Most graduates enter market research as Trainee Research Executives or as Research Statisticians/Analysts. The degree discipline is not necessarily important for market research trainees although some agencies do specialise, e.g. scientists recruited for healthcare and/or pharmaceutical agencies. Many of the roles in market research will include proposal writing, project design and project/fieldwork management; research design, modelling, simulation and data analysis/interpretation; and discussions, interviews and presentations. As such, the skills and personal qualities sought include:
- Good interpersonal and communication skills with a real interest in people and their behaviour.
- Analytical, logical thinking and numerical skills.
- Organisational skills with the ability to meet deadlines and solve problems.
- Commercial awareness.
- Flexibility, open-mindedness, and the ability to use initiative.
These are considered more important than academic skills. Indeed, the combination of people skills and numerical skills in the same person is so rare that often market research companies may welcome applications with a 2:2 degree.
More experience of research, for example from a university project (designing or conducting a survey) or work experience placements, will enhance your chances of success.
Many projects on The Student Consultancy program involve market research.
There is a relatively high demand for students to work in market research roles during their holidays or part-time during term-time, e.g. as a field or telephone interviewer. Many students gain insight through becoming a Mystery Shopper. We advertise a number of vacancies throughout the year on CareerConnect where you will be able to search all jobs, both current and archived (for speculative applications), and set up alerts.
The Market Research Society promotes internship opportunities. They also offer a student membership and this enables you to gain insight into the sector through meeting other members and attending conferences.
Internships and summer jobs are governed in the UK by National Minimum Wage law, which means that if you are carrying out activities that class you as a “worker” by the employer, then you should be paid. Full details of Employment Rights and Pay for Interns are published by the government.
If you are undertaking a learning and development opportunity such as a micro-internship, or volunteering for a charity or statutory body, or shadowing or observing, then you may not be eligible for the National Minimum Wage. The organisation may reimburse you for your travel and/or lunch expenses, but they aren’t obliged to do so.