Industry Insights

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2021 Marketing Research Hiring Survey Results Q1 and Q2

February 16, 2021

This post is contributed by the Burtch Works research & insights recruiting team.As we move further into the new year, many of the marketing researchers and employers we’ve spoken with recently have wondered whether the gradual economic recovery is impacting hiring plans in the research & insights space.

Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Hiring in 2021

Hoping to measure this, we sent out our annual flash survey to our network asking marketing research & consumer insights teams to describe their hiring plans for the first half of 2021.

According to our respondents, which represented nearly 60 companies across the US, we found that 64% of research & insights teams are planning to hire during Q1 or Q2 of 2021, 30% of teams are holding steady, and 6% are cutting back.Right now, we’re in a recovering economic climate, and overall, we are seeing hiring trends are starting to pick up quickly. There is a possibility that some of this hiring increase might still be attributed to filling empty roles after COVID-19 cutbacks, but from many of our conversations with research teams, many organizations had already resumed their hiring sometime last year.

Types of Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Hiring in 2021

Anecdotally, we’ve recently noticed an increase in requests for contract roles to expand an insights team without adding permanent headcount, so we added a new question to the survey this year to inquire specifically about what type of hiring is in the plans.

We found that 43% of teams are seeking permanent staff, 8% are looking for contract staff only, and 13% of teams are hiring for both permanent and contract positions. Notably, this means that even most teams planning to hire contract staff are still hiring for permanent positions as well.While we don’t yet have numbers from previous years to compare, this will be an interesting point to monitor going forward so we can see if there is any shift towards more contract hiring. This includes contract hiring for project-based work and contract to hire scenarios.

Motivation for Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Hiring in 2021

We also like to gauge teams’ motivation for hiring, whether the primary goal is to increase the size of the team through adding to headcount, or whether they’re focused on backfilling roles left vacant due to attrition.

For 2021, we found that 47% of teams are actively trying to increase and grow their teams, 36% are primarily focused on backfilling, and 19% are looking for temporary or project-based hiring. Since this question changed slightly from last year (we added the temp/project category), the numbers are not exactly comparable, but we’ll be tracking this in the future. The focus on backfilling and temp/project work may mean that some of the anticipated hiring for last year was suddenly put on hold and more teams are primarily focused catching up to support current business demands.

Research & Insights Career and Hiring Resources

Thinking about a career move this year, or looking to add to your team? Here are a few resources that might be helpful.1. Check out our latest salary report for marketing research! This post has highlights from our most recent salary report, including how salaries break down by experience, client- vs supplier-side, and much more. You can also download the full report for free here. 2. Check out these developing hiring market trends – This post shares our observations on developing COVID-19 trends in the marketing research space, including changes to the interview process, the ongoing impacts of layoffs on negotiating, and other important considerations for job seekers as well as those looking to hire. 3. Looking for new opportunities? Click here to view our active job openings that we would love to discuss with you in more detail. You can also submit your resume here.4. Looking to find talent? Want to talk hiring strategy and see how the Burtch Works team can help your research or insights team? Click here to get in touch with us.