Imagine this. You’ve landed a dream job in a field you’ve always wanted to work in. That’s great. Right? Even if this is the case, you probably don’t want to remain in the same position all your life.

Pursuing safety career advancement is never easy because many people don’t have a plan or don’t know where they’re going. They’re kind of flying by the seat of their pants.

This was when I decided to run a survey to help many people manage and plan their profession and safety careers.

In this episode, I review what I learned about you and how safety managers think about their own profession and safety career advancement. Let’s talk about survey results!


So 90% of you who take the survey are managers or below. And 10% are directors and above. And what it showed was that most of the managers wanted to move up to be a regional safety manager or a director. Or manages a team of multiple safety specialists.  And most of the new safety managers wanted to move up to the manager level.

So do you see how people in our profession have goals to get to the next level and the next level? And this is where I think they need to learn how to get to that next level. The quickest way possible. Right?


If you’re not using a career coach, then how do you know how to move up in your career? 

And 47% of you said that. Some of you mainly get information from safety organizations or ask for advice from your friends or family. Which I think will not be a big help because getting guidance from a career coach and creating a solid career plan might be the way to go. Believe me, I did get one, and it helped me a lot.


Who are you networking with? How are you networking? 

And those types of things, and only 55% are actively networking. They’re going out and networking. And those of you who are actively networking, only 30% of you are doing it regularly, and 70% are either occasional or not really.

And the success of your career can be measured by the size of your network. So being in a healthy network is so crucial to your career trajectory. And the healthy network is one where you are actively helping and mentoring each other. You have regular connections with people doing similar work to you.

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What next career advancement are you planning to achieve? Do you already have a solid plan in mind? If you listen to my podcast, I hope that I helped you plan where you want to go next in your career. Make a progress report on your career development and share more advice that might help our safety friends.

59 - Survey Results

Safety Brye: [00:00:00] Recently, I asked you to complete a 20 question, multiple choice survey about professional development, a big shout out to everyone who participated. I was blown away with the results. So now let's announce those winners and let me share the interesting thing. That I learned about you. Let's get to it.

Hey, there, safety friends. Welcome to the safety geek podcast. I'm Brye Sargent CSP and 20 year safety professional. After spending years training safety leaders across the globe for a large corporation. And creating safety programs from the ground up, over and over again, I am now sharing my processes and strategies with you at the safety geek, you will learn how to manage an effective safety program that increases your management support and employee engagement all the while helping you elevate your position and move up in your career.

If you're ready

[00:01:00] to step into the role of a safety, influencer and leader, you're in the right place, let's get to it.

hello? Hello? Hello. Hi safety friends. How are you doing this as Brye, your number one safety geek? How's everybody's day going? I will tell you about two episodes ago, I was talking to you about an idea that I had for creating a community centered around professional development. And I asked you to go to a survey link and take a quick survey.

I also share this on various social media networks. I also emailed it out to the group. It was a way for me to kind of get some feedback from you because I have this hypothesis and I have this idea of something I want to create, but I'm not really sure if it was going to be something you were

[00:02:00] interested in. So today I want to talk about the results and what I think they mean.

And at the same time, I'm going to announce the winners of the Amazon gift cards. Because I did say if you take the survey, you get entered to win some gift cards, but you'll have to stick around to the end to see if you are a winner. Alrighty. So first let's recap what I was thinking. Originally, what I had said was that I was thinking about you and I was thinking about your career.

And I was thinking about like, how can I help you? So I have a lot of people that come into my world at varying different stages and. I'm like, how can I help them at whatever stage they are particularly at? And I was very lucky in my career, very early on in my career to have the opportunity to work with a career coach who basically set up a plan for me. What I have realized is that a lot of people don't have that plan.

A lot of people don't know where they're going. They're kind of flying by the seat of their pants. And I was

[00:03:00] like, wait a minute. You know, like when I first started the safety geek. I actually reached out to the people who know me best and said, what am I good at? Like, what am I really, really good at the, I am your go-to person.

That I should create a business around an organization and processes and strategy was definitely top of the list. But another one that was on the list was career counseling. And I was like, oh, that's kind of weird, but I have created leaders and those leaders had turned around and created leaders and people do ask me about their career advice.

