What is a Market researcher?
Market researchers are responsible for analysing data and information to help business clients to make the correct and informed decisions. This will be a mix of both quantitative and qualitative data.
Usually, market researchers are employed by large agencies, particularly marketing, where work is carried out for a portfolio of clients across different industries. However, sometimes market researchers can be employed directly by a company, where they will collect information on customer experience, opinion and trends as well as investment and marketing trends.
Types of market research –
You’ll specialise in either:
- Quantitative research – involves working with statistics and percentages and can deliver quick results.
- Qualitative research – where you’ll analyse opinions and can provide the reasons behind certain percentages. This is a longer process and can sometimes take years to complete.
There can be some variation in responsibilities depending on whether you work for an agency or client-side, however, you’ll generally need to:
- Meet and liaise with clients to negotiate and agree on research projects
- Prepare briefs and commission research
- Formulate plans or proposals to present to your client or senior management
- Write and manage the distribution of surveys and questionnaires
- Brief interviewers and researchers
- Liaise with and manage survey staff
- Moderate focus groups
- Undertake ethnographic research (observing people in their homes and other environments)
- Conduct qualitative or quantitative surveys, which may involve field, interview or focus group assessments
- Use statistical software to manage and organise information
- Monitor the progress of research projects
- Analyse and interpret data to identify patterns and solutions, including surveys and focus group transcripts
- Write detailed reports and present results
- Advise clients or senior management on how to best use research findings
- Manage budgets.
Typical starting salaries for market researchers are between £20,000 to £25,000. Once you gain more experience your salary can rise to £25,000 to £35,000. More senior market researchers can earn between £40,000 to £70,000+.
You may also be eligible for additional benefits such as bonus packages and perks including life insurance, medical insurance and gym memberships.
For those who work in-house, you will generally be working 9am to 5pm with some late nights or weekend work to meet project deadlines. It’s common for qualitative researchers to have to work evenings and weekends so they have a better chance of contact with their respondents.
Career breaks and secondments may be possible if you’re working for larger organisations, particularly if your role is client-side.
What to expect
- You may be desk-based but some market researchers do travel nationally and occasionally internationally to visit client organisations and to complete their research.
- Self-employment or freelance work is sometimes possible with significant experience. For self-employment, this usually means having acquired around ten years of experience and a good network of contacts.
- Short-term contracts are available via recruitment agencies, although these are generally for more senior market research posts.
- Most opportunities with market research firms are in London and the South East of England but client-side posts are generally available nationwide.
- This can be a fast-paced, high-pressure role due to the tight deadlines, but it’s also challenging, varied and rewarding.
- Competition for jobs is strong. Speculative approaches can be more successful than relying on advertised vacancies. Consider applying for market research assistant posts first.
The expectation is that candidates wanting to go into market research will have a degree and will possess skills such as communication and analysis.
If you want to get into quantitative research, the following subjects are useful:
- Business or management
For qualitative research, it is helpful to have a degree in a subject such as:
- Social sciences
Degrees in marketing, English and languages are also useful but a variety of degrees are often accepted by employers.
must have skills:
You’ll need to show:
- Interpersonal skills, with strong written and oral communication skills
- Good analytical and numerical skills
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- The ability to use initiative
- Excellent organisational skills
- Business awareness
- Creativity and problem-solving skills
- Teamwork and negotiation skills
- Flexibility and drive
- IT literacy
- An interest in psychology and behaviour.
Pre-entry experience in areas such as research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques will be helpful. You can get relevant work experience through work placements, shadowing or volunteering and a range of market research agencies offer structured placement opportunities.
You are most likely to find employment within an agency or consultancy. These specialist agencies will work with multiple organisations including businesses, advertising and PR agencies, local and central government and charities. You will be able to work on several research projects which are commissioned by these organisations.
Agencies range in size from two to several hundred employees and are often located in and around London.
There is also the option to work client-side, where market researchers work within industrial and commercial organisations, such as manufacturing, pharmaceutical and retail companies. Instead of doing the research yourself, you may be responsible for coordinating the research on behalf of the company.
During your employment, you will be provided with on the job training, with support from more experienced colleagues. If you have been to university some larger urgencies will have graduate training schemes which usually run for two years. External courses are also available that are specifically designed for those seeking a career in market research.
Progression in market research can be fairly quick, with many working their way up to senior positions within two or three years of entry. Promotions will be based on performance, professional qualifications, experience and specialism.
You’ll often progress to research executive, before moving on to senior researcher and finally advancing to the role of account director.
You will also be responsible for all communication with clients, presenting your work, as well as project and team management.
Undergraduate related courses:
Postgraduate related courses:
Students of the MSc in Project Management programme will gain an understanding of current issues in project management through engaging with contemporary theory and case studies.
Over the course of three terms (1-year, full time), students will develop their critical thinking, problem-solving and analysis skills through a range of compulsory modules and electives. Available modules include change management and leadership, strategic management and sustainability, and professional practice.
Studying these modules allows students to gain a clear insight into the practicalities of project management in different industries and prepare them for a career in this field.