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!): tinyurl.com/wirelondon
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?

Votes to the end of Day 2

So after two days of voting, this is how the Poll stands:-

University Roadshows & Career Ambassadors lead the way with Greater Publicity, Apprentice Schemes and Mentoring not far behind.

You can make difference - click here to take part  - hurry as the poll closes tonight!

Another great day on the hub

Loads of visitors today getting involved, whether it was providing input to our cartoons, discussing our Tube Map, voting on the next steps for the industry or picking up a copy of our report - here's a few pictures

Here Liz is chatting to another visitor about the project findings

Will our illustrator busy creating our Cartoon Montage

And finally, Bryanna one Esomar's student helpers, enjoys seeing her ideas "cartoonised"

And of course not forgetting our session featuring many revelations about the findings of our work and the actions we've already seen people taking.

We'll run an article about it soon (as things are rather hectic at the mo!!) and if we can find a link via ESOMAR, you can probably watch the TV recording of the session.

We'll update you on the vote in the morning - see you then.

Votes on the Hub after Day 1

After a busy first day on the Hub at ESOMAR, here are the results so far:-

Some common themes to our previous votes at the MRS Conference appearing there - lets see what the next two days bring!

A complex career path?

One of the findings of our project was the very complex career structure that the industry presents to potential entrants.

So Liz Norman and the Keen as Mustard team decided to have a go at trying to map out the many different routes and destinations - and as a result have produced this rather nifty Tube Map - pop along to our stand at Congress to discuss how they went about it and some of the insights that they found.

Vote here

As part of our Careers Hub at Esomar Congress in Dublin, we are running a vote on the next steps our industry should take based on the findings of the report we have launched today.

Our team will be getting input on the ground at congress but if you are not in Dublin, don't worry you can still #get_involved.

After looking at our report in the post below, follow this link to take part in the survey:-

Keep popping back to the blog to see the results at the end of each day!

Our International Report is launched

Yes - it's here - our International Report which looks at how our industry promotes itself to new entrants is launched today at Esomar's 2015 Congress in Dublin - download the report here.

If you are in Dublin at Congress, pop along to the Careers hub to say hello and #get_involved

We've arrived in Dublin!

Here's the Esomar welcome at Dublin airport - we've arrived safely and looking forward to the start of congress tomorrow.

As well as launching our International report, we are also running a live vote on the hub about the next steps the industry should take. We don't want those not attending the congress to miss out so we will also be making the survey available to mobile users - more details to follow in the morning.

Monday is Hub Day

Yes - our Careers Hub at Esomar's congress in Dublin goes live on Monday morning.

We will keep you updated on developments via this blog and Twitter - using the rather apt # of 


We will also be releasing details of how you can vote on the next steps our industry should be taking - watch the blog for more details in the coming days!

International Report to be published on Tuesday

Yes we can confirm that the report of our project based on our International dataset will be launched on Tuesday at the ESOMAR Congress in Dublin.

Our UK report will be released soon!

If you are in Dublin visit our Careers Hub to pick up a copy and get involved.

1 week to go

Yes, a long time in the planning and its now just one week to our Researching a Career hub at Esomar's 2015 Congress in Dublin.

If you are attending, please pop along and see how you can get involved. If you can't make it, keep visiting the blog to keep in touch with developments.

10 days to go!

Yes  - just 10 days to the start of the Esomar Congress - meet the the team, read the report and get involved.

And don't worry if you are not going, we'll bring regular updates on the blog right here!

Meet one of the members of our team

Yes, as we get ready to launch our story of the industry, we thought we would give you a sneak preview of some of the characters that will feature.

First I'll introduce a character I've called Larry - he's very industrious and enjoys the variety his job involves!

Keep popping back to our blog in the coming days to meet some more characters and learn more about the innovative story we have developed.

Meet the Researching a Career team at ESOMAR's 2015 congress in Dublin

Yes, following the success of our careers hub at MRS Impact 2015, we have been asked to attend ESOMAR's event this September in Dublin.

As well as meeting the team, you'll have a chance to share your experiences and get involved in our developing activity plan. We are also talking about some of the results but as the theme of the event is Revelations, we can't tell you anymore at this point! You'll have to come along and see for yourself.

For more details about Congress, visit https://www.esomar.org/events-and-awards/events/global-and-regional/congress-2015/congress-2015_overview.php

Volunteers needed to take part in University presentations

One of the key activities we have highlighted (and was the clear winner in our MRS Conference vote) for the industry to help improve how it promotes itself to potential entrants was increasing the amount of proactive engagement it conducts with potential entrants.

As we reported last week, the MRS is starting to roll out a ramped up University engagement programme during this academic year, and its looking for volunteers.

Please visit https://www.mrs.org.uk/careers/graduate_roadshows to find out more details and how you can get involved.

MRS & AQR Graduate Roadshows - more details

Further to our short post last week, here are a few more details about this exciting development and how you can get involved.

For a while now Trish & Ken Parker have been running some roadshows at universities to help promote the profile of research as a career. To date they have visited and presented to over 20 universities. However following one of the main findings of our researching a career was to gain more exposure at universities, the programme is to be ramped up with the aim of reaching 100 universities a year.

To do this we need to gain support from people across the industry to get involved to help make this happen. Whether it be in a senior role to help introduce the session and set out some of the key messages that our project has identified through to middle and junior level people that can share their personal experiences.

The aim is not to make participation onerous and we would hope if lots of people commit to do a single event then we can really make a difference - if you can do more, that would be brilliant!

So if you are interested in challenging perceptions, expanding on what is great about our industry, the variety, innovation and impact on strategy then please drop your details to membership@mrs.org.uk and they will contact you to discuss how you can help.

Great News - MRS & AQR Graduate Roadshow

We have just received notification that following our project running the career hub at this years MRS conference and the fantastic reaction and support its findings & outputs received, the MRS and AQR will be expanding their university graduate roadshow programme.

We'll share more details with you all on Monday and how you can get involved. 

Have a great weekend

What's in a title?

An interesting area of conversation that came out from our discussions at the MRS conference concerned job titles.

Some people felt that different titles represent different levels of responsibilities in different organisations. This makes its hard to identify a clear career path through the industry.

Add to that the changing titles that some organisations and agencies are now using and its not surprising that young people entering the industry feel confused.

Therefore, one of the key learnings we need to consider as we develop our "Story of our Industry", is how we set out the variety of career paths that can be followed.

We are starting to get our ideas together and are looking to develop a campaign approach to help make this happen - keep watching the blog for more info.

MRS 2015 Conference Poll - Which 'next steps' should be the priorities?

Throughout the conference we ran a poll on our hub where we asked people to vote for their top 3 next steps for the project to tale, based on the many different ideas we have captured during the year or so of us gathering evidence.

We received 240 votes across 10 different options - we also allowed people to flag up their own ideas, some of which made it to our cartoon wall.

This is how the results look:-

In the coming weeks we are looking to discuss these results with a number of industry bodies and representatives to galvanise activity and get people involved. Watch thsi space for more details of how you can help.

Another cartoon theme

At the conference, one of the common themes we heard from delegates related to the sheer variety of roles that careers in our industry offer as well as the opportunity to involved in really important projects - here are a couple of images that were generated around this theme:-

It's clear that as part of our next steps of setting out what the story of our industry is, these are important aspects that we will need to incorporate and highlight for potential new joiners looking for a varied and exciting career.

Another volunteer's viewpoint

Today we have a 1st hand account of a day on the careers Hub at this years MRS Conference - this time from Danielle Todd from Relish Research.


As those of us established in this industry well know, we are a smorgasbord of passionate, creative and vocal people, with rich experience, numerous areas of expertise, and coming from multifarious backgrounds. Yet, as Chime and ENI discovered, most of us (53%) stumbled into, and then, fell head over heels in love with this industry. But during our university careers, we were completely oblivious to the delights and opportunities of this industry we have come to call home. 

We simply cannot let this disservice to the reputation of our industry continue!

The Researching…a Career Hub was set up to spread this news, as well as gather stories, support and momentum to rectify and publicise market research’s hidden reputation, and boy did the attendees of MRS Impact deliver! The Hub was consistently awash with many delegates, from those with a few years’ experience to those who would only dare write 25+ in the ‘years in the industry’ box! All delegates were eager to impart their passion and enthusiasm for our beloved industry, through video confessions, cartoons, and a pledge to be of future help to the cause.

Fitting quite nicely with the theme of MRS Impact 2015 – creating action and change through insight - I was proud to see so many fellow research lovers, client and agency, young and old, all happy to sign up to be of future help in a
wide range of planned activities aimed at educating the next wave of potential market research stars on how our industry can provide interesting and fulfilling careers.

I, for one, am keen to see the next steps come to fruition, and look forward to the day when we can watch potential market research stars falling over themselves to enter – rather than simply falling – into a career in our great industry.

A volunteer's viewpoint

We were lucky enough to have a number of heroic volunteers to help us on the hub at the MRS Conference last week - here are some observations from one of them, Nicola Scobell from TNS Global.


True to its name, this year’s MRS conference was all about making an impact and driving change. In his inspiring opening speech Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, urged delegates to consider if they were doing enough.

Motivated by this introduction, I was happy to spend the rest of the day talking to delegates about the ‘Researching a career’ project at the conference hub. What struck me immediately was the broad recognition that something needs to be done to improve the image of our industry for new recruits. The hub attracted a lot of attention and it was very encouraging to see so many people willing to get involved and tell their stories.

In-keeping with a key theme of the conference, we asked delegates to become storytellers and tell us about their experiences of their career in research. 

Stories were captured on film and drawn up as cartoons.
The variety of images captured shows how diverse our industry really is - it was great to see the story emerge over the course of the day.

The highlight of the day for me was the opportunity to speak to a wide variety of interesting people; all had different stories to tell but each shared a common passion for their job. A truly inspiring day!

Starting to examine our cartoons

Our first in this series looks at one of the underpinning facts that we have discovered in this project - the number of people who say that they have fallen into the industry:-

Whether it be in the Uk or further afield, it is clear to see how many people don't set out to enter our industry. When we have investigated, most people have no correct perception of what a career in the world of insight/research/data analysis can offer.

In the upcoming posts, we'll highlight some the ideas people have suggested to address this and the language that has been suggested to attract more people in the future.

Conference Hub - what was it like?

Ok - as I write this, my feet still ache and my voice box is very sore - but but did we have a great time at the MRS Conference with our Hub.

With the conference attracting over 700 insight professionals, we were always going to be busy but what amazed us all was the great level of support we had from right across the industry - EVERYONE said they said the project had identified a key issue and most pleasing was looking to do something about it!

So whether people were giving their thoughts on video or chatting to one of us and having those points turned into great cartoons by our illustrator Will, voting for their preferred next steps or signing up to be a friend of the project going forward, there was fantastic support throughout.

In the the coming days and weeks we'll share different elements of the feedback here, whether it be video clips, cartoon elements, details of the vote or eye witness accounts from the great members of our project team who helped man the stand. 

Please sign up and follow our blog to keep in touch


Hub co-ordinator

Researching a Career - 2015 MRS Conference Hub

We are gradually constructing our design and approach ready for how the hub will operate at this years conference.

As well as being able to come up and chat to members of the project team and R-Netters about the project & the results seen so far, you'll also be able to:-

a) tell us your story on video about what makes you proud to work in the industry, which words you would use to sell the industry to potential entrants as well as how you would go about portraying the industry differently to the wider world? 

b) take part in an art installation to show what a varied career a life in the world or research and insight can be

c) sign up to support future industry body supported activity to make many recommendations seen in our project, reality!

So, if you are panning to attend the conference, please come and say hello. If you can't make it, please do keep visiting this blog in the run up to the conference where we will post some updates and hopefully some live feedback.

Breaking News - Project Hub at 2015 MRS Annual Conference

Caroline and I have been at the venue of the 2015 MRS Conference "Impact 2015" this morning measuring up for the project hub we are going to run at the event this year. We have a number of exciting things planned and we'll tell you about them here on the blog (and via twitter) in the coming weeks.

The key aims of attending being to spread the news about some of our headline findings to date AND also look to get people signed up to help us take the message about what a great career research & insight can offer people out to potential new entrants.

Going to be a busy few weeks.