And I kind of have an idea of exactly what you need to do to move up. So when you put that together with a professional development network, I was like, Hmm, maybe this is something I should. So I posted it on social. I talked to you guys about it here on the podcast. I sent out the survey before I give you the final results.

What I thought is I would dive into all the little things that I learned about you, because this is [00:04:00] the way that survey and statistics work is that you don't need to survey 100% of your audience. You just need enough of them, that the numbers start to merge together and they become. You know, that it doesn't matter who answers if 10 more people answer the stats never change.

That's how you know that your survey is giving you accurate results. And it was really interesting watching the numbers come in, because at first you just get a trickle one or two. But when I hit about 10 or 15 people that had responded, I looked at the percentages and I, and I mark them down. Those percentages never changed.

So even though lots and lots of people answered the survey, I was really happy with the amount of people who answered the survey. I probably could have stopped it at 10 people because the results never changed. So that means that my sample. For my survey is indicative to [00:05:00] the entire population of safety managers, at least in the U S because you guys are my target audience, since I know how things are in the U S so anyway, I think that that's pretty interesting.

And it's definitely something to think about when you're surveying your employees at your workplace. Like, let's say you have 200 employees. Yeah. It would be great. If you got 200 surveys because law of large numbers, the more you get the more accurate results. But what you'll find, if you watch the surveys come in, it will hit a point where the percentages never change the percentage of the answers.

They just never change. And that means that your sample size at that point was big enough. Maybe you only need to survey 20 people. Or 50 people in order to get an answer to whatever it is. Your question is, as you were developing that. So. Neat little thing I learned in psychological research. So anyway, let's dive into the results.

So the first section was just about your job title and where you want to go in the future. And I found this extremely interesting. 90% of my [00:06:00] audience is. Uh, safety manager or below, and this is how you classified yourself. Now, I generally look at you guys as in different levels of your career, where you are either a rookie, which don't take offense.

If I call you a rookie or a green horn or a newbie, I know some people take offense at that term, but I don't know what else to call you. Maybe like you're just starting out, but that's like a really long phrase. I like one word. And working means that maybe it was just dumped on your, in your lap. You're in your first couple of months of being a safety manager, you don't stay in the rookie stage for very long.

Uh, so don't worry about being called a rookie. All right. So I feel like you start out as a rookie, like you're brand new to safety. Like what the heck is a safety thing, right. For me, it would have been when I saw the sign on the door at my first few days in safety. Right. And then next is a specialist.

Now I know some people have specialists in their job title, but they're actually doing a manager's role. So the way I see a specialist is that this is a person who is

[00:07:00] just learning safety. They are, they kind of know a little bit of it. They can do some of the tasks, but they're not really developing programs and implementing programs and making major changes within their workplace.

And then there's managers who to me are actually running the safety program, they are doing all the parts of it. And then from there you have directors who are like directing over multiple locations, directing it for the entire organization, directing a team of safety managers, that type of thing. So that's kind of how I like to split people up.

So 90% of you guys are managers or below. And 10% are directors and above. Um, so thank you for being here directors. So, but what I thought was funny was that all the managers, where they wanted to go was to be a regional safety manager or a director, all the specialists where they wanted to go. It was to be a manager or managing a multiple team of safety [00:08:00] specialists and all the rookies where they wanted to go was to be at the manager level.

So do you see how the desires of people in our profession out there is that they just want to go to the next level and to the next level? And this is where my thinking of, they need to learn how to get to that next level. The quickest way possible. Right? So the next little tidbit, was it only 3% of you have ever worked with a career coach, which I guess my naivete on that, because I had the opportunity when I was so young and I know so many career coaches, I just kind of thought more people would have done that.

But 19% of you didn't even know that this was a thing. So I like this because to me that tells me like, this is a needed educational piece. Like you guys need to understand that this is a thing you want to move up in your career, getting guidance from a career coach might be the way to go, but you just need to figure out who and get access to [00:09:00] them.

Then I'm like, if you're not using a career coach, then how are you knowing how to move up in your career? And 47% of you said that. They mainly get information from safety organizations, but here's the thing about safety organizations like national safety council. Um, I'm not sure which other ones you might follow out there, but I know national safety council, cause I was a member for quite a while and I've spoke there.

