Returning to Market Research

It is estimated that the average worker experiences 12 different job roles throughout their working life. The reason for change is influenced by many factors, such as personal growth, increased salary, a more compatible company culture… but some may simply want a complete change of direction. A fresh start.

Changing industry in the midst of your career is a bold move, but returning to the industry with transferable skills, alternative views and experiences allows you to stand out from the crowd.

This was exactly the journey for one of our candidates. Read about their experience here:

Why did you leave Market Research?

“The plan when I initially left market research was not to leave it completely but to do contracting alongside performance coaching. However, I found, at the time, not many market research contracting opportunities were coming my way and the performance coaching wasn’t really working out. When my friend recommended an Access Transmission Analyst role at O2, I jumped at the opportunity. The O2 head office was a place I always wanted to work. I used to walk past the office when I walked to school and it looked like it would be a fun place to work. Also, the role itself was something completely different so I thought it was a good time to try something different. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t give it a go! Looking back, leaving market research wasn’t completely by design – it just happened.”

What did you learn from your time away?

“The biggest thing I learnt more about, from my time away, was mental health – my own and also the people I worked with especially at Shaw Trust. Working as a support manager I had a caseload of around 50 people – all with different personalities and physical and psychological challenges. Working with someone who is really struggling does have an impact on you. Also seeing someone who overcomes their challenges and has a positive outcome – that’s inspiring to see! When I got the job at Shaw Trust, a manager did say to me that it was the best role to learn about different personalities and I have to agree with him.

I also learned a lot when I switched over to the marketing team. I did a lot of my own marketing when I did the performance coaching and Shaw Trust allowed me to bring more structure to marketing and think more about the audience I was targeting. My writing skills improved, I learned more about internal and external comms, I did design work and ran marketing campaigns. I recorded a few episodes for the Shaw Trust podcast as well! It was a nice, varied role and I got to try different things.”

Why did you want to return?

“I enjoyed my time in market research and I wanted to find a role where I could combine the different elements I enjoyed from the other places I worked. It wasn’t just about returning to market research but returning to the right role. Having tried different jobs and with my varied technical and creative skillset, I felt I was more suited to market research and was keen to return.”

What skills have you gained that you feel are transferable?

“I certainly think that developing people skills will help in any industry. I learnt more about mental and physical health conditions and disabilities. Again these are important things to understand in any job role. I’m really happy that I did the support manager role at Shaw Trust to develop my understanding in these areas. It also helped me open up a bit more because I was talking to lots of people in a day.

I believe everything I learned in marketing will really prove to be valuable in market research. Improving my writing skills and telling a story tailored to a particular audience as well as the design skills I picked up.

Speaking to the CEO at Transport Focus, he said that the research they do is their “marketing”. This gave me reassurance that I had picked the right role by combining what I learned in marketing with research.”

What skills do you offer that someone who only has MR experience can’t?

“I think what will really help in my new role is the experience I have in writing comms. At Transport Focus, most of the research is published and the comms team are there to make this happen. With my experience in writing comms I will be able to work with them more closely and hopefully understand their processes and the standard they set for their communications.

I feel with any role there is a natural tendency to get caught in the same work patterns, processes and methodologies. That’s my necessarily a bad thing. However, in industries like market research it can make us think that people outside research will understand complex analysis and methodologies. When actually they’re looking for simple straight forward answers. It can be fun to break down data but it’s not always necessary. Thinking about how solutions are presented is important too. Again understanding the audience is so important.”

If you are thinking or returning to the Market Research Industry, we would love to hear from you.

Our clients recruit at various disciplines from Research Executive through to Research Director, Managing Director and C Suite including operational and technical staff from Scripters to Operation Directors.