NEWS13 September 2017

Gender inequality persists in the MR industry, survey finds

News North America

US – Women in market research are still losing out to men in terms of jobs, pay and satisfaction, despite progress towards better gender equality.

Kristin_luck crop

That’s according to the findings of a new survey by Women in Research (WIRe), following up on a previous study conducted in 2012.

The study examines the impact of industry equality initiatives over the past five years, and while it highlights some areas of improvement, it confirms that gender disparity is alive and well.

The survey of nearly 1,000 female and male research professionals covered pay, families, job satisfaction and levels of job responsibility. Key findings include:

  • Women are climbing further up the corporate ladder, but men still take more of the top jobs, particularly in bigger organisations.
  • The gender pay gap is shrinking at the top level, but among parents the gap remains wide – and has become wider.
  • Men’s job and career satisfaction has risen, but for women it remains stagnant. This tallies with continued pessimism about promotions.
  • Women still face more barriers to advancement than men: including parenting issues, lack of opportunities and company culture.
  • While the industry has made progress on flexible hours, diversity in hiring and affirmative action, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

WIRe’s founder Kristin Luck (pictured) said: “Our 2012 study unequivocally showed that workplace gender disparities existed in the market research industry. This follow-up study highlights the impact of both WIRe’s initiatives and individual corporate diversity programs, and sets forth clear recommendations to drive parity at a faster pace.”

WIRe said employers “need to start treating diversity as a business performance metric” and training employees to recognise and challenge unconscious bias. They also need to do more to support women from an early stage in their careers with planning, training and networking, and to support current and future parents, the organisation said.

Luck said: “Despite the gains we’ve seen in some areas there is still significant gender disparity in the workplace in our industry, and companies need to continue to make diversity a priority by investing in the people resources and programming that can produce measureable and meaningful change.”

WIRe’s survey was conducted in July 2017 in partnership with Lieberman Research Worldwide, with data collection support from FocusVision. Sample partners included Esomar, Greenbook and the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA).

Full results of the study can be found at