This is the second survey of an ongoing topline assessment of the Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO) programs, resources, services, and outreach. The survey is also used to identify emerging Foreign Service issues.

GCLO

Community members who rated offerings as important to them were overwhelmingly satisfied with GCLO.

Personal and Family Crisis

For the personal and family crisis services that were rated most important to those surveyed, GCLO also received its highest level of satisfaction.

Evacuation and Emergency Preparedness

In general, community members who used these programs and services considered them important and were satisfied with GCLO.

Family Member Employment

Family member employment strongly impacts the respondents’ perceptions of GCLO’s services. The vast majority reported being well informed.

GCLO increased outreach efforts after the Fall 2021 GCLO Listening Survey. The Spring 2022 GCLO Listening Survey showed a 3 percent increase in those reporting they are familiar with GLCO programs, services, and resources, which may be a result of the increased outreach efforts.

Methodology

GCLO collected 3,276 completed anonymous online interviews between April 11 and 22, 2022, of a representative sample of the U.S. Government’s Foreign Service community. The estimated margin of sampling error for the overall survey is ±1.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval and is higher for subsets of the population. The questions in the family member employment section were asked of 1,116 Eligible Family Members (EFMs) and Members of Household (MOH). The estimated margin of sampling error for this group is ±2.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval. Starr Opinion Research worked with GTM/OTA to develop the methodology. Starr Opinion Research programmed the survey and conducted the analysis.

Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO)

In general, metrics remained stable since the Fall 2021 GCLO Listening Survey; in some cases, there were small improvements in key measures.

Familiarity: A three percentage point increase of those reporting they are very familiar or somewhat familiar with GCLO, from 51 percent to 54 percent.

GCLO Attributes: There were slight increases in the percentage of community members associating these attributes to GCLO:

  • Anticipates my needs (increase of eight percentage points)
  • Advocates effectively (increase of six points)
  • Knowledgeable (increase of six points)

Interactions: There was an increase of six percentage points in community members reporting an interaction with GCLO in the past 12 months, from 42 percent in Fall 2021 GCLO Listening Survey to 48 percent in the Spring 2022 GCLO Listening Survey.

Usage: The level of self-reported use of GCLO programs, services and resources between the two surveys saw a slight increase. There was a six-percentage point increase in usage of family member employment, by family members, from 32 percent to 38 percent; and there was an increase of four percentage points in usage of communications, including newsletters and the Facebook feed, rising from 34 percent to 38 percent.

Personal and Family Crisis Management

Usage: Seven percent of family members self-reported in the last 12 months they used GCLO services in personal and family crisis management (including mental health well-being, facing separation or divorce, domestic violence, and abuse, and caring for parents with failing health), and 12 percent said they have used them at some point.

GCLO Offerings: Among those who rated these GCLO programs, services and resources as important, the percentage satisfied ranged from 39 percent to 57 percent, and fewer were dissatisfied (ranging from 11 percent to 17 percent).

Personal Life Matters

Usage: Twelve percent of family members self-reported in the last 12 months they used GCLO services in personal life matters (including preparing to bid and relocate, becoming a new parent, adding a person to orders, and caring for parents), and 28 percent said they have used them at some point.

GCLO Offerings: Among those who rated the GCLO offerings as important, the percentage satisfied ranged from 48 percent to 61 percent, and far fewer were dissatisfied (from eight percent to 16 percent).

Evacuation and Emergency Preparedness

Usage: Eleven percent of family members self-reported they used GCLO services in evacuation and emergency preparedness in the last 12 months and 30 percent said they have used them at some point.

GCLO Offerings: In general, community members considered GCLO programs, services, and resources as important (48 percent stated it was somewhat important and 78 percent rated them as very important), and the majority of community members who considered these offerings as important also rated themselves as satisfied. There are opportunities to focus on increasing satisfaction in information for organizing childcare and education, and information for finding a place to live.

Family Member Employment

Usage: The four most used employment programs and services by family members in the last 12 months are the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC), Expanded Professional Associates Program (EPAP), the Family Member Employment Report (FAMER) and the Global Employment Initiative (GEI).

