2019 Market Research Outlook

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As mentioned in previous market research blogs it is currently a candidate’s market. The unemployment rate is extremely low. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that by 2020, 20.5 million new jobs will be added, a 14.3% growth rate since 2010. Some jobs will grow at a much faster rate during this period, and Analyst in market research is one of them. What do recruiters see our clients asking for, and what will make you, as a candidate, successful? No longer is it about just writing surveys or listening to focus groups and reporting.

Merger of Data Analytics and Consumer Insights

There is a merger of data analytics and consumer insights. Understanding big data or making sense of tons of data from resources as diverse as survey, behavioral, social, secondary and more is a necessary skill set. Now more than ever it is important to listen to the consumer and combine disparate data sources into one story. Also, as part of this skill you will need to be able to understand and collaborate with the data scientists in the organization to explain what the right questions are and paths within the data that could be revelatory. If you master this concept, you will be in demand.

Someone Who Can Do It All

Someone who can do it all, work with vendors, write questionnaires, moderate, build presentations and work with clients/business partners, is the ideal candidate. No longer will most of the people in the department from the Director on down be just working with vendors. This will change by size of company but for mid and small size companies this “do it all” person will be the norm.


Companies are looking for a more professional look to the reports they receive from vendors and that they receive from the Insights department. If you know Tableau or other data visualization software you will be in demand.

Out of the Box Thinking

More often clients are asking for someone who is not an order taker. Someone who can develop new ideas and practices. With this comes curiosity and openness to learn. This person needs to understand the consumer and know how the consumers’ actions will affect the organization.

Looking Beyond the Traditional

Along with out of the box thinking and visualization comes looking beyond the traditional. How do market researchers immerse their clients or business partners into the world of the consumer? Can you brainstorm the possibilities or are you stuck in standard practices? To be successful you will need to be able to utilize both standard and future practices but more importantly be open to what is to come – technology being just one example.


A candidate who can interact with clients, customers, senior leaders or board members and can communicate the importance of insights eloquently always has a leg up on other candidates. This person has to be a sales person and a diplomat rolled into one but also know how to push back in a respectful way. Polish is important at all levels. It is important to start to develop this trait quickly, even at an entry level.


Along with polish, comes confidence. More junior candidates get good jobs because they go in during an interview and look the hiring manager in the eye and show confidence in their ability and in their potential. This would work for any candidate who might have the less than perfect resume such as job gaps, layoffs, etc. Go into your next interview with confidence and be open to the possibilities.

You hold the key to your future. The key will be learning new external skills by taking classes in technical areas to understand data and visualization tools. You should also focus on learning new internal traits and personality skills that may be a bit harder but will help you throughout your entire career and life.

Interested in talking more about your career in market research?  Contact the Smith Hanley Associates‘ Market Research Recruiter, Lindsey Bartlett, at lbartlett@smithhanley.com.

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