Cranfield 2018 - ESOMAR Careers event

Hi, Mark Hirst here.

I was lucky enough to be asked to chair this year's session at Cranfield School of Management.

Talking to around 50 MSc and MBA students gathered from around the globe, we were able to present what a great career in our industry can be like, including giving some real examples of the type of work we undertake, what its like to work on both client and agency side and of course the best sort of relationships that can exist between the two.

Rob Ellis from Cog Research started us off with a fascinating case study about work he and his team had undertaken about the best sorts and locations of advertising space on London Underground. As well as demonstrating a real project, Rob was able to show the role that new technology is playing in helping to identify real behaviour rather than just relying on respondents memory and recollection.

Danielle Wakeman from easyJet and Paul Child from Join the Dots ten share their top 10 tips for working in a Lean and efficient way between clients and agencies. It was refreshing to hear how these approaches deliver insights at a pace which allows the organisation to make the right decisions quickly, responding to what their customers are telling them.

We then ran a panel session with our presenters and two other guests - Researching a Career's very own Liz Norman as well Sadhana Halder from The Planning Shop international who 2 years ago has been sat in the audience at the very same ESOMAR event at Cranfield - a fantastic example of what is possible.

We covered a number of issues in the panel session including:-

- What excites you about working in this industry?
- What skills and experiences do you gain by working in our industry compared to other traditional career paths?
- What is it like to be a new entrant in your organisation?

The panel gave great examples which got the audience thinking and allowed some great conversation and questioning of the speakers to continue in the bar afterwards.

So thank you to Paul Baines for hosting the session at Cranfield School of Management, thanks also to the presenters who gave up their time to be there and of course ESOMAR for setting the event up.

Its great to see some of the recommendations we made a couple of years ago now in action!

Reflections on the Insight Show

At this years Insight Show, Crispin Beale the Chair of the MRS, used a number of insights that our research identified as part of his presentation on the skills required by future researchers.

We asked Crispin to share his views on how the session went:-

“I was delighted to join ESOMAR’s Vice President, David Smith and, Founder of EN International, Liz Norman at today’s Insight/Marketing Live conference talking about the skills future researchers need. A complex area that could have been discussed for hours! To my mind we have to shout about the huge levels of talent already in our industry and break-down the out-dated perceptions that hold many researchers back. Many talented researchers are operating at Board Level, are strategic and are making a real difference to the world we live in …. We need to champion these individuals, and their stories, to inspire the next generation of thought leaders, both those who’ve already “fallen” into our sector and those we need to show the light and encourage to join.”

Crispin Beale, CEO, Chime Insight & Engagement Group, Chairman of MRS, UK Representative ESOMAR

Attraction and Retention of Talent – ENI Breakfast Meeting.

Attracting top talent, employee engagement, and retention are key issues for many companies across a wide range of industries. The Breakfast Meeting held by ENI was centred around these topics, with a focus on the Research and Insights industry.
The first to speak was Samantha Bond from Northstar who has millennial entrepreneurs. Increasingly, millennials are choosing to start their own businesses and thus changing the landscape of companies the world over.  Samantha has conducted a study to discover was driving them.
The three points I found most interesting that Samantha made were these:
Companies need to have a mission beyond making money. “While pay is important, it’s clear that millennials won’t stay with companies for money alone,” said David Cruickshank, global chairman of consulting firm Deloitte. There have to be values, and benefits other than money, which is something that these millennial entrepreneurs are offering in their start-ups.   
Flexibility is also another factor that Samantha brought up. Increasingly, millennials aren’t differentiating between ‘life’ and ‘work’. Flexible working hours create an attitude where you don’t need to wait until the weekend to ‘live’. According to a study done by PwC, “Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output of the work performed.” Your standard 9-5 is becoming outdated, and with start-ups run by millennials, people are going for roles that allow them to their working hours.
Finally, millennials need responsibility and to feel as though they are going somewhere. Companies need to engage with employees and provide opportunities for progression. People with an entrepreneurial spirit will constantly be on the lookout for ways they can gain new knowledge and do more.
James Tarbit from HSBC then spoke about employee engagement, and the research they do to monitor this.  James's job is to help people understand people better. He creates research that seeks to explain what employees, what they know and don't know and, most importantly, what they feel.  The insight from this research allows Managers to understand the motivations, knowledge, aspirations, concerns and behaviours of the employees who make up HSBC. This enables better decisions, informs future policy and action, and assesses business activity and strategy.
One of the key initiatives is monthly engagement meetings, where employees have the opportunity to meet and discuss anything to do with work. Providing a forum for employees voices to be heard, ensures they feel they have the chance to contribute to the management of the company.  People at all levels are encouraged to consider how the topics can be actioned, encouraging employees to take the initiative.
While Samantha focused on what makes millennials tick, and James employee engagement, Caroline Bates from Chime Insight and Engagement gave an overview of the findings of ‘Researching a career’ – A study Chime and ENI carried out in conjunction with the MRS and ESOMAR, on retaining and engaging employees in market research. The study yielded interesting results concerning people's perceptions of the industry.
91% of market researchers either like or love their jobs, and used words such as ‘insightful’, ‘exciting’ and ‘interesting’ to describe it.  They are however frustrated that the industry is either unknown or poorly regarded by the public. 
Relatively unknown amongst undergraduates it’s not surprising only 14% actively choose the profession.  Does this mean we are missing out on potential talent?  
The study showed that a lot more needs to be done to raise awareness of the industry.  We can all be involved in this.  MRS have committed to more university visits and would like your help.  ESOMAR’s initiative to engage with young people is called YES (Young ESOMAR Society) and their website contains information about Market Research as a career and aims to showcase the industry in a positive light.

