NEWS6 July 2023

MRS updates inclusion pledge

Inclusion News People UK

UK – The Market Research Society (MRS) has launched a new inclusion pledge for independent consultants and updated its pledge for company chief executives to help improve representation and transparency in the research industry.

Multiple people from different backgrounds

The changes, which were announced at the MRS Equality Summit on Wednesday, will see the new inclusion pledge for independent consultants offer opportunities to make industry practices and systems support representation in the industry and inclusive company environments.

Among the commitments are working with research partners that practice pay parity and which have a strong representation of women and marginalised communities at all levels of the organisation.

The pledge for independent consultants will also mimic the existing company pledge in its commitment to design and carry out projects with representation in mind, including methodologies and transparent sampling.

The business pledge has also been updated to include commitments to consider both visible and invisible disabilities in places of work and to ensure communications and systems are developed with these groups in mind.

Also added to the company pledge is the need for transparent communication around samples, particularly for those claiming to be nationally representative, and to actively consider inclusive research designs and methodologies.

The pledge has upped the importance of whistleblowing, replacing the Advertising Association TimeTo charter on sexual harassment.

The MRS inclusion pledge was launched in 2018 and has had almost 100 organisations sign up.

Speaking at the MRS Equality Summit, Jane Frost, chief executive at the MRS, said: “When you claim to be representative, you will need to be transparent on the basis on which you make that claim. It is only through that transparency that you can learn and improve.

“All of the things announced are going to help people feel more welcome and included in our sector.”

In a statement, Frost added: “Inclusive practices obviously need to stretch to the research itself too to ensure our work is as effective and fair as possible. We’re pleased to be expanding the remit of the company commitment to encourage better representation in our sector’s work, as well as extending the pledge to consultants.

“Given independent consultants make up a significant proportion of our sector’s workforce, the new pledge for this group will be crucial to pushing forward inclusion across market and social research as a whole.”

Annabelle Phillips, diversity and inclusion lead on the ICG Committee and founder at AP Research, said: “Diversity and inclusion are essential in the world of research. Not only do we need to ensure that the views and voices of as many communities as possible are heard, having representation from these communities will make the work we do more relevant and more insightful.

“Many of the promises being made by agencies are not relevant to independent consultants. The ICG has therefore worked with the MRS to allow independent consultants to demonstrate their commitment in a pledge that is practical and relevant to them.”