It’s not always a candidate’s market, but 2022 certainly is the year of the candidate. This has many implications for employees – not only is it a fantastic time to look for new opportunities, but candidates can be choosy about their next step. Interviewing is as much, if not more, about finding the right company for the candidate as it is about finding the right candidate for the company and now is the perfect time to take advantage of that, no matter what level of a company you fall in.
Why it is a Candidate’s Market
In 2020 and early 2021, companies stopped hiring or even reduced their teams as a result of the pandemic and some pauses on research – especially in-person research. Later in 2021 and now into 2022, every company is hiring. Many things have changed in the insights industry since early 2020 from the perspective of how we work, to increasing valuation of the industry and more.
Many teams lost researchers during the pandemic due to downsizing required, or people leaving for their own family needs. This is especially true in industries like hospitality. Now that things are returning to pre-pandemic levels and companies are looking forward, they need to re-staff to ensure they can handle all of the work. Companies are hiring to catch up to the level that they were at before COVID losses.
Not only are market research companies valuing each other at $1 billion, but investors and outsiders are seeing market research as a valuable asset. SAP, an investment firm, purchased Qualtrics for $8 billion in 2018. Qualtrics then went public in 2021 just two years later and from its IPO resulted in stock prices that show it was worth $27 billion. Researchers used to be seen as people more on the fringe of marketing and business, but today they are revered. Data is important and those that can obtain and analyze quality data are worth their weight in gold.
In a world before the pandemic, working in an office at a physical location was the norm. Companies limited their applicant pool to only those that lived in their area or would be willing to move to their location. Now that remote work is becoming more and more prevalent, the applicant pool gets much larger. This works both ways, meaning that candidates can apply for jobs in places they do not live and would not move to. There is also another side of this which is that most companies are offering remote work, so candidates can use that to their advantage in negotiations or in their job search to help define what they want.
Selling Your Experience and Getting the Most Out of a Role
Most companies start looking for junior staff as there are more available positions at that level. But in a market like this, there are openings for people at every level. The best thing to do, no matter your length of experience, is talk with a prospective employer and see where they can be flexible. Most companies cannot fill all of the roles they have available so you may be able to negotiate. Look for flexibility in requirements such as tenure or salary and benefits given your match to the role.
If You’re New to Market Research
Sometimes companies are hesitant to consider candidates that don’t have formal market research backgrounds. This isn’t the best news if you’re looking to break into the industry. However, there are many transferable skills that hiring managers may be looking for – data visualization, data analysis, SaaS technologies and the like. Even things like sociology and anthropology transfer to market research very well. There are many different methodologies in the industry and therefore many different skills that can transfer. You know your value, so be sure to communicate with specific examples and stories that show it off.
The Most Important Thing in a Job Search – Culture and Values
A cultural fit is a critical part of evaluating a company. A lot can be learned about culture based on how they act and treat you during the interview process. How easy was it to get a meeting set up, how well did the meeting go? How did you feel at the end of the interview process? How a company treats you during the interview process is how they will treat you in the job – things don’t tend to change once you get the job. To think even deeper, candidates need to think about not just a culture fit, but a culture add. This goes beyond the thought process of how you fit in with a company culture, but if you can bring anything to the table in this environment to improve and build upon what’s already there.
Corporate Social Responsibility
There are many aspects of not just culture but fundamental company values that impact employees on a day to day basis. Diversity and inclusion is something that has always been important but is being talked about more and more. It is important to evaluate a company and truly understand whether they walk the walk or if they just talk the talk. Look for diversity in leadership, not just in the first few levels of the organization. Understand if a company puts money behind their values and initiatives. Ask about a diversity and inclusion business resource group or committee and what it is that they have accomplished. There are many ways to evaluate diversity and inclusion and do not take everything a company says at face value, but dive deeper yourself.
Companies have values in a similar way to people – values such as sustainability, improving labor policies, fighting childhood hunger and general support of volunteering. Because companies have values and initiatives they support, things like these are greatly important to consider when evaluating a position. A candidate with a strong affinity for volunteerism may choose to go with a company that offers time off for volunteering, while someone who feels sustainability is critical may choose a company that has made a public promise to help the environment. Dynata for example has committed to a reforestation initiative and has already planted over 40,000 trees – they have both the stated value and have clearly demonstrated that they are capable of walking the walk.
Networking and In-Person Events
Networking is a critical part of building your professional career – especially when job hunting. This doesn’t stop when you’ve hit a certain level of seniority but should continue for the length of a person’s career – networking can always be game-changing. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, virtual meetups, or in-person events are all great methods of connecting with others in the insights industry. The Quirks Event is a great example of a cost effective and value rich networking opportunity. There are not only great speakers and presentations, but numerous networking opportunities at booths, happy hours, and other outside events. Conferences are also a great way to network and look for new opportunities without jeopardizing your current position. People go to conferences for a wide variety of reasons and even talking to an insights recruiter at a conference doesn’t mean that you’re looking for a new position.
What Does All of This Mean?
In the Market Research industry now there are not enough candidates and too many companies hiring, so your value is at an all-time high. If you are a candidate, you should be encouraged. Now is a great time to look and as long as you have a healthy attitude about yourself and what you want, you will find the right thing. It can be hard to keep a positive attitude and stay excited to talk to people on the phone, but the market for jobs doesn’t get any better than it is now.
Trusted Talent is the expert in the market research industry when it comes to matching candidates with job opportunities. Not only have we been doing this for 6 years, but every member of our team has worked in the industry, up to senior level positions in sample companies and consumer insights teams. We truly understand the needs and skills required for positions of every level as we’ve done it, hired it, and supervised it to truly understand who succeeds and who doesn’t. Given this experience, the recruiters at Trusted Talent are able to see the benefits of the skills that AI systems deem irrelevant. Review our list of open positions or create a candidate profile to get started with the true industry experts today.