While research has been (and continues to be) done in employee engagement, companies need to actually use this information to change the way they interact with their employees. All three talks raised thought-provoking points. With regards to Market Research and Insight in particular, it is clear that steps need to be taken to attract top talent, and change perceptions of the industry. Better structured career paths, better pay and more training were found to be key in both attracting and retaining top talent and companies need to consider these things moving forward. 
We need as many as possible to be involved, please share your ideas/comments here on the blog or tweet @MRXCareers.  If you would like to work with ESOMAR or the MRS we can forward the relevant details. In addition Amanda would be happy to share the papers.

Cranfield University visit.

In February ESOMAR organised a visit to Cranfield Business School, to talk to students not just about what the industry has to offer in terms of careers but also how it can help them as business men and women of the future.

By chance two of the talks, one from Jim Mott at Bamm and another from Christene McCauley and Hazel Barkworth at Diageo and Added Value, focused on the power of ethnography.  I was particularly interested in the subtle and powerful way ethnography had been used to help shift Diageo’s advertising focus, so that it now takes into account women’s’ role in society and how that impacts the best way to communicate to both sexes.  Meanwhile Darja Germane demonstrated the international scope of both research/insight and Costa Coffee!

I presented the infographic attached. 
Commissioned by ESOMAR to show the huge diversity of career paths within the industry now.  The Data career options were strongly represented by Jane Cristian from Mediacom.  Who made it clear which part of the industry offers rapid career progression and high salaries.

Attended by more than 60 students from around the world, there were a lot of questions and I believe we really spiked interest in the industry.  We certainly showed we are a dynamic and diverse industry offering a huge range of opportunities to anyone that has an investigative nature.

National Apprenticeship Week

Agencies in the Data, Insight and Market Research industry talk a lot about graduate recruitment.  However the study we did with the MRS and ESOMAR showed there are a lot of employers that would like us as an industry to be doing more to support the recruitment of apprenticeships.  Some roles in our industry, need employees with practical and technical skills, who will roll their sleeves up, ensure that projects are done in a timely and accurate manner, with a keen eye for detail. A university education isn’t necessary.
To encourage companies to employ apprenticeships, all companies with a salary bill of £3 million or more annually will be charged a levy of 0.5% of the salary cost, from April 2017.  You can offset the levy with a fixed allowance of £15,000 towards apprenticeship costs if you are training apprentices.  Isn’t it time UK agencies started to do more?

Leveling the playing field - WIRE

Around 100 women and a handful of brave men attended the meeting, kindly hosted by Linkedin.   The evening was organised by Elina Halonen who has conducted some research based on various academic studies into whether being a woman makes it more difficult to progress within our industry.  We were challenged by the statement above and I have to admit it took me a while to realise that the surgeon was the boy's mum.
I was particularly interested in Elina’s research as ENI conducted a large research study with Chime Insight and Engagement ‘Researching a Career’ that shows that one of the least attractive sides of our industry is the lack of clear career ladder.  This makes it difficult for those in the industry to know how, and what is needed to progress, for both sexes.
On the whole I have found Market Researchers to be analytical, considered and therefore fair.  So I wasn’t surprised when the first part of Elinas research showed that the respondents, taken from across market research, didn’t favour men over women when it came to salary, ‘likeability’ and chances of hiring.  In fact in all areas women did slightly better and interestingly, men in particular seemed to favour women rather than men, when it came to salary.   
The second part of the research looked at whether we describe the same traits in women and men differently.  For example are men assertive and women bossy?  As a result is it harder for women to be respected in the working environment? 
When training as a recruiter one of the things I was asked to do was list where I felt I discriminated.  Chris Brown the Talent Director of Linkedin goes one step further, his team discuss the language they use to describe different people.  We all agreed that being very open and aware of the language we use and any prejudices this reflects, really helps eliminate discrimination.
One reason for the different words to describe the different sexes, is certain traits are more commonly applied to women whilst other traits are more commonly applied to men.  I felt this wasn’t discriminatory but instead reflected the different drivers commonly found between men and women.  In the 30 years I have been recruiting women I have often found that women are more likely to be looking for quality of life, flexibility, and enjoyment.  Whereas men are more likely to be driven by financial considerations.  In the past this has held women back, but as Caroline Hayter from Acacia Avenue rightly pointed out, company culture is changing.  Millennials of both sexes are thinking more about work life balance, and this change means it is easier now for women to take family life into consideration and progress just as rapidly as men. 
Market Research employs a lot of women.  The Researching a Career study by ENI and Chime Insight and Engagement shows that a problem for the industry, is it is hugely complex and lacks clear structure, making progression more difficult.  It may be that because women are often the ones that have to juggle and cope with complexity at home, they find the lack of a career ladder within research less of a problem?

