This post is contributed by Karla Ahern and Kit Nordmark, Burtch Works’ marketing research and consumer insights recruiting specialists.

As we pointed out in our 2018 trends post, there are several hiring market shifts that continue to impact the marketing research and consumer insights field. Among other things, some changes in team structure have affected the hiring process, salaries have remained mostly steady, and now we have additional data on the market itself.

Research & Insights Job Changes and Tenure

As you can see, our research shows that less than one out of 10 researchers changed jobs last year, with their average tenure nearing 5 years.

Only 9% of marketing researchers changed jobs in 2017, and of those that did make a move, average tenure at their previous position was 4.7 years. Our research aims to track hiring market movement, so we include professionals that changed companies, and do not count those that were promoted or changed positions within the same company.

So how long should researchers stay at their jobs?

We tend to see researchers stay in their jobs for around 2-4 years, though professionals will often stay in their roles longer if they’re more senior or further along in their careers.

While there is no rule or “ideal” period of time to stay in any role, we always recommend focusing on learning as much as you can and gaining exposure to as much as possible in your current position. If you find that you’re no longer challenged or expanding your skillset, or don’t see opportunities for future advancement and development, then it might be time to move on.

That being said, unless it’s a particularly extreme situation, we generally advise researchers to stay in their role for at least one year. Too much jumping around or a history of leaving jobs quickly might send a signal that you’re a job hopper, which can be a red flag for hiring managers and make them hesitate to bring you on board.

What this means for companies looking to hire researchers:

Fewer professionals changing jobs and longer tenure is a boon for employee retention, but it can also mean that hiring new team members might be more difficult, so we wanted to share a few insights about why this may be happening and what can be done about it.

1. Researchers are becoming more deliberate in their career choices

We’re seeing candidates becoming even more careful and deliberate when considering their career options. Researchers are paying more attention to specifics such as industry growth or stability, team size, development, and being upfront about their career goals by asking questions to gauge opportunities for advancement.

Millennials and younger professionals are becoming increasingly selective about the companies they’ll consider joining. Many want to know more about a company’s mission, corporate social responsibility, and stance on issues important to them before they would even considering applying for a role. For many, it’s important that an opportunity and company not only resonates and appeals to them, but that it also aligns with their values.

2. Keep the interview process buttoned-up

If you want to recruit the best research professionals for your organization, you should be prepared to evaluate your interview process as well as manage expectations even before the process begins. When posting jobs, make sure the specifications and requirements of the role are clear and communicate how the position fits into the structure of the team and organization overall. Ensure the interview process is buttoned up from start to finish and clearly outline the different steps and stages for candidates. These are the kinds of things that strong candidates will evaluate!

After the interview, make decisions quickly when possible, and always be sure to close the loop – especially when cutting candidates loose. You would be surprised how many times we hear professionals mention that they had a negative experience while interviewing that really discouraged their interest in the company and left a bad taste in their mouth.

3. Be prepared to roll out the red carpet

Keeping the previous two points in mind, this means that courting candidates is more important than ever. With professionals staying in their roles longer, they’re more mindful of the career moves they do make, so small (and large!) gestures during the hiring process can go a long way.

Maybe it’s sending a welcome packet with fun company facts along with the interview schedule, or if the interviewee is traveling, it could be as easy as ensuring a seamless experience making travel arrangements or sending a pre-paid debit card in advance to cover meals and incidentals. Showing you’re invested in them as a potential employee can also help set you apart if they’re actively interviewing with other companies.

4. Tout other benefits your organization brings

Competitive salaries are always important, so come to the table with a strong offer right from the start if possible (you can learn more about marketing research salaries by downloading our latest report). Knowing there are often internal limitations or salary bands to work within, it’s a good idea to paint a clear picture of any other non-tangibles that may come with joining your organization.

Added incentives like Summer Fridays, office closure between Christmas and New Year’s, or other extras can be a nice bonus, so if your company has some of these unique benefits or perks, make sure to advertise them during the interview process. And don’t forget to make sure that HR or any recruiters know the details so that they can effectively sell your opportunity!

Whether you’re a research professional contemplating a job change or looking to hire strong researchers for your team, it’s important to have a clear picture of the hiring landscape so that you know what to look for and expect during the interviewing process.


We hope this information was helpful! Let us know what you think in the comments, and be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn (Karla Ahern and Kit Nordmark).


Learn more about salaries, demographic data, and hiring market insights on the marketing research and consumer insights field in the 12-minute RECAP video below!

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