A Workplace Climate Survey was conducted with almost half of NCAR employees (413— 237 men and 176 women) responding to questions about many of the aspects of the UCAR/NCAR environment. This survey was similar to one conducted by the American Physical Society's Committee on the Status of Women in Physics in 2000. The goal of the survey was to explore employees’ perceptions of their workplace.
Of the survey respondents, 149 (35.8%) were affiliated with the Earth and Sun Systems Laboratory, 85 (20.4%) with the Research Applications Laboratory, 76 (18.3%) with the Earth Observing Laboratory, and 72 (17.2%) with the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory. The majority of respondents belong to the scientific (40.6%) and engineering/computing (36.8%) groups. Other groups included administration, communication, education, or program specialist (14.9%), director/manager (6.3%), and facilities support (1.4%).
According to the survey results, 85% of respondents agree that the NCAR workplace is welcoming, 89% think that it’s friendly, and 88% say it’s flexible. Most respondents (93.4%) participate in NCAR-sponsored activities such as lectures, receptions, and parties. An overwhelming majority also responded positively to a series of questions about the capabilities, accessibility, and fairness of their supervisors; positive responses ranged between 76 and 89%. More than 80% of respondents are suitably challenged by their jobs and feel that their skills are well utilized. A gender breakdown of these results reveals male and female responses within 2% in each category.
The survey also contained four open-ended questions. 251 respondents (60%) commented on what contributed to their workplace success. Good supervisors and mentors were frequently cited, as were resources, flexible schedules (including work/family balance policies), supportive coworkers, intellectual freedom, and the absence of micromanagement. Respondents also pointed to their personal work ethic, training (academic and UCAR staff development), and professional competencies. 235 respondents (56%) wrote about hindrances. They cited inadequate budgets and insufficient resources, reorganizations, and moves. Overwhelming workloads, issues with management practices and decisions, and the absence of opportunities for advancement were also noted. 109 (26%) offered suggestions for improving the work environment. These included better communication (particularly as related to budget decisions), the need for better management skills, mentoring, and assistance with career planning.