Do you love interacting with people and think you could earn some money from it? Then consider getting involved in the field of market research. It’s a great way to supplement you income.
Market research involves the gathering, then analysing information on consumers. This helps businesses understand what products people want, who will buy them, and for what price.
The collection of data requires someone who finds it easy to get on with people, and enjoys doing it.
If you think that you’d enjoy talking to strangers, and getting their opinions about various products and services, read on for our simple four-step Q&A to getting started.
- What does a market researcher job involve?
- Could I be a market researcher?
- Where can I find market research jobs?
- What training can I take in market research?
- Get yourself a market research job here and now
It mostly depends on the role you take on. You might be approaching people in the street, door-to-door or on the phone. Once employed, you’ll typically receive a few days’ training before you begin in earnest. You may also be accompanied by an expert on your first outing into the field.
- If you’re going door to door asking questions, you’ll probably be given a list of streets to visit. Each with a set quota of interviews to conduct.
- Alternatively you may have a pre-selected list of addresses to contact. These may contain the name of a specific person you need to speak to. Pre-selected interviews are often paid more as they’re harder to carry out.
What you need to know
- Be polite and approachable. Always explain what the research is about and what it’ll be used for.
- Make sure to record your answers. Take down the answers as you receive them. Then once the results are collated, they’re passed back to the organisation you’re working for.
- Be aware of how you’ll be paid. Researchers are paid per completed interview, but you may find that your pay is topped up in the first few weeks as you learn the ropes. Some companies will also reimburse travel expenses and may offer bonuses to those who meet their targets.
Different types of market research
There are two different types of market research:
Quantitative research is based on the quantities or numerical statistics collected by surveys and questionnaires. Typical questions may start with “how much” or “how often”.
Qualitative research is based on more in-depth questions, determining people’s actions and thoughts by researching their attitudes and opinions. This type of research often takes place in focus groups. These groups may discuss a certain topic or collection of topics in a relaxed setting. Participant’s opinions and views will be analysed naturally, as opposed to direct questioning which might affect their honesty.
Can you listen well?
You need to be a people person and a great listener. After all, this is a job involves that involves interacting with strangers and being interested in what they have to say.
Are you persistent?
Good market researchers use positive, action-focused language, they also make it easy for participants to complete their survey. You need to be able to hold their interest for the whole survey and keep the results honest. This means not influencing the answers in anyway. You’ll also need to be able to deal with rejection from some people.
Do you enjoy getting out?
Most of all, it’s important to enjoy what you do and have fun being out and about. It tends to be a popular job for younger people, those with some relevant employment experience tending to have a better chance of securing work.
There is no upper age limit on being a market researcher. However it can be a flexible option for those with other commitments, such as being a parent.
The Market Research Society is the professional association for the sector and you’ll find its research job finder with job listings on the website.
The MRS also publishes its industry magazine, Impact, which you could also browse for vacancies. Of course for more informal roles, job boards such as Indeed and Gumtree are often updated with suitable work.
- Nielsen is a leading global information and measurement company
- NatCen Social Research is Britain’s leading independent social research institute
- Criteria Qualitative Fieldwork is an agency based in north London
- IMS Health is the global information provider for pharmaceutical intelligence, with international job opportunities
- Fieldshare is an online database for market research fieldworkers
- Ipsos MORI is one of the largest global research companies
- The Association for Qualitative Research (AQR) is a UK-based research organisation that lists training, events, a library and job vacancies
- The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is an international membership organisation with a good careers page
How much does market research pay?
So, how much can you expect to earn as a market researcher?
Working the phone
The joy of having a telephone-centric job is that you can be based anywhere. So jobs are available at home or at a call centre. Most home-based jobs require slightly more experience, and so are slightly higher paying. We’ve seen jobs advertised at about £10 an hour at least. At call centres, your hourly rate generally starts at minimum wage.
Doing field research in London is certainly more profitable at around £14.25 per hour. Outside London, the rate is between minimum wage and £10. Look out for companies that sponsor travel time, some also allow an expense allowance for each assignment.
If you want to improve your earnings as a market researcher, think about taking some training, which may also open the way to more interesting roles.
The MRS runs workshops and courses, and there are networking events to help develop your careers, so keep a regular eye on their website
Studying towards qualifications
They also offer various qualifications, including a MRS Certificate in Market and Social Research which gives a comprehensive grounding in the basic principles and practices of effective market and social research. From there you can work towards Advanced Certificates, Diplomas and even Masters Degrees which will obviously put you in a completely different league and earnings bracket.
Why not also try make money answering surveys?
We have an article here on doing online surveys for money as we think that they’re a good way to make a bit of extra cash without having to put too much effort in. Think of it as small deposits in that summer holiday savings account, it all adds up!
Use this handy tool from ZipRecruiter and you could get a market research job down your street (literally) right now. Just put your area in the box below and see what’s up for grabs!