slightly over a 1 in 4 rate. Interestingly, only about half (48%) of the respondents received an MPA or MPP degree; 22% reported holding bachelor’s degrees and 30% stated that they had some other level of education.
Further, the majority – 60% – of respondents had served in local government for five years or less. I intend to examine this response in more detail to see whether it’s a result of the age of the surveyed population or if other factors are contributing to this exit rate. The remaining 40% of respondents were spread between the other three lengths of service. We even received comments from public servants that are now retired.
Respondents reported that they had served in a variety of levels of service to local government before exiting the field. The ‘other’ category was largest at 40%. The next largest categories were Chief Administrative Officer and Assistant Administrative Officer.
This is the basic demographic information illustrating our respondents’ backgrounds. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be examining the responses in more detail and sharing my findings with you. If you think of particular questions, let me know. I look forward to further discussion about diversity in government leadership.