Employment statistics: 73 percent of respondents reported being employed, while 17 percent are looking for work now and 14 percent are not in the employment market. (Results add up to greater than 100 percent as respondents could give multiple responses.)

Employment considerations a top bidding factor: Employment is a top bidding consideration among the Foreign Service community; 57 percent reported this as a very or extremely important factor.

Four subgroups: These four groups of family members working overseas have clear attitudinal, behavioral, and demographic differences on the topic of employment:

  • Family members working inside the mission — 50 percent of all family members.
  • Family members employed outside the mission — 20 percent.
  • Family members looking for employment — 17 percent.
  • Family members not looking for employment — 14 percent.

Note: three percent of respondents work in the United States 

Jobs inside the mission concerns: Overall, half of family members are satisfied with their employment opportunities inside the mission (51 percent); however, 34 percent of family members are dissatisfied. Of those dissatisfied with their employment options, the main concerns for jobs inside the mission included: better jobs, such as compensation and responsibilities; the hiring process, such as needing more fairness and support from mission leadership; and concerns about security clearance delays and the need for more jobs.

Most enjoy their work, but fewer than half feel compensated fairly: 85 percent of the EFM respondents employed inside the mission reported enjoying what they do at work. Fewer than half of family members employed inside the mission, 46 percent, agree they feel compensated fairly, with only 13 percent completely agreeing.

Telework: Among family members in the Foreign Service community, nearly two in five, 36 percent, have expressed an interest at some point in teleworking.

Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO)

Familiarity of GCLO

Overall, since the Fall 2021 GCLO Listening Survey, there has been an increase of three points in the percentage reporting they are very familiar or somewhat familiar with GCLO, from 51 percent to 54 percent. The percentage of community members who preferred to not respond dropped three points from 15 percent to 12 percent.

Change in GCLO Familiarity chart

GCLO Management of Programs, Services, Resources and Outreach

Interactions: From the Fall 2021 GCLO Listening Survey, there has been a six-percentage point increase in community members self-reporting they have interacted with GCLO. The biggest increase in activities was in email exchanges, which rose by seven points from 23 to 30 percent; there was a significant decrease in contacts by telephone, which moved from six percent in the fall to fewer than one percent.

Perception of Easily Accessible Information: Similarly unchanged, two in three community members (66 percent) agree “the information I need to deal with foreign service life is already available” and one in 10 completely agrees (11 percent).

Perception: Accessibility of Information chart

Foreign Service Life: Personal and Family Crisis Management

Usage

The percentage of the community that uses the Personal and Family Crisis Management programs and services is relatively small — seven percent used it in the past year, and only 12 percent have ever used it.  The rates of usage are consistent with the previous survey.

Chart detailing GCLO Programs, Services, and Resources used by respondents.

Opportunities for Improvement

More than half, 52 percent, indicated there was insufficient information about GCLO services in personal and family crisis. The GCLO Support Services team aims to increase awareness about the different personal and family crisis resources and services through increased messaging in GCLO and other Foreign Service publications.

Usage and Satisfaction with Personal and Family Crisis Management

Crisis programs, services and resources, are, by their nature, only important to people when they are in an emergency.  For the majority of the services surveyed in the personal and family crisis area, more than 35 percent of community members rated them as important.

For the service within the personal and family crisis that was rated most important to those surveyed, GCLO also received its highest level of satisfaction. Nearly half (46 percent) said “offering experts to teach the community how to deal with emerging challenges” was important to them, and – among the 46 percent who rated it as important – more than half said they were satisfied (57 percent).

Among people who said a program, service or resource was important, there were far more people who said they were satisfied than unsatisfied – with a high percentage not providing an opinion.

Foreign Service Life: Personal Life Matters

Usage

More than one in 10 community members, 12 percent, reported using GCLO programs, services, and resources for personal family issues in the past 12 months. Overall, 28 percent said they have used these services at some point in their career.

GCLO Programs, Services, and Resources usage chart.

Opportunities for Improvement

Some community members are unaware of GCLO’s capabilities in this area. More than half, 55 percent, indicated they would want to have more information to improve their rating of GCLO in this area.