They focus mainly on regulations. Those, those organizations are not really focused on your career advancement. They do do professional development training, but that training is once again, focused on how on regulations not like, what do you need to do to move up in your career? And in 42% are getting their advice from friends and family, which I just kind of look at going.

I understand that. But are they experts in this profession or is your friend or family? A safety director. I mean, if [00:10:00] they are, then they can give you some good advice, but if not, then basically it just solidifies my idea that you need a guide. You need a plan. You need that roadmap that I was talking about in that previous episode.

So then I asked, you know, what's stopping you besides the fact of like, you don't have a plan and you don't really know what to do. And this was very interesting to me because so many people said that they believed that they need to have a degree. To move up. And so many people said that they didn't feel experienced enough to move up in their career, or they felt like they were stuck in their current location because they had these location constraints.

They couldn't move up in their career. And I think that that is just not true. So let me tell you my situation. First off, I dropped out of college four times in my twenties, and I did not go back to college until I was over [00:11:00] 40 years old. And I had already been in the profession for 20, nearly 20 years and had already run a global region of 39 locations.

I didn't get my degree until after that and stuck in a location. I live in a town that actually suppressed industrial growth. We are a service industry town. Only recently, have they started to let industry into my town. So for the longest time I used to say, the only place I can work in town is going to be two places.

And one of them, I was already the safety director at, I always think that's funny. And, and for the longest time it was, it was also, um, very salary suppressed to like our average salary in my town was below poverty. So. If I can do this where I am without a degree, then I know you can. So the whole location thing just kinda makes me feel like maybe that's not true, but that's what is [00:12:00] stopping you.

And maybe you need some help with that. All right. So then I asked, how are you planning for this? Like, you know, that you want to move up in your career, so what's your budget? What are you playing? And 45% of, you said you budget $1,500 a year or more. Some people were up in the 3000 plus range and I'm good for you, right.

But then what are the other 55% doing? Like likely they're doing nothing right. Or they're waiting for their employer to step in and pay for it for them. So I did some research on this and Capterra who I cannot remember exactly what Capterra does, but Capterra and their research. They said that professionals in the workplace should allocate one to 5% of their annual salary towards continuing education.

So the average salary for a safety manager is a hundred thousand dollars a year. So that means 1000 to $5,000 a year should be allocated [00:13:00] in your budget to continuing education. I found that really interesting. I also find it interesting that the national safety council says the average salary is a hundred thousand.

Cause I haven't really talked to them and the safety managers that are there. And that makes me wonder why aren't they, you know?. And, and actually in that survey, like 47% of safety managers made over a hundred thousand dollars a year. But if you go to the bureau of labor statistics, it says it's the average salary of 72,000.

And if you go to, I think it's like 78,000. And I know as I'm saying these numbers, a lot of you are a lot lower than that because most people I speak to are more in the $55,000 range. So what I want to do is help bridge that gap. Let me get you to that a hundred thousand dollar range. And we'll talk about that in the future as well, because there's some really great research about how much you need to make in a year to be happy.

And of course, where you live is going to make a difference as well. Like you need to make more if you're living in New York city or California than you do live in, in [00:14:00] my little town here in central Florida. Right. But another crucial career development point that I brought up in the survey was network.

Like, who are you networking with? How are you networking? And those types of things, and only 55% are actively networking. They're actually going out and networking. And those of you that are actively networking, only 70% of you are actually only 30% of you are doing it on a regular basis. 70% or either occasional or like not really.

And the success of your career can actually be measured by the size of your network. So you're in a healthy network is so important to the trajectory of your career. And healthy network is one where you are actively helping and mentoring each other. You have regular connections with people doing similar work than you.

And in this day and [00:15:00] age, it has never been easier to network, especially if you can get into a group that is like a smaller group within the same niche of the work that you're doing, and actually developing ways to connect and share information. Alrighty. So let's move on to what you're actually doing to your employer's involvement.

And this was the shocker to me. And that was that 65% of you are depending upon your employer to dictate what you can and cannot do for your own career development. You're handing over the power of your career development to somebody else, somebody who has their interests in mind and not yours. That will limit what you can go do, which I think is extremely interesting.

Now I'm all about free training. I'm all about my employer paying for my training. Don't get me wrong if they will. That's great, but that is not what should [00:16:00] make the decision. So if I want to be certified in, I don't know, ergonomics or something, and my employer goes well, that's a $10,000 certification.

We're not paying for that. So does that mean that you never get certified in ergonomics? It's crazy because if you got certified you'd actually then maybe be able to move into a different position. Maybe be able to make more money, be more valuable in the, in the workforce, but because your employer is not paying for it, you're not going to get certified.

And then you lose that skill. That's basically what it's saying now. Like I said, I'm all about employers paying for stuff. I just don't. I don't agree that that should be the final say. So whether or not they pay for it should never be the decision as to whether or not you take that class. That course, that certification that you need to keep you at the top of your game.

And here's the other interesting thing. So I was talking to someone the other day and [00:17:00] she said, she, she brought up, why is it bad when an employer pays for training? And that's what I just told you is what I brought up to them. And they said, another problem is that then it creates an obligation between the employee and the employer.

That a lot of times when you go to trainings, you learn things, you're networking with other people, you learn things. And then all of a sudden you want to quit your job. You realize maybe you're not being treated so well, or you're not being paid so well. And then you want to quit your job, but you feel obligated now because they just paid $2,000 for that training for you.

So that's an interesting way to look at it as well. All right. So I want to tell you a story. It was way back in like 2001, 2002. I went to a conference in Washington, DC for the American trucking association. It was a really exciting for me because my employer was paying for it. They shipped me off to DC, gets, spent a whole week hobnobbing with safety professionals and learning everything I can about [00:18:00] trucking and safety.

And I loved it. And one of the things I learned while I was there. Was how grossly underpaid I was. I don't even know how the conversation came up when I was at this conference, but I literally was the lowest paid person in the group of safety managers that I happened to be talking to, which then that opened up my eyes to start talking to other people.

And I ended up going back to my boss going, guess what I learned at this conference? And I got to have that nice little salary negotiation conversation, which eventually ended up with me leaving because they would never really raise my, my pay to where I was getting paid. What I deserved now that I knew what I deserve.

So this is another conflict when employers pay for things, they kind of look at it like, what if you learned something to where then you end up [00:19:00] quitting? So something to keep in mind that I thought was an interesting fact. Now, the other thing that I found in this survey was that 30% of you. I don't even know what your employer's budget is.

So you're basically just playing it by ear and being like, I don't know what the budget is. Maybe they'll let me go. And maybe they won't and 35% of you, the budget, your employer's giving you is less than the recommended amount by Capterra to keep your skills current. And this is another reason why you don't want to wait on them to pay for things, because they're not going to give you the amount that you need to keep your skills, where they need to.

So I found this extremely eye opening. Another thing that I asked about was where were you going for training and the most popular choice by more than double digits was online courses that a lot of you are just going to online courses to learn what you need. So things [00:20:00] like safety management academy, that is my shameless plug.

So if you're interested, go to safety management and I will teach you the processes of being a safety manager. So I found that really interesting because I have always gone to conferences is my main thing. Just because you can learn so much in a short period of time, or I like to go to live workshops as well, but the online course community is just getting so much better.

So I love to see that that is improving. And then I started to ask you questions about a professional development community and what you thought about it. Would you join what needed to be included? Overwhelming 100% of the people who answered my survey said that they would join, or they would consider joining a professional development community for safety managers.

And 90% of you said it would be worth it enough that you would actually pay for it to be part of that community. So thank you. That's what I [00:21:00] was thinking. And then I asked you what you would want to see within this community. And first off was you wanted to know where to go for training. So where to go for that continuing education, where, what training resources are available out there in the world.

And then the other two, and these were overwhelmingly the top choices that people had other than training resources was a roadmap to get you from where you are now to where you want to be an advanced safety training. And these two being that they were both so high up compared to everything else that people said they wanted.

It really got me curious. And I'm like, what is the through line there? Like, is it that you want advanced safety training? Because you believe that when you have those skills, you will be more valuable in the workplace. You will be able to move up in your career. Not that that isn't true, but I'm wondering if that's what you're thinking.

Or maybe [00:22:00] you want it just because you want a certification or you want to get that VPP star or that ISO certification or, or whatever it is, whatever that advanced safety training, what do you think that advanced safety training will get you? And is it part of that roadmap? Right. So I thought it was really curious that those two ended up at the top and the next thing was Q and a sessions, uh, having people to go to, to ask questions.

