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Market Researcher

Market Researcher

Tell me about it
Market researchers make sure the right questions are asked of the right people, to ensure that research undertaken is effective. Market research is used by government, businesses and organisations to find out the preferences of the people they are dealing with.

Researchers might work in:

  • Consumer research - covering goods and services sold to the public.
  • Industry research - covering such things as raw materials and scientific equipment sold by one business to another.
  • Social and political research – covering issues where public opinion helps the government to plan policies. This includes opinion polls.

Market researchers prepare proposals, including the target market for questioning, the research methods to be used and the projected cost. They might use quantitative research - questioning and obtaining opinions from large numbers of people in person, by telephone, post or electronic data collection, or qualitative research - involving more in-depth interviews with a small sample of people.

Entry level
While there are no particular educational requirements laid down for entry into market research, most researchers hold a degree, foundation degree or higher national diploma (HND). Useful subjects include business studies, marketing, geography, economics and psychology. A science or engineering degree may be more appropriate if you wish to specialise in industrial market research, or languages for work with international organisations.

It is helpful to have some experience of market research work, possibly from student work experience as a market research interviewer. Experience in advertising, sales and marketing, statistics or economics, can also provide a useful background.

Making the grade
Most training is on the job and through short training courses organised by professional associations, such as the Market Research Society (MRS).

The MRS is the awarding body for market, social and opinion research qualifications, including introductory and advanced certificates and the Diploma of the Market Research Society. Its three-year Professional Development Scheme, a working partnership with employers, enables you to progress through MRS qualifications at the same time as your organisation’s own training programme. Completion of the scheme means that you are eligible for full membership of the MRS.

Personal qualities
To succeed as a market researcher, you should have excellent communication skills, both spoken and written, as you would be in contact with a wide variety of people.

For quantitative research in particular, you must be able to work with data, statistics and computers, whereas specialist knowledge of an industry/type of work would be required for industry research.

Looking ahead
In an increasingly competitive business world, the work of the market researcher is becoming extremely important, and agencies concerned with consumer research have grown in number over the past few years.  Another growth area has been social research, with increased use of researchers by local and national government.

There is fierce competition to enter the profession but the rewards can be high, with good promotion prospects if you can demonstrate the right levels of drive and determination.  Later on, you could set up your own agency or head a large department for a major employer. Most posts are in London.

Alternative suggestions
Other possibilities might include: advertising executive, economist, marketing executive, public relations officer, retail manager or statistician.

Take-home pay
New market researchers usually earn between £20,000 and £25,000 a year.
Experienced executives can earn around £32,000 to £38,000, while senior market research executives may earn £50,000 or more.

Since many market research campaigns are linked to deadlines, you should be prepared for some long hours, together with working weekends and in the evenings.  There would quite likely be travelling involved, maybe abroad. 

Sources of information
Market Research Society:
Association for Qualitative Research:

Social Research Association:




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