Usage and Satisfaction with Personal Life Matters

Many areas covered in personal life matters are not important to a majority of community members, though they are surely important when it is something they need at specific, though not always predictable, points in their career. GCLO has performed well in personal life matters among the people who have said specific offerings are important – 48 to 61 percent were satisfied, and only eight to 16 percent unsatisfied.

Evacuation and Emergency Preparedness

Usage

Overall, about one in 10 community members has been involved this year in an evacuation and emergency:

  • Nine percent reported they had “been evacuated (either authorized or ordered departure)” in the past 12 months, similar to 10 percent who self-reported this is Fall 2021.
  • Eleven percent indicated they had used GCLO programs and services for evacuations and emergency preparedness in the past year, fairly unchanged from the 12 percent who reported this in Fall 2021.

GCLO Programs, Services, and Resources used chart

Opportunities for Improvement

A small group, 38 community members, provided feedback for ways to improve the evacuation and emergency preparedness service. Approximately half of these respondents focused on the need to provide more outreach and information about these services. One-quarter of them expressed a need to improve the customer experience. GCLO’s Unaccompanied Tours and Evacuations team is working on a new outreach strategy to increase awareness of its evacuations and emergency preparedness services.

Family Member Employment

Family member employment continues to be an important factor for the Foreign Service community, and among the top two factors when bidding. Overall, 51 percent of family members are satisfied with their employment opportunities and 34 percent are dissatisfied. Some of the main concerns with family member employment include: needing more and better paying jobs, improving the fairness in the hiring processes, speeding up the security clearance process, and increasing support from mission leadership.

For the respondents who reported being employed, more than half were employed inside the mission. Those employed inside the mission reported generally high levels of satisfaction with all programs. The Expanded Professional Associates Program (EPAP) received a higher-than-average level of usage – indicating it is important to these family members.

Family Member Employment Situation Chart

Employment Statistics

Among all family members who participated in the survey, 73 percent reported being employed, 17 percent are looking for work now and 14 percent are not in the employment market. Half of all family members are employed inside an overseas mission, and 20 percent are working overseas outside the mission; 12 percent are self-employed or working with a local employer, and nine percent are teleworking.

Opinions Related to Outreach, Communications, and Family Member Employment Programming

Awareness

There is a generally held opinion among family members that they know where they can go to access information about employment while posted overseas. Three in four family members agree they know where to find this information, with almost three in 10 saying they completely agree with this.

Similarly, there is a general sense that family members feel well-informed about their employment options. Three in four family members agree they feel well-informed, with one in four, completely agreeing.

Chart titled Metric: Awareness of Employment Resource

Chart titled Metric: Informed

Knowledge

Two in three family members agree they have the tools to create a professional life for themselves, with one in five completely agreeing. Nearly three in 10 disagree they have these tools.

Chart titled Metric: Understand Employment Regulations

Chart titled Metric: Have Necessary Tools

Usage and Satisfaction with Family Member Employment Briefings

Employment briefings cover information about various options for working while living at an overseas post. These briefings are conducted by GCLO staff at FSI or at other agency briefings, CLO Coordinators at post, and GCLO’s Global Employment Advisors around the world.

Family Member Employment briefings charts.

Family Member Employment - Group Analysis

In discussing family member employment and GCLO programs, services and resources, there are four groups that encompass the target audiences.

Family members working inside the mission are 50 percent.  
Family members working inside the mission tend to be more likely to have spouses with the State Department (71 percent), and more experience with the Foreign Service lifestyle (56 percent have completed three or more tours).  Nearly six in 10 (59 percent) listed employment opportunities as extremely important in their bidding, 45 percent used GCLO services in employment in the past 12 months. They are more likely to agree they know where to go for guidance (83 percent), and less likely to feel they are confused by employment regulations at post (32 percent). They are the only group satisfied with their employment options (73 percent).

Family members employed outside the mission are 20 percent.  
Family members working outside the mission tend to be more likely to have graduate degrees (68 percent) and more experience with the Foreign Service lifestyle (56 percent have completed three or more tours).  As they do not work inside the mission, they are much less likely to agree they know where to go for guidance (67 percent), and more likely to feel they are confused by employment regulations at post (49 percent).  However, they enjoy what they do at work at the same level (87 percent) as those working inside the mission (84 percent) and feel well-informed about employment options (79 percent).

