OPINION22 February 2016

The job market: career development now and then

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As the Market Research Society celebrates its 70th birthday, Sinead Hasson takes a look at how career development has changed.

Change crop

The problem with writing about career development 70 years ago is that I’m far too young to hark back to 1945. My time in market research (swallows hard) dates back to 1996, which, for this piece, is – I think – quite far enough, thank you very much.

Twenty years ago, market research agencies were after people skilled in classic qual and quant methodologies, who could efficiently execute a research brief, usually for others to interpret. Such methods could, by and large, be learned academically and applied vocationally, giving junior researchers a fairly linear and well-defined career path to pursue. Back then, ‘insight’ was rarely mentioned. Field-based research was the mainstay, which required mobilising teams to get out there and engage face to face with consumers.

Today, demands on researchers are more complex and more strategic, needing the career-minded to adopt a vastly different outlook. The digital revolution has enabled a whole new level of data collection, community engagement and ...