Hiring and staffing trends: helping to fill exceptional jobs

Current Hiring and Staffing Trends: Filling Exceptional Jobs

Based upon decades of experience helping professionals advance their careers, Reeve & Associates would like to periodically share our perspective on the job market.

How to Best Hire in 2023: Facts and Actions

Phil Reeve hosted a live LinkedIn webinar sharing how to Best Hire in 2023. Below are several key messages from the webinar which you can view online at: https://www.linkedin.com/video/event/urn:li:ugcPost:7029897841816866816/

How to Best Hire in 2023

Key Messages:

  • With unemployment well below 4%, candidates are still very much in the driver's seat.
  • Your best candidates are already employed. In fact, only 1 out of 84 resumes from a job posting are even qualified to do the job.
  • Think outside of the box to recruit passive candidates. In fact, most employed professionals are open to good opportunities offering new challenges and greater pay.
  • Employees prefer working remotely as it increases productivity and their quality of life.
  • A hiring process that takes more than 2 months will yield no candidates.
  • In today's market, it's all about the money: candidates exaggerate their compensation and employers make unrealistic offers.
  • The rejection of job offers is real. In fact, nearly half of all today's job offers are rejected.

If you're hiring, please contact phil@reevejobs.com who would be glad to discuss how to fill any open positions with qualified professionals.


Prior Industry Updates

Below are previous summaries reflecting our perspective of the market research job market.

Q2, 2022: Understanding Remote Working: What the Data Says and Means

I wanted to share with you the results of two surveys we just conducted as we were starting to hear from employers that they were thinking about asking employees to return to the office.

We were curious what the data would tell us as our recruiting experience indicated a clear message from employees.


Currently, almost 70% of MR professionals are working remotely all 5 days per week.

  • 97% do not want to return to the office on any extended basis.
  • 48% of employers are NOT requiring employees to return to the office.
  • 80% of employers recognize that requiring employees to come back will increase turn over.

From the surveys, we have hard data indicating remote employees are happier and tremendously productive -- and the employers agree. And companies with remote employees have benefitted as nearly three-quarters have experienced increasing profits over the past two years.

If employees are required to spend their time and money commuting, their office presence needs to address activities that cannot be done over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. This typically means teambuilding, mentoring or training -- but not ordinary staff meetings or work that can be done remotely.

I recommend:

  • Each organization should define their goals for in-office work.
  • Companies should survey their employees to determine if an in-office presence helps achieve those goals -- and how to ensure team members are in the office on the same days.
  • To any employer looking to change things: don't fix what isn't broken. Don't force employees to look for another job just because you want them back in the office.

With plenty of open MR jobs, the key to retaining or expanding your staff is to allow them to work remotely.

Also realize if you are trying to hire, the requirement to work in the office limits your choice of candidates to only your local area -- or those willing to commute.

Be strategic about your policies and listen to the data!

If you are exploring career options or need to find talent for your organization, visit us at reevejobs.com or call us at 203-968-2773.



Q4 2021 Update: Doing the Math

If you've tried to hire, you know the demand for MR professionals remains at an all-time high. It is challenging to fill any open position—from entry to the executive level.

Employees are comfortable working remotely, and it takes a substantial increase in salary, benefits or career opportunity to entice a change.

Q4, 2021 Market Research Industry Hiring Update


To consider a new job, most employees are seeking a 20% to 25% increase, while employers endeavor to pay 0% to 10% over an employee's current compensation. Add a lengthy hiring process and many candidates tend to lose interest or accept attractive offers from companies that move faster.

A solution can be found using some basic math.

For Candidates
Candidates holding out for a new job paying 20% more will likely remain in their current job receiving a 3% annual raise. So, it will take just under 5 years of grinding it out to make 15% more. Resetting expectations, a candidate can immediately earn 15% more by accepting a new position while tackling new challenges and developing additional skills. The choice is yours.

For Employers
Employers can continue to extend offers providing a 0% to 10% increase only to have candidates decline. Or employers can step up and meet the candidate half-way, offering a 15% increase that will be accepted. Given the demand for skilled MR professionals, the increased cost is a wise investment to protect your MR department from burnout or having team members depart for greener pastures.

Some suggestions for today's market.

Candidates need to consider:

  1. The high cost of excessive compensation expectations means staying in the same job earning only 3% more each year.
  2. The positive career impact of developing new skills that accompany a new job.

Employers need to consider:

  1. Clearly articulating why candidates should work for them—having a concise written statement that is persuasive.
  2. Including a focused list of requirements—preventing candidates from self-selecting away from your job.
  3. Making the best offer first—showing "the love" and reducing potential counteroffers.

Remember, hiring requires communication and agreement from both parties. A few minutes discussing goals, expectations and compensation will go a long way to determining if a candidate is right for the job—and if the job is right for the candidate.

If you're looking to hire or to make a career change, please visit www.reevejobs.com for latest salary data and employment advice.



Q1 2021 Update: The Impact of Working Remote

Nearly one year ago the world and entire commercial sector experienced an enormous challenge as the impact of the global pandemic began to be felt.

Employers and employees had to quickly adopt remote models for most activities including sales to operations to staffing—and everything in between.

Q1 2021 Market Research Industry Update


With so much to learn, understanding the remote model has been a boon for market research.

The shift toward remote working has positively impacted the market research industry.

  • Job satisfaction among researchers increased from 65% last year to 73% this year.
  • Like last year, the typical researcher is expecting a 4% raise in 2021.

