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We approached this year’s salary data with great anticipation as the timing aligns with the economic recovery that began in Q2 of 2021. This year’s data, gathered from October 2021 through September 2022, shows that salaries for market researchers remained competitive, with mean salary increases across all levels. The strong demand for research & insights talent over the past year continued to make an impact on compensation levels in the field. Early-career researchers on the supplier-side and mid-level client-side research saw the highest jumps in compensation.

While there was significant volatility in the hiring landscape in 2020 and early 2021, we were pleased to see a continued rebound of the marketing research & insights hiring market with strong activity in the past year. Understanding potential shifts in consumer behavior is more important than ever in today’s landscape and we’ve seen robust hiring across both client-and supplier-side teams. Mirroring the broader market, there was also a wave of job search activity amongst professionals, so this shake-up has led to a very competitive market for both researchers and their employers looking to hire.

This post, which is based on the newly-released 2022 Salary Report for Marketing Research & Insights Professionals (which can be downloaded for free here), shares more about the key insights and findings from this year’s data.

Marketing Research & Insights – Candidate Sentiment Survey Results

Given the volume of professionals changing jobs along with the buzz surrounding the Great Resignation, we surveyed marketing research & insights professionals to gauge movement and priorities when considering new opportunities. At the time of fielding, over half of research & insights professionals were currently open to a move, while 46% changed jobs in the past year.

Factors lending to flexibility are still key for many job seekers. Remote work tops the list; job security and WFH flexibility are also important for many when considering a new opportunity.

The respondents of the survey spanned over 100 companies across the U.S. and included various industries. Over 43% value career growth and development road mapping when evaluating a new role, also team collaboration and leadership opportunities are important to many.

Optimizing Hiring

Given the highly competitive nature of the hiring market, it is critical for companies to implement a streamlined and transparent interview process. Clarity of the role and its responsibilities, tool usage, and day-to-day work all allow candidates to have a better understanding of role. From recent discussions with both clients and candidates, we can confidently state that the interview process has seen significant changes over the past few years as companies have begun to adopt a streamlined and effective interview process to fill open roles. 

We also see some research teams employing the use of preemptive retention bonuses or spot bonuses to recognize work on key projects, and even salary increases outside of the normal annual schedule. The use of Long-Term Incentive Plans, often offered to those at the managerial levels, are becoming popular, leading to the alignment of employee and company interest and the maintenance of institutional knowledge to avoid attrition. It is necessary to maintain relationships with company alumni, as we are aware of former employees returning their former companies.  

The Pandemic, The Great Resignation & Ongoing Market Impact

The Research & Insights field has continued to see a shifting hiring market over the past few years. The disruption of 2020 and the initial response to the global pandemic led to professionals pausing planned job searches, while many research & insights teams experienced layoffs, furloughs, or put hiring plans on hold. As the economic recovery picked up in 2021, we saw an influx of research teams looking to hire, both backfilling vacancies as well as expanding teams to keep up with increased project load. There was also massive turnover across the labor market, dubbed the Great Resignation or the Great Reshuffle, as many professionals resumed their job searches or kicked off new job hunts as the market stabilized.

This perfect storm led to the most competitive hiring market we’ve seen in years with research & insights professionals in extremely high demand throughout most of 2021-2022, and job openings outnumbering available candidates. Researchers open to new opportunities found more negotiation power when it came to salary targets, flexibility in remote/hybrid work, and many who were actively interviewing entertained numerous offers when making career decisions. After 18 months of navigating a hot hiring market, we’ve started to see things temper and regulate a bit as we approach the end of 2022. We will be interested to see what 2023 brings.

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