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Market research executive

Market research executives help clients find out people’s views about consumer products or political and social issues.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements but competition is strong so you’ll usually need a foundation degree or a degree.

If you want to go into quantitative work (analysis based on numbers), these degrees may be useful:

  • maths
  • statistics
  • business/management
  • economics

For qualitative work (analysis based on language), useful degrees include:

  • psychology
  • sociology
  • geography
  • social sciences
  • anthropology

English or marketing degrees are also useful, as well as sciences or engineering for some specialist industrial jobs. 

You’ll also find it useful to have previous experience in marketing, sales or advertising, or as a market research interviewer.

You could get a paid internship or join a graduate training scheme. You could also start as a research assistant in an agency and then take further qualifications.

The Market Research Society (MRS) has more information about careers in market research.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent number and IT skills
  • the ability to analyse and interpret statistics
  • written communication skills for report writing and designing questionnaires
  • creative problem-solving skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • organisational and time-management skills
  • initiative and teamwork skills

3. What you'll do

As a market research executive, you’ll specialise in one type of research – consumer or industrial, social or political. You’ll carry out research using one of 2 main methods:

  • quantitative – analysis based on numbers, from surveys of large samples of people
  • qualitative – analysis based on language, from focus groups and in-depth questionnaires

Depending on the type of research, in your work you’ll usually:

  • meet clients to discuss research projects
  • come up with a plan or proposal and present it to the client
  • manage a budget
  • design questionnaires and organise surveys
  • brief interviewers and researchers
  • monitor progress of surveys
  • analyse data and present results to the client
  • advise the client how they can best use the research

Most jobs involve a lot of computer work, for background research and to analyse information and produce reports.

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £25,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £60,000 (senior market research executive)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

If you work as a quantitative researcher in-house for a company, you’ll usually work in an office with standard hours, Monday to Friday, with occasional overtime to meet project deadlines.

If you work as a qualitative researcher, you’ll often work evenings and weekends to travel to visit clients and focus groups. You may need a driving licence and a car.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress into management, or become a self-employed market research consultant.

You could also move into the promotional side of advertising or marketing.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016