Innovators Guide

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Market Researcher Job Outlook

Employment growth of market and survey researchers is projected to be much faster than average. Job opportunities should be best for jobseekers with a master's or Ph.D. degree in marketing or a social science and with strong quantitative skills.

Employment change. Overall employment of market and survey researchers is projected to grow 28 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Market research analysts, the larger specialty, will experience much faster than average job growth because competition between companies seeking to expand their market and sales of their products will generate a growing need for marketing professionals. Marketing research provides organizations valuable feedback from purchasers, allowing companies to evaluate consumer satisfaction and adjust their marketing strategies and plan more effectively for the future. Future locations of stores and shopping centers, for example, will be determined by marketing research, as will consumer preference of virtually all products and services. In addition, globalization of the marketplace creates a need for more market researchers to analyze foreign markets and competition.

Survey researchers, a much smaller specialty, will also increase much faster than average as public policy groups and all levels of governments increasingly use public opinion research to help determine a variety of issues, such as the best mass transit systems, social programs, and special services for school children and senior citizens that will be needed. Survey researchers will also be needed to meet the growing demand for market and opinion research as an increasingly competitive economy requires businesses and organizations to allocate advertising funds and other expenditures more effectively and efficiently.

Job prospects. Bachelor's degree holders may face competition for market research jobs, as many positions, especially technical ones, require a master's or doctoral degree. Among bachelor's degree holders, those with good quantitative skills, including a strong background in mathematics, statistics, survey design, and computer science, will have the best opportunities. Those with a background in consumer behavior or an undergraduate degree in a social science—psychology, sociology, or economics—may qualify for less technical positions, such as a public opinion researcher. Obtaining the Professional Researcher Certification also can be important as it demonstrates competence and professionalism among potential candidates. Overall, job opportunities should be best for jobseekers with a master's or Ph.D. degree in marketing or a related field and with strong quantitative skills. Market research analysts should have the best opportunities in consulting firms and marketing research firms as companies find it more profitable to contract for market research services rather than support their own marketing department. However, other organizations, including computer systems design companies, software publishers, financial services organizations, healthcare institutions, advertising firms, and insurance companies, may also offer job opportunities for market research analysts. Increasingly, market research analysts not only collect and analyze information, but also help clients implement ideas and recommendations.

There will be fewer job opportunities for survey researchers since it is a relatively smaller occupation and a greater number of candidates qualify for these positions. The best prospects will come from growth in the market research and public opinion polling industry, which employs many survey researchers.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition

Find related resources below:

Market Researcher Income    
Market Research Training and Qualifications


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