STEP Membership Survey

Regular Membership - Summary of Results

In January 2018, STEP conducted the Annual Membership Survey as part of an ongoing commitment to monitor both the quality of and demand for products and services offered to members. 

The survey and the results received are integral to developing products and services that are tailored to members’ needs as well as the desire to deliver them in the most efficient and effective manner.  The Membership Survey was distributed electronically to 231 “Regular” STEP members in January 2018.  The administration of the survey included a notice from the President & CEO advising them of the upcoming survey, an initial request to respond as well as a series of follow-up reminders.  At the close of the survey, a total of 81 responses were received accounting for a response rate of 34.7% up 1.9% from 2017.

The 2018 Membership Survey results indicate that STEP’s core services continue to be a strong fit to the unique needs of exporters in Saskatchewan.  Uptake of service remains consistent - 84% of respondents plan to utilize Customized Market Intelligence and Research Report services, 81% plan to utilize Market Access Program (MAP) funding, and 63% plan to seek Guidance and Advice on Exporting. 

The 2018 Membership Survey also asked for members to rate the level of satisfaction with STEP services.  Regular Member respondents are most satisfied with Outgoing Trade Missions at 83%, Market Access Funding (MAP) at 80%, Market Intelligence and Research Reports at 73%, and Incoming Trade Missions at 66%.

The survey results indicate that membership business projections for 2018 are strong and reflect a positive outlook for export sales in 2018.  Respondents indicate that 81.01% are expecting an increase in export sales in 2018, 15.2% of respondents expect their sales will stay the same, and 3.80% indicated they expect a decrease.  Regarding staffing levels, respondents indicate a positive outlook with 55.6% expecting an increase in staffing levels, 44.4% expecting to maintain their staffing levels, and 0% expect a decrease.

To rate the membership experiences and working relationships with STEP, the same line of questions were followed from previous years to establish trend analysis.  Primary service utilization responses from 2014 - 2018 have been noted including the variance levels from 2017 - 2018.  To compel members to rate STEP services, the 2018 survey questions removed the option to respond “neutral”, and instead provided the option to indicate “don’t know/not applicable”.  As such and, while the 2018 results have increased significantly, these may be a more accurate rating rather than an increase from the previous year.

Key findings are as follows:

  • 100% of respondents indicated a willingness to recommend a STEP membership to other exporters.
  • 86% of respondents indicated that STEP has worked very effectively/effectively with their company to expand their export market initiatives.
  • 89% of respondents indicated that they received very high/high value for their membership investment.
  • 81% of respondents indicated that STEP has a very high/high understanding of their industry or sector.
  • 74% of respondents indicated that STEP has a very high/high understanding of their company’s export requirements.

The 2018 Membership Survey also included questions pertaining to members’ business activities, a request to seek the dollar value of annual export sales, and export sales projections for 2018.  It is noted that for this survey, “export” is defined as all sales originating outside of Saskatchewan.  Survey results indicate strong business growth and an increase in export sales in the upcoming years.  Key findings are as follows:

  • The total dollar value of export sales in 2017 was reported by survey respondents to be $816 million.
  • The average dollar value of export sales in 2017 was reported by survey respondents to be $11 million.
  • In 2018, projections for an increase in exports was reported by 81% of survey respondents with 15% expecting the same export activity and 4% expecting a decrease.
  • In 2018, projections for increased staffing levels was noted by 56% of respondents with 44% expecting to remain the same and 0% expecting a decrease.

This year, members were also asked about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations and their priorities for other free trade agreements. 56% of respondents were somewhat or very confident that an agreement will be reached while 60% indicated that it is too difficult to determine the impact of a withdrawal from NAFTA without knowing what, if anything, will happen with tariffs.

When asked to rank other free trade agreements, nearly 40% of members indicated that implementing and taking advantage of CETA was their priority followed by TPP11, a bilateral agreement with China, and a bilateral agreement with India.


Associate Membership - Summary of Results

In January 2017, STEP conducted an electronic membership survey directed to STEP Associate Members (companies servicing exporters). The 2017 survey was the first of its kind since 2000. Based on the membership uptake and feedback to the 2017 survey, the same process was conducted in January 2018.  The intent of the survey is to monitor value, quality, and service utilization while gathering feedback from Associate Members.

The 2018 Associate Membership Survey was distributed electronically to 125 Associate STEP members in January 2018 in conjunction with the 2018 Regular Membership Survey.  The administration of this survey included a member notice from the President and CEO advising Associate Members of the upcoming survey, an initial request to respond as well as follow-up reminders.  At the close of the survey, a total of 44 surveys were received accounting for a 35.2% response rate, a1.6% increase from 2017.

Responses to the survey showed a strong endorsement from the Associates to recommend membership to other companies.  Responses also identified satisfaction levels that Associate Members experienced, and their view of the value received from membership. The 2018 Associate Membership Survey results indicate the following:

  • 97.7% of respondents indicated a willingness to recommend a STEP membership to other companies
  • 90.7% of respondents indicated that they were satisfied/very satisfied with the quality of STEP activities they utilized
  • 65.9% of respondents indicated that they received very high/high value for their membership investment

Survey results noted an increase in the confidence level by Associate Members in Saskatchewan’s economy by 23.3% when asked to compare to one year ago.  58.1% of survey respondents indicate that their confidence level has remained the same while 18.6% of respondents indicate their confidence level has decreased.

The results indicate that the top three services utilized by Associate Membership include Global Ventures, Networking/Business Development at STEP Promotional Events and the Membership Directory/Buyer’s Guide.  Survey results also indicate that the top three reasons for joining was for the Networking Opportunities, Support of the Provincial Exporting Community and Business Development Opportunities.

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