Supporting and working alongside more senior recruitment consultants, as a research consultant you'll be responsible for collecting, analysing and presenting data in a variety of formats.
Your research data would then help employers to market their vacancies as best they can.
So, what will I actually be doing?
Daily, you might be tasked with interviewing employees, both existing and potential. You'd be using a range of surveys including employee engagement, exit interviews, compliance surveys and action planning.
Researching, of course, would be your main duty. If you were starting a research project for a client, for example, you might start with creating a strategy, then move onto compiling reports and summaries of the data gathered ensuring its absolute accuracy.
You'll frequently work alongside company directors and consultants, whether within your organization or for a client. As a research consultant, the invaluable information you provide will help them to make informed decisions.
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The nitty gritty
From Monday to Friday, you'd typically work from 9am to 5pm. Mainly office-based, your role may include travel to visit clients or business associates - and may involve some out of office hours if you're on a deadline.
There are thousands of recruitment agencies in the United Kingdom. And they all deal with different industries and specialism’s in the job market.
If you start your recruitment career in a general agency, without focusing on a specialist field, you can transfer your skills over if you decide to follow a more structured path.
With experience, and typically with larger companies, the potential to move up the career ladder can feel more structured. Promotion into a consultancy, business development or management role is a real possibility - especially if you're consistently delivering, or exceeding, targets and making a big impression on clients and candidates alike.
Or if you prefer the idea of going solo, then you could choose to set up your own agency.
Money, money, money
As a research consultant your basic salary ranges between £15,000 and £23,000 a year, plus commission depending on location (jobs in London often have higher remuneration.)
With experience, your salary could increase to between £20,000 and £30,000, depending on the organisation, plus commission.
At senior levels, your salary could then increase to £40,000 - £50,000.
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The good points...
If you're interested in a particular field, or your expertise lies in a specific area, there are many opportunities to drill down to this level of detail with your work as a research consultant.
...and the bad
Along with the research aspects of your work, the role itself may also include tedious administration and long consultation tasks.
Is there study involved?
Depending on the type of role you go for, there are no specific academic qualifications to become a research consultant - but many employers would be looking for qualifications or a degree in a numerate subject, such as mathematics or statistics.
Experience is an advantage, as with any job, and can include work in personnel, sales or office roles as well as more obvious research positions dealing with statistics and data analysis.
Joining a large agency, you're likely to find in-house training programmes to give you the skills you need to progress on your career path. These may include a combination of on-the-job training and courses run by the recruitment agency staff themselves. External courses are also popular and plentiful, and are generally run by the industry body Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
The REC offers two awards, available through distance learning:
The Foundation Award in Recruitment Practice: Ideal for the first two years in the industry, or if you wish to refresh basic knowledge and skills. If you want to embark on a career in recruitment or set up your own agency, you could also take the Award.
The Certificate in Recruitment Practice: With at least one years' experience, you can go for the Certificate; or if you have less experience, but have studied for A levels/H grades, a degree or equivalent.
The REC also offers a range of professional development short courses covering subjects such as sales, interview techniques, employment law, finance and management.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
To be a good research consultant, you must:
- Have good interpersonal skills
- Have excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Look smart
- Be able to cope with pressure
- Be able to deal with various tasks at once
- Have good organisational and administrative skills
- Have excellent data processing and IT skills
- Be numerate
- Have strong attention to detail
Most employers will expect you to have very good IT skills, especially using databases and other software applications.