However, change typically has two aspects and the survey also revealed:

  • Half of all researchers expect no raise in 2021.
  • 47% of all researchers are considering looking for a new job in 2021 due to limited pay increases and the desire for new career opportunities.

We are seeing increased demand for market research professionals across all levels. Companies willing to adopt the remote model themselves can find great talent at competitive salaries due to a larger pool of qualified researchers. But organizations that still require someone to commute to the office can expect to pay more and face a very tight labor market.

And remote staffing creates opportunities for candidates, too. Not only can skilled researchers apply to a broader set of companies independent of their location, many companies are embracing new research methods which translate into exciting advancement opportunities—in terms of skills and compensation.

As 2020 appears smaller in our rearview mirror, we see a bright future for the market research industry in 2021.

If you are looking to hire or seeking a new career opportunity, please contact us. We would be delighted to help you.



2020 Update: Hiring Remote Candidates during COVID Epidemic

As most employers and employees are now fully on their way to a remote working lifestyle, everyone is experiencing the bumps along the road. However the journey will ultimately benefit both the employer and employee.

This is as an amazing time when everyone is forced to work differently and ultimately more effectively and productively at home.

  • Some people have worked at home for years, but for most managers and employees this is brand new.
  • Learning how to focus and having the right space to work is key.

The good news is remote working raises productivity and decompresses schedules as commuting is eliminated. And a better-work life balance leads to happier employees which benefits employers.

Remote Hiring
If an employer is willing to consider remote employees then the candidate pool expands dramatically—and costs go down. Not only do employers have more choices, but hiring costs shrink by eliminating relocation or cost of living adjustments. And salaries can reflect the location of where the employee lives, not where they would have otherwise worked.

Search Example
We have a client who has been struggling to hire due to their location and the pandemic ripple effects. After 3 months they decided to consider hiring someone remote as they needed to be remote now given COVID-19. If they could find someone with the right skills who would be willing to visit the office a few times a year to be part of the team, this could be a perfect solution. Based on that change they had 10 new candidates to consider within a week.

From what we have experienced, I expect more companies hiring remote employees in 2020 and beyond. And if they embrace this national trend, candidates will have more job and career choices as the barriers of location start to disappear.

To recap, the benefits for employers are:

  • Remote hiring allows more candidate choices
  • Remote hiring can lower your cost to hire—no relo or geography-based salary adjustments
  • Remote hiring can lower your ongoing personnel and benefit budgets
  • Video calls allow you to seamlessly connect with employees
  • Employee turnover can be reduced

The benefits for candidates include:

  • More job possibilities
  • Ability to be more productive
  • Less or no time commuting
  • A better-work life balance

In the staffing space there are very few win-wins. This is one of them.



2019 Fourth Quarter Hiring Update

As the busiest time of 2019 approaches, we wanted to provide a summary of what we have seen in the job market from two vantage points.

Employer Perspective
Companies continue to hire albeit slowly. But their staffing needs and approach to hiring are shifting. For example:

  • Companies increasingly resist remote employees.
  • Generally, employers appear to be less flexible and most are not exploring new methods to attract much needed talent.
  • The hiring process remains too long for most candidates--taking months rather than weeks.

If you're seeking quality candidates, we suggest exploring our Budget Staffing solution. It will provide you with quality candidates while saving you time and money.

Candidate Perspective
Just as the needs of hiring firms have changed, so have those of the candidate. Specifically:

  • Candidates are more focused upon acquiring skills and developing their career path.
  • Candidates want to believe in their employers and be excited to arrive at work every day.
  • Many highly qualified candidates seek a 20% increase--and most receive multiple offers including counter-offers to remain at their current firm.

If you're seeking a job, please contact us or submit your resume. Then we can have a productive discussion about your career objectives and advancement opportunities.



2019 Mid-Year Hiring Update

Now that we're nearly at the mid-year point of 2019, we wanted to provide a summary of what we have seen in today's job market.

"Just wanted to say that you do a great job with these emails and videos. They get to the point and they communicate that you care about the employers and the job hunters who follow you. Keep up the personalized approach!"
-- Head of Consumer Insights

Companies are looking to hire at all levels. However, 80% of these jobs are to replace someone who left 6 to 12 months earlier. Only 20% are new jobs.

  • First, the job market for qualified professionals is very tight.
  • Employers must think "outside the box" and consider people who can grow into positions -- few "plug-and-play" candidates are available.
  • Candidates who are a perfect fit are typically $10K to $20K beyond most salary ranges.
  • Delays in the interview process are the biggest employer challenge -- ultimately costing more money in the end.
  • Select a start date for the position, and work backwards to fill the job. If you don't have a pipeline of qualified candidates two months before the start date, please contact us.
  • Our Budget Staffing Service results in hires twice as fast as the traditional contingency search. The natural motivation to pay less creates an urgency and saves everyone time and money. So, consider this approach with your next hiring need.

Job Seekers
Employers want to know you researched their company, the job, and the hiring team. Don't show up expecting to be told everything. In just a few minutes with searches on Google and LinkedIn, you'll be ready to have a productive and informed conversation. Your research:

  • Demonstrates you have a real interest in the company and the job.
  • Prepares you with interesting interview questions.

Job seekers should also expect that employers will want to evaluate your skills. So be prepared with examples of your past/current work or an exercise that demonstrates your thinking and analytical abilities.

In Summary

  • Employers must think outside the box, move quickly and make reasonable offers that will hