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NIH Workforce COVID-19 Impact Survey

Update: Survey Results Now Available

Findings from the NIH Workforce COVID-19 Impact Survey are now available in an Executive Summary. The Executive Summary contains both results and recommendations for action.

Overview:

The NIH Workforce COVID-19 Impact Survey was conducted by the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD), in conjunction with various NIH offices, to assess impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the NIH workforce. The 15-20-minute survey was administered between July 14-28 and sought staff input on their workplace experiences since NIH moved to maximum telework on March 16th. Nearly 17,000 NIH staff members (51%) responded to the survey. The survey was administered by an independent outside entity (Deloitte), and data is being maintained in a de-identified manner. The survey results were made available to NIH staff via an executive summary on November 19, 2020. NIH leadership will use the responses to increase understanding of the current workplace environment during the COVID-19 pandemic and inform strategies to address COVID-19 related inequities within the NIH workforce.

Background:

The central objective for COSWD is to expand the diversity of the scientific workforce. To that end, COSWD surveyed the NIH workforce to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce overall and on vulnerable populations. We administered the survey to all NIH federal staff, students and trainees, postdocs, volunteers and contractors who were given permission to participate by their employer. The survey was only administered to individuals with email accounts at NIH.

Why:

We know these are difficult and unprecedented times and that responses to this survey will help us ensure we understand the impact of the pandemic on all staff working at NIH. We learned from the NIH Workplace Climate and Harassment Survey (completed last year) that there are particularly vulnerable groups in the NIH community who experience bullying and harassment such as women, trainees, younger staff (age 18-24), and those who identify as sexual and gender minorities. We also know there are unique stresses associated with COVID-19 that are disproportionately impacting underrepresented groups, including African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaskan Natives from a public health perspective and therefore, it may be impacting other aspects of work and family life. Recent studies show a higher impact on women in the workforce during COVID-19 who must also manage childcare and elderly care. We developed the survey with these insights in mind to inform helpful strategies addressing inequities or problems in the NIH workforce.

Anonymity:

The survey was conducted by an independent outside entity (Deloitte) and data is being maintained in a de-identified manner. It was administered via a unique email link and was sent to NIH federal staff, students and trainees, postdocs, volunteers, and contractors who were given permission to participate by their employers. The survey was only administered to individuals with email accounts at NIH and was not available in a hardcopy format. Participation in the survey was voluntary, and all questions did not require answers. Personal demographic questions were aimed to help us identify vulnerable, diverse groups at NIH in need of additional support. These questions were optional. NIH is not able to associate respondent names with the de-identified data provided by Deloitte.

Time Commitment: The total survey time took about 15-20 minutes. It could be done via smartphone, tablet, or computer. It was launched on July 14 and was open for two weeks.

Contact

Please contact us at workclimate@od.nih.gov with any questions. If you have any exposure and illness concerns individuals are encouraged to visit the NIH Employees COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions about Exposures and Illness Concerns  webpage.

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