Market research executive: job description

Market research executives are responsible for planning, co-ordinating and administering market research projects.
Market research has grown in value by more than 300% since 1981, and is now worth in excess of £850 million per year.

What does a market research executive do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Market research helps to identify what people do, think, buy or believe and why. It is used for new product testing, assessing customer preferences, evaluating competition and monitoring staff or customer satisfaction.

Market research executives are responsible for:

  • consulting clients about project requirements and objectives
  • designing research methods such as interviews and questionnaires
  • agreeing timescales and budgets
  • supervising staff
  • monitoring work progress
  • writing reports
  • analysing, translating and presenting results.

The work offers high levels of responsibility and excellent opportunities for promotion into senior managerial positions.

Typical employers of market research executives

  • market research agencies
  • management consultants
  • government departments
  • advertising agencies
  • commercial organisations
  • manufacturers.

Candidates are advised to apply for positions early, especially for structured graduate training schemes with larger employers. Vacancies are advertised online, in Market Research Society publications, by careers services and in national newspapers and relevant publications including Campaign, Marketing and Marketing Week. Many jobs receive little advertising, so networking, job-shadowing and speculative applications are essential.

Qualifications and training required

Any degree discipline is acceptable for entry into the profession, although some employers prefer a social/behavioural science, marketing or numerate subject. A number of institutions offer specialist postgraduate marketing qualifications, which can be advantageous.

Some jobs, particularly those in industrial market research, necessitate a scientific or technical background. Relevant work experience gained in any commercial area that requires contact with customers or the general public including retailing, sales and marketing can be beneficial. Experience of canvassing or market research interviewing is particularly useful.

Key skills for market research executives

  • commercial awareness
  • excellent analytical skills
  • organisational skills
  • interpersonal skills
  • numerical skills
  • verbal communication skills.