Do grads have a distorted view of the market research industry?

Published on: 13 Sep 2012

Graduate jobs

Face Facts Research recently brought our attention to an article published recently in the Telegraph, which discusses the possibility that some young people/graduates are not considering a career within market research because they believe the jobs to be boring.

The article challenges this theory in its interview with Adam Gammall. Originally having set his sights on the music industry, Adam now works full time as a consultant at Sparkler research after a successful internship.

His passion to work within a creative environment spurred him to seek paid internships at well-known record companies, but he found the environment quite stifling and was disappointed with the lack of responsibility given to him.

After revisiting his University’s career centre, he spotted a paid placement at Sparkler, which appealed to him as it mentioned that interns would be involved in decision-making and would be working with senior members of the team.

 After being at Sparkler for 18 months Adam is now confident that he has picked the right career path and believes his career has progressed much quicker than it would if he had stayed in the music industry. Having said that, he also admits that he had never have considered a career in market research before because of his misconceptions of the industry.

 So why does market research have this reputation? Jane Frost, Chief Executive of MRS believes that outsiders often assume that research is very much about ‘cold calling’ and ‘students with clipboards’.

Is this the general consensus amongst our graduates? And if so, should action be taken to change this view? A survey by the Guardian last month found that graduates are placing less importance on salary and employee benefits, and are instead increasingly interested in jobs that ‘make a difference.’ This year 51% named this as a key factor when looking for a job, which has hugely increased from just 4% last year.

This could suggest that graduates are more likely to look at market research careers now than in the past, as the industry typically involves a lot of charities and can be instrumental in helping these charities succeed.

Another factor that may increase the numbers of students looking to work in market research is that more and more graduates are looking at career paths outside their degree subject. With just 29% of respondents managing to win a place on their chosen graduate scheme, students are forced to look into other areas which they may not have previously considered.

From this perspective, the statistics suggest that something should be done to change the attitudes within universities. Graduates make up an important part of the market research sector, in positions such as Research Executives, and with grads climbing the career ladder to be earning manager salaries within a few years. Mintel are doing a great job of showcasing themselves to graduates with a nicely shot video on their site which gives students an insight of what it is like to work in market research and gives them the opportunity to learn through others who have joined market research from a graduate level.

It is plain to see from the clip that market research is certainly not just about cold-calling and clip boards, but about pursuing an interest, and learning every day. And that is something we should be communicating to graduates.
So what do you think? Do we need to do more to draw young people to our industry? What are you doing to attract graduates to your company?