Industry Insights

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Marketing Research Salaries, Hiring Market Trends, & 2020 Industry Outlook

October 14, 2019

This post is an excerpt from our 2019 marketing research salary report. Check out our latest video to see updated salaries for researchers across the US, how they vary based on demographic factors, market trends, and other insights.This year, we’re releasing our seventh-annual Burtch Works Study examining salary and demographic data on marketing research and consumer insights professionals. Following the momentum seen in last year’s study, salaries have continued to increase across most job levels and the hiring market remains active.Here’s a quick snapshot of a few of the hiring market trends we’ve noticed over the past year, and our take on what’s in store for the marketing research and insights industry for the upcoming year.

Key Marketing Research Hiring Market Trends

1. Research & Insights Salaries Continue to Increase

While research salaries held fairly steady for a few years, last year’s report showed a noticeable year-over-year increase for almost all job levels. The upward trend continues as our 2019 data confirmed salaries are still on the rise for many, especially on the client side.Even with increasing salaries, when considering a new position we always advise research and insights professionals to examine an opportunity holistically (beyond just salary), including both short- and long-term growth opportunities. Strategic transitions throughout your career will likely be more beneficial than moving around for money alone.On the employer side, this may be the right time to re-examine salary bands and compensation packages if they’ve remained mostly unchanged in recent years. You’ll want to be as competitive as possible to attract top talent in an active hiring market.

2. Activity at the Junior End Remains Strong

As one might expect, the early-career market is generally more active, with junior professionals changing jobs more often than those with more experience. Our most recent job change research found that 27% of professionals with 10 or less years’ experience changed jobs in 2018, compared to just under 18% of researchers with 11+ years’ experience making a move.

3. Leaner Client-side Teams Increase Competition for Roles

In our 2017 report, we noted a trend that some client-side teams had been operating leaner than in years past, and we’ve seen this continue. With smaller in-house insights teams, we’ve noticed increased competition among researchers for many of these client-side roles. We’re also seeing more companies leverage screening tools and assessments to thoroughly vet potential team members in advance, since each individual on the team has a major impact within a smaller group.

4. Healthcare & Tech Salaries Catching Up to CPG

Our previous reports have long shown Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) as the highest paid industry for research and insights professionals. However, in recent years, we’ve noticed the gulf closing as salaries for researchers in the Healthcare/Pharma and Technology fields are now catching up to those in CPG.

Marketing Research Beyond 2019: Industry Outlook

With new and emerging technologies making an impact on how researchers gather insights, and the increased attention on growing fields such as data science and analytics, many have naturally been wondering: what’s next for Marketing Research?Thinking about our conversations with research and insights professionals over the years, we’ve recently been fielding more questions from researchers wondering if they should try to transition into analytics positions or whether research roles will start to require more technical tools such as SQL, R, or Python.While it’s true that the research and insights industry has been changing, and marketing research as we know it today will continue to evolve, it’s unlikely that the practice will cede exclusively to analytics and data science approaches.If anything, the unique skills that professionals in all of these fields bring to the table will continue to complement each other as teams work closely together to decipher data and develop 360˚ insights for their organizations. There are many research approaches that offer unique advantages, and when used in conjunction with analytics and data science, these can yield a wealth of information to guide strategy across an organization.Our advice to researchers is to always make sure you’re picking up new experiences and that your research skillset is adequately diversified. While specializing in one area can open certain doors, you want to be careful not get so narrow in your focus or skillset that you potentially limit your advancement or access to future opportunities.We continue to see employers looking for research professionals that have experience with a myriad of techniques and methodologies, so expanding your research toolkit is one of the best ways to stay marketable as new technologies continue to emerge.

Interested in our salary research on marketing research and consumer insights professionals? Download our studies using the button below.

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You can also check out our 2020 research & insights salary webinar below, where we shared highlights from our latest research, COVID-19 impacts on the hiring market, and other developing trends for 2021 and beyond.