Family members looking for employment are 17 percent.  
This group can be broken out into two categories: those looking for full-time employment and those looking for part-time employment.
Looking for full-time employment: This group of family members tends to be newer to the Foreign Service community, with 39 percent in their first tour or two.  They have used GCLO employment services at rates similar to those working inside the mission, and 67 percent want to work inside a mission. Six in 10 (61 percent) listed child-related needs as extremely important in their bidding (employment was second, with 54 percent). They are more likely to be affiliated with a direct hire from a non-traditional Foreign Service agency (not State, USAID, or DoD).
Looking for part-time employment: This is a small group, seven percent of family members, which is especially new to the Foreign Service community (37% on their first tour). They are more likely to have children (74 percent) – and are less likely than other groups to have a graduate degree (39 percent). They are more likely to be affiliated with a direct hire from DoD or a non-traditional foreign service agency.

Family members not currently looking for employment are 14 percent.  
Among the 14 percent of family members who are not interested in seeking employment, more than half – 54 percent – said the reason is to spend more time with their children.  In addition, one in three, 32 percent, indicated they were too busy with other responsibilities to work, and one in five, 20 percent, said they were taking time to travel and experience their overseas location.

Satisfaction with Employment Options

Overall, half of all family members are satisfied with their employment opportunities (51 percent), and one in three are dissatisfied (34 percent). One in five are very satisfied (21 percent).

Chart detailing respondent satisfaction with employment options.

There are significant differences in satisfaction based on the employment situation of family members.  The most satisfied, by far, are those employed inside the mission, with 33 percent very satisfied and 73 percent satisfied.

Reasons Satisfied with Employment Options

Chart detailing respondents reasons for satisfaction with employment opportunities.

When asked to describe their reasons for satisfaction with employment opportunities, comments from family members included 57 percent positive comments about satisfaction and 40 percent comments about dissatisfaction. The dominant reason family members were satisfied with employment opportunities was the availability of jobs, having captured a job, or having a positive situation.

Reasons Dissatisfied with Employment Options

Chart detailing respondents reasons for dissatisfaction with employment opportunities.

Four primary themes emerged for why family members are dissatisfied with employment opportunities overseas.  The most cited theme, mentioned in 32 percent of open-ended responses, related to challenges in the process, whether in applying for jobs, getting hired or having access to apply for them. One in 10 mentioned unfairness in the application process, or in requirements, specifically a lack of transparency in the application process, and five percent mentioned the lengthy time to create jobs, and get through the application process.
A second theme, comprising nearly one in four, or 23 percent, of open-ended responses, was the lack of jobs. The third major theme, raised by 15 percent of comments, noted issues with attitudes and lack of support from various management professionals in the State Department. The fourth theme was related to poor compensation or low pay grade level.

Telework

Among family members in the Foreign Service community, nearly two in five, 36 percent, have expressed an interest at some point in teleworking.  From this group, 15 percent explored teleworking in the past, and 21 percent have investigated this recently.  Approximately half of those who have shown recent interest in teleworking are currently teleworking or plan to (11 percent) and half were unable to telework.

In discussing telework with their employer, two areas of concern were identified:

  • Administrative issues: confusion on family member’s status overseas, potential tax implications, liability and work permits.
  • Work issues: time zone differences, connection to domestic office, oversight

Charts detailing respondents exploration and employer's concerns surrounding telework.

Opportunities for Improvement

GCLO sees the need to increase awareness around the different family member employment and professional development opportunities both within the mission and outside the mission. Specifically, GCLO will aim to increase awareness amongst family members seeking opportunities outside the mission, since 67 percent of those working outside the mission reported that they were much less likely to know where to go for guidance. GCLO is developing a series of informational videos on its programs and services, including employment, which may help the 36 percent of family members working outside the mission who have never attended an employment briefing, gain further understanding about employment programs and regulations at post.

U.S. Department of State

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