Survey Design and Distribution
Fueled by the mission of REACH Women’s Network to raise the collective voice and influence of women in the workplace, a team of volunteers from REACH developed the draft for the Community Survey of Women in the Workplace. Strategic marketing firm Girl on the Roof and nonprofit research organization Forsyth Futures helped refine and standardize the survey following best practices. Where possible, survey questions were benchmarked against other studies conducted locally (Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem) and nationally (including but not limited to McKinsey & Company and Deloitte).
Since REACH Women’s Network hopes to repeat the survey, survey questions were designed to allow for the monitoring of improvement over time on key metrics associated with job and career satisfaction, home life, burnout, community involvement, and more.
The Community Survey of Women in the Workplace was designed for all working women who live and/or work in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, North Carolina. Distribution efforts were aimed at securing responses from women representing diversity in age, race/ethnicity, industry, profession, career level, income level, and more. When the survey launched in September of 2022, the Winston-Salem Journal and WFDD Public Radio published stories about the initiative. A link to the survey was emailed directly to REACH members and more than 1,500 other women (including attendees of past REACH Women’s Conferences). Each recipient was asked to complete the survey and share the link with other women. REACH also sent the survey link and objectives to partnering organizations and employers, requesting that they share it with women in their organizations. And REACH promoted the survey with paid advertising on social media channels.
Survey Responses and Demographics
The Community Survey of Women in the Workplace was open to responses from mid-September 2022 till the end of December 2022. Only women living and/or working in Forsyth County, North Carolina, were eligible to take the survey. The final sample size was 687, with a 68% survey completion rate. The average time it took respondents to complete the survey was 13 minutes.
Respondents were asked, “Do you consider yourself a professional woman?” to which 95% said Yes. Respondents were then encouraged to explain their answer in one sentence, the responses to which will be covered later in the What She Said series.
Location: 92% of respondents lived in a Forsyth County Zip Code.
Marital status: 60% of respondents were married. 32% were single. 8% indicated they are unmarried but cohabitating.
Education: 88% of respondents had completed at least a Bachelor’s degree. 36% had a Master’s degree, and another 14% had a Doctorate or other advanced degree. Less than 3% of women had only a high school degree or less.
Age/generation: Approximately 46% of women who responded fell into the Generation X category (per generational categories from Pew Research Center)— born between 1965 and 1980. 16% fell into the Baby Boomer Category, and 38% are considered, based on birth year, to be Millennial or Generation Z. No survey respondents reported being born before 1943 or after 2002.
Employer size: 55% of respondents indicated 250+ employees work for their employer. 24% indicated 20–249 employees work for their employer. 21% said their employer employ fewer than 20 employees.
Race/ethnicity: 71% of respondents identified as White/Non-Hispanic. 29% identified as another race/ethnicity or multiple races/ethnicities. (Unfortunately, sample sizes were too small among these options to allow for statistical analysis, so these were grouped into “non-white” for purposes of statistical comparison.)
Wage income: 32% of respondents reported earning less than $50,000. 27% of respondents reported an annual salary of $50,000–$74,900. 19% had an annual salary of $100,000–$199,000.
Work status: Most survey respondents were employed full-time by one employer and worked at least 35 hours a week.
Primary position: 37% of respondents were at the senior executive or owner level; 26% identified as mid-level managers; 23% were in healthcare/education.
The initial quantitative data analysis performed by Forsyth Futures in 1Q23 was based on the aggregated survey responses. Highlights from those findings were presented at the REACH Women’s Conference on April 26, 2023. The conference presentation included an opportunity for conference attendees to contribute to the research through qualitative responses to two posed questions. Insights gained from those responses will be integrated alongside the quantitative analysis throughout the blog series.
In the analysis stage, some of the survey response options were collapsed or recoded during data cleaning to ensure adequate sample sizes for disaggregation. For example, salary levels had eight response options on the survey, but for the purposes of analysis, those levels were consolidated into just two sets (less than $50,000 and $50,000+).
Some survey questions allowed respondents to add an answer (“other: _____”) if their preferred response was not included among the survey options. Analysts from Forsyth Futures matched open-ended answers with existing categories or created new categories when appropriate. The data visualizations presented throughout the blog series are based on the cleaned and recoded data rather than the raw data.