Membership Report June 2008

This session has seen the culmination of the Society's policy to make all members of Specialist Groups members of the Society.

In July 2007 as Chairman I wrote, via BCS HQ, to all the FSG members asking non-BCS members to join the Society as Affiliate members and asking everyone to provide a valid email address and to go onto the FSG List Server.

In January 2008 I told by BCS HQ of a special offer to non-BCS members of SGs under which they would receive a year's free Affiliate membership if they joined the Society by the end of April 2008. In late February as Chairman I emailed all the 73 non-BCS members for whom I had an email address with details of the special offer. Delivery failed for 37 of the addresses so I passed these member's details on to HQ plus those of the 39 members who did not have an email address, for them to be contacted by post. In early April I was asked to send out an email reminder of the special offer. Delivery failed for another three addresses!

The first part of Table 1 shows that in the last two sessions the number of BCS members in the Group has increased, by 9 in 2006-07 and 12 in 2007-08, while the number of ex-BCS members has shown a decrease. Some of the increases in the various BCS membership grades have come from new members joining the Group, a total of 25 between January 2007 and June 2008, while 15 existing Group members upgraded their membership. This was negated by the 8 BCS members who left the Group and the 11 FSG members who ceased to be BCS members over the same period.

The numbers of BCS staff differ between the various parts of the table because I have counted all BCS staff in the SG Membership grade category but only those who are not BCS members in the non-BCS members category. The current BCS staff on the FSG list are Mandy Bauer and John Stephens, both of whom are members of the Society. My grateful thanks goes to all the SG staff at HQ and to Lynne Sturgess, who until recently was Head of Forums and SGs, for their cheerful help in answering my persistent questions.

The number of Group members who have Chartered status from the BCS and/or the Engineering Council has shown a modest increase over the last four sessions. The number and proportion of female members peaked last year, still remaining below the average, 14%, for the BCS as a whole.

The first part of Table 2 shows that the problem of members without email addresses being on the List Server has been largely corrected. 75% of the FSG membership should now receive messages sent via the List Server. Most of the remainder have not given us a working email address

The second part of the table shows that our membership is getting older, the average age having increased by four years over the last three sessions. This is no doubt largely due to the fact that Fortran is not taught to young people any more. The fluctuations in the mode figures are due to the similar numbers of members in the age categories from the early 40s to the late 60s. The discrepancy between the total number of members aged 18 to 89 and the total number of Group members is due to not all members having their date of birth listed in the membership files.

Table 3 shows that the number of Group members with addresses outside the UK has increased only slightly over the last four sessions. The members whose address was Not Known in June 2007 were dropped from the membership list in July because we were unable to contact them by email. For June 2008 I have subdivided the overseas members into BCS and non-BCS members and it is interesting to see that 63% of the overseas FSG members are not members of the Society while for the UK FSG members only 36% are non-BCS members.

I was expecting to see all our non-BCS members dropped from the membership file in June but it has not happened yet (it happened at the end of July). I am pleased that the proportion of BCS members has increased from 58% in 2004 to 60% in 2008 but it is a small increase for all the effort which I and the BCS HQ staff have put in. From probably next month BCS HQ will be sending out a welcome message in the name of the Membership Secretary to all new members of the Group, one less task for the Membership Secretary to do!

Peter Crouch
11th June 2008
revised 14th September 2008

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