Market researcher job description

Like spreadsheets and collecting data? Then we've got the perfect marketing job for you.

A role in market research is all about data. As the name suggests, you'll plan, implement, control, analyse and report on information that you gather. The data you collect will normally revolve around what organisations or people buy, need, do or think and the reasons why.


So, what will I actually be doing?

Other responsibilities could include:

  • Investigating market activity
  • Analysing published data and statistics
  • Evaluating past performance of a product or service's sales
  • Assessing future trends
  • Commissioning surveys
  • Co-ordinating research projects

Market research executives and managers usually work for market research consultancies or in-house marketing / research departments. And this can span practically any industry.

Depending on the sector, audience and purpose of market research, there are a number of methods you would use. Quantitative research involves questioning large numbers of people by telephone and postal surveys, plus interviews in person.

While qualitative research uses focus groups and in-depth interviews to glean information. In addition, electronic data collection involves compiling statistics that are already available, such as company records.

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The finer details...

A role within market research means working fairly standard hours - typically 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Weekend work is possible, especially as a market research interviewer. In some positions extra hours may be required as deadlines approach.

While mainly office based, some roles could task you with client visits.

There are many opportunities within market research agencies, as well industrial or commercial organisations, advertising agencies and government/social research bodies.

You can also move towards advertising and marketing. If you'd prefer to work for yourself, freelance work is common and also as a self-employed market researcher, you could set up your own agency.

Money, money, money

As an interviewer, your starting salary will be around £10,000 while agency staff are paid around £30 for a six hour day.

In other areas of office-based market research you'd be starting on £15,000 to £20,000 a year which, with experience, would rise to around £28,000.

In senior positions, your salary could increase to £40,000 to £50,000.

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The good points...

Competition for jobs is fierce, but possibilities for promotion are excellent if you have the right ambition and abilities.

...and the bad

Some days may involve large amounts of street work or canvassing, so wear your most comfortable shoes.

Is there study involved?

There are no set academic qualifications required to enter market research, but in some roles, such as an executive or analyst position, qualifications will help your application.

Most subjects are acceptable, in particular those that demonstrate strong communication or analytical skills. Subjects including numeracy and statistics, such as business studies, maths and economics are useful for quantitative research; psychology, sociology and anthropology are ideal for qualitative research.

science or engineering degree may be appropriate for industrial market research. Languages are an advantage for international work.

Employers will often be looking for good personal qualities, including confidence, a friendly manner and excellent communication skills. Experience in other marketing fields such as sales or advertising, statistics, economics or maths could be an advantage.

There are a range of qualifications including the Market Research Society (MRS) Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research practice that you can take as an entry-level qualification.

They can be taken as part of a course of further or higher education, or independently. Courses cover areas such as data collection methods, research and survey design, information and data analysis, and ethical issues.

MRS also runs a Professional Development Scheme. It's a working partnership between employers and MRS, involving an in-house training programme. NVQs/SVQs in Marketing Research are also available.

The Association for Qualitative Research Practitioners (AQR) offers a foundation course for those entering qualitative research. If you have work experience before you enter, this is a particular advantage.

You can also do a postgraduate course in marketing, statistics, or social research. And Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) are available to anyone aged between 16 and 24.

OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

To be successful in market research, you must have:

  • An analytical mind
  • Strong knowledge of statistics and computers
  • An ability to handle data to work in quantitative research
  • An interest in psychology and behavioural science for qualitative research
  • Specific scientific or technical knowledge to work as an industrial researcher
  • Confidence when dealing with a wide variety of people
  • The ability to take responsibility and handle pressure
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to give clear instructions
  • Accurate and clear written skills when producing questionnaires and reports
  • Methodical and well organised
  • Good numerical, analytical and problem-solving skills 
  • Commercial awareness for work with corporate clients
  • Excellent people skills and a friendly manner


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