And then lastly was career development training. So I thought that that was really good too overall. I think that my hypothesis was true. Uh, overall I think that our profession is in need of a community that is focused on your personal career development. And this is what is so interesting is that the professional development of a safety manager does not necessarily mean they stay in safety.

I know so many safety managers who have moved on to an operations role for one operations tends to pay [00:23:00] more. Like I knew operations managers making like 250,000 a year, but when you, when you start an operations role with a foundation of a safety manager, You end up being more successful. So professional career development, whether you're going to be in safety forever or not is still a necessary thing.

So this is why I am going to be launching the safety network. Very, very soon. So, if you want to get on the wait list for that, it's going to be coming out really, really soon. You just go to the safety forward slash P D N professional development network, P D N. And you can get on the wait list. So that way you make sure that you are told when this is open and you can enroll.

And I'm hoping to get this. All together within the next two weeks. So I'm taking all of this information that you guys have given me in this survey and I'm crafting this community so that it encompasses all of those needs. And this entire week I've literally been in [00:24:00] talks with experts in the fields of LinkedIn.

Resumes interviewing career development, leadership skills. So that way I can bring experts in to this community and you can learn from them. So it's not just the safety Brye show the entire time you will actually learn from other experts in the field. And this will be a membership that will give you so much work.

And it will encompass not just your career development, but advanced safety training. That your boss will pay for it, but if they won't pay for it, which I know some won't, it will pay for itself over time. As you learn how to move up in your career, if you're not at that hundred K level yet. And you're at the $55,000 level, what about joining a network that will help you get to that a hundred thousand dollars level?

It helps you pay for that. And unlike other memberships training is included. This isn't like, join my membership and then you have to pay for training on top [00:25:00] of it with some like fancy discount, because you're a member. I don't do that stuff. Every month, you will have a variety of training topics that are expertly crafted to help you move through the roadmap, to get you to where you want to be.

So make sure you join the waiting list. It forward slash P D N. Alrighty. So let's announce the winners. Now, all the people that answered the survey, I downloaded the list and I randomized it in a. Xcel and the people have floated up to the top are the winners. And I will be sending you an email by the end of this week saying thank you.

And that you won. And then you should be getting an email from Amazon for your gift card. So the winners for, um, for this are Norma, I'm not going to give out last names, but you had a email address, Chris C [00:26:00] Duncan, K Erica H. And Matthew M. Now, if I did not call your name, you might be thinking, oh shoot, I didn't win.

I never went either. So I totally get how you feel, but there may be another opportunity for you. So I still want to get some more information to really help me fine tune this new community I'm building. So I will be reaching out to a few of you who answered the survey and asking you to hop on a call with me and in exchange, I will give you an Amazon gift card.

So be sure that you check your email. It would be coming from possibly support. I don't know, but anyway, it'll be coming from the safety I will shoot you a link to my calendar, and I would love to chat with you more about this professional development network. So once again, if you want to join the wait list that is forward slash P D N.

And that is all I have for you this week. Guys, I will chat with you again next week. And I look forward to seeing [00:27:00] you in the new. Bye for now. Hey, if you're just getting started in safety or you've been at this for a while and are hitting a roadblock, then I want to invite you to check out safety management academy.

This is my in-depth online course that not only teaches you the processes and strategies of an effective safety management program, but how to intertwine management support and employee participation throughout your processes. Are you ready to finally understand? Exactly what you should be doing and ditch that safety police hat forever.

Then you have got to join me and your fellow safety scholars over at safety management academy. Just go to forward slash SMA to learn more and to get started. That's forward slash S M A. And I will see you. And our next students only live session. Bye for now.[00:28:00]

Highlights From This Episode:

  • Where To Go Next in Your Career?
  • Planning Career Advancement
  • Importance of Career Coach
  • How Networking is Helpful to Career Development

Links Mentioned:


It’s never easy to advance your career. Right? So, what are your thoughts about the important things that I mentioned for your career advancement? Will it be a big help or not? Please share your answers in the comment below.

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Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)!  I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience.  Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world.   I would love to help you too.

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