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This year, 368 quality professionals from 41 countries shared their working styles, plans and opinions in our Global Quality Survey.
We dug into what they had to say about:
- Why they entered the profession
- How they landed in a quality role
- Job and pay satisfaction
Read our breakdown below.
An accidental career for life
Quality remains a 'sticky' industry - once you're in, you're in.
In fact, more than half of our respondents (52%) had been in a quality role for more than a decade.
And more than a quarter (26%) had been in quality for above 20 years!
What draws people to a quality profession? The most frequent answers were:
1. A desire to make a difference
Improving the safety and satisfaction of consumers, customers and patients ranked highly. Many respondents used the words 'passion', 'society', 'opportunity' and 'improvement' in their answers.
And quality management as a 'good' or 'noble' way to spend working hours also appeared as a common perception.
2. An analytic and scientific mindset
Quality naturally draws methodical, empirical, action-biased people. This was supported in our responses.
Many began as qualified workers in engineering, planning and analytical roles and found their strengths and skill sets translated well into the quality department.
Which brings us to...
You might recognise this from personal experience.
"Accidentally fell into it"
"I basically fell into it as no-one else wanted to"
"Accidentally at first, then I loved it - so I stayed"
"Our organisation needed someone to pick up this role, so I volunteered"
Fewer than 20% of quality roles require a qualification in quality. So it's not surprising that many quality workers find themselves 'falling into' their roles by chance or migrating from other departments.
Our Compliance Director Kate Armitage shared her own experience of entering the industry:
I was exposed to regulatory and compliance requirements in my first job after university. The standard, systematic, organised approach resonated with me and matched my skill set.
It just so happened, by luck more than judgement initially, that the roles and environments I have worked in throughout my career have been subject to strict regulation.
I accepted the challenge of implementing my first 9001 QMS almost 20 years ago and my knowledge, experience and genuine enjoyment of GRC has grown from there.
As the role of the quality manager becomes more and more recognised as a weapon for competitive advantage, we can expect more defined paths to a quality career to emerge in future.
Pay, promotions and satisfaction
Why do so many quality workers stay in the industry, when they didn't even plan to enter it in the first place?
We explored pay and promotion in our survey.
About a quarter of respondents were dissatisfied with their salary.
Just under half felt their pay was about right and were 'somewhat satisfied'.
And the remainder were 'very' or 'extremely' satisfied with their pay.
We also asked our respondents if they had had a promotion within the past year.
25% said they had - a relatively high proportion which ranks quality as one of the most fluid and meritocratic 21st-century industries.
And 74% agreed that they felt valued and had the necessary training to be confident in their role.
With generally satisfying pay, good promotion chances and an opportunity to drive real change, the quality profession has a knack of keeping the people it attracts.
Need a little guidance for your day-to-day? Try our 5 life rules for quality managers.
Our complete Global Quality Report will be published in the coming weeks, so watch this space.
In the meantime, if you're facing the same challenges as our respondents, try our 5-step guide to good governance, risk and compliance: