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?