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We are often asked the pros and cons of working on the vendor side versus the client side. While the client side may offer a more satisfying work/life balance, the vendor side can be far more financially rewarding, if you have a gift for business development.  Here are our thoughts on the current salary ranges and responsibilities for positions available in the market research industry.

Associate Director/Director /AVP/VP/SVP $125,000 – $200,000+
On the vendor side VP’s have a significant role in new business development both with new clients and existing clients. You will actively do presentations and are known in your organization as a relationship builder. On the client side you will be responsible for setting strategy and new product development. VP’s will have 15+ years of experience and direct reports could be eight or more.

Senior Manager/Project Director/Sr. Project Director $90,000 – $125,000
All levels of Project Directors have hands-on skills and will utilize them in their current job. This level is being groomed for senior management positions and needs to learn how to independently manage business processes and staff. You will have responsibility for key client’s projects. At the Senior Project Director level you will begin developing new business predominantly from existing clients. These levels will have 8-15 years of experience.

Sr. Analyst/Sr. Project Manager/Project Manager/Manager $55,000 – $90,000
There are a number of firsts at this level. For possibly the first time you will be the key point person on a project for internal or external clients. You will start to manage and could have as many as four direct reports. You will have very strong hands-on abilities and will definitely be doing your own analysis but distribution of the work to your staff will be a critical measure of your success as well. 4-10 years of experience required.

Analyst /Associate Project Manager $50,000 – $65,000
Beginning a market research career is most easily done with a Bachelor’s degree and gaining experience at smaller vendors. Often the non-profit and polling researchers are more willing to give an entry-level candidate a start. Academic experience alone is a difficult background to market to larger vendors or the client-side. Master’s degrees can be a plus but PhD’s are often under-valued as they are perceived as too academic. 2-4 years of experience is a great starting point for a market research career.

Smith Hanley Associates is happy to be your resource for all market research related job or candidate searches. Executive recruiters, Shirley Baron and Lindsey Bartlett, have combined experience of 18 years in the market research field and would love to put it to use for you in 2015.


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