Elina’s research will be published in Impact magazine in January.

Feedback from the WIRE event

Ellie Osbourne, one of our very active supporters from Chime Insight & Engagement, attended the Women in Research session the other evening that looked at gender inequality in our workforce and its impact on recruitment in our industry - we asked her to write a few words about how she found it.

Interesting results emerging from the WIRE research into gender equality in the workforce; when it comes to equality the market research industry appears to be a level playing field. 

Susan is just as likely to be employed as Simon, and in fact there's no salary gap, they likely to be in the same salary bracket.

Our own group CIE, demonstrates the level playing field it is, with there being an almost equal gender split among its board of directors a management level typically dominated by men. 

The take out is if your launching your career in market research your gender is unlikely to hinder you, it's more about personality, the language you use and how you position yourself. Adjectives that seem to appeal to the industry when recruiting are, creative,organised and initiative; while ambitious is viewed less positively.


Interested in getting involved in a related study???????

Any women in or around London who'd like to get involved in a study looking at recruitment and career development issues in our industry (more details below), there’s a free WIRe event this coming Tuesday 10th November 6.30pm-9.30pm at the Linked In offices in London.

If you are interested in attending please visit:-

Levelling The Playing Field

What is the key to successfully marketing yourself to future employers?  Is this a level playing field or are there preconceptions that we need to be aware of?

The Irrational Agency and the MRS will be launching a new study to explore the differences that genders may face when applying for a job role.  We’re sure the findings will spark lots of debate!  We will also have a panel of industry leaders, including Caroline Hayter, co-founder of Acacia Avenue, Richard Asquith, Global CEO of Kantar Media Audiences and Chris Brown, Director of UK Talent Solutions. With many years of talent hunting between them, they'll give tips and tools for successfully positioning yourself in the market. To give you even more of a head start, we’ll have experts advice from LinkedIn to give you personal feedback and guidance on your online profile.

As well as hearing about the study, you can get involved and take part in the research yourself - here's how: 

Feel free select one or more):
1. Please take the survey - it's short, sweet and intriguing (I promise!):
3. Send it around to your colleagues and your MR friends.
All help much appreciated, and we will share the results in due time! (We will also be able to split the results by country.) 

MRS is supporting Women in Research (WIRe) in a programme of research to determine the different elements affecting career progression within the research profession. The results of the study will be published in the January 2016 issue of Impact Magazine and will assist in the understanding of career development issues in our profession.

Even if you do not have personal experience of hiring or managing people, we still very much value your opinion. The survey includes fast-paced implicit tasks and experiments, the purpose of which will be revealed at the end of the survey.

Please note that all of your answers will be gathered on an anonymous basis and all research results will be treated confidentially.

And the final scores are in........

Yes, we've gone through and totted up the votes from the Careers Hub at Esomar Congress and the final scores are in (thanks to everyone that voted!):-

What is very striking is the similarity of these scores to those we received at the MRS Impact Conference earlier in the year - here's a screen grab of what we say there:-

Clearly getting out into Universities, developing role models & mentors & creating more positive publicity for the industry and really important for everyone, regardless of which industry body they belong to.

So watch out for more details of how you can get involved in making this happen and how you can obtain the materials we are developing so we can all make this happen.


The message is getting out there

Liz spotted these post it notes during a different session at Esomar Congress yesterday - the session was called "I am proud to be a researcher". 

These were just a few of the ideas from audience on how we do this using a viral campaign. It's great to see so many of our themes and ideas being reflected in this session.

We'll build some of them into our thinking for future campaigns to keep this momentum we have at the moment - have you any ideas about what we could use to engage people virally?