How to attract talent to market research

I’ve had several conversations recently with people who have lamented that new graduates aren’t drawn to their sector. “No one leaves university wanting to work in [insert profession here]” is a familiar phrase to many. It’s often been said of market research too, with many researchers falling into the profession by happy accident.

Let’s take a look at the RbD team. As you’d expect, we started with a wide range of childhood dreams: farmer, journalist, and scientist are all on the list.

                 Career aspirations

By university our interests are more aligned: we have 2 sociology graduates, a human biologist, geneticist and statistician amongst us. With such aligned interests in understanding people and analysing data it’s no surprise that we have fallen upon the same industry, and that we are all very passionate about what we do. However, not one of us intentionally set upon this path.  

There can be many reasons that a profession is not top of mind for young talent. Perhaps they don’t see the connection between the profession and the tasks and skills they enjoy. Perhaps there are some misperceptions about the profession. The Market Research Society, for example, has worked hard to replace the perception that researchers spend their days stood in the street wielding a clipboard with a more accurate understanding of the impact research has had on everything from the advertising strategy for many famous brands to the format of the Premier League.

At worst case, perhaps new talent isn’t even aware that they could choose a certain career. With so many seemingly glamorous industries promoting themselves during the Milk round, it is easy to be drowned out. I recently took Prospect’s short test to find out which careers I would be suited to. Although I was relieved to find market research a good match at 93%, a whole host of other careers were suggested first. (Those registered with can take the test here Prospects).

So, I’m laying down a challenge to the market research profession, and to the membership associations representing the many other professions that share our pain. With a new year on the horizon let’s seek to promote our professions and share our passion for them with the next generation of new talent. Be that through graduate roadshows and careers fairs, working directly with relevant university courses, or promoting the profession to the general public, the opportunities are there, we just need to take them. 

By Rebecca Wilkes, Associate Director

This entry was posted in Market research, Work placement, tagged Communication, Recruitment and posted on November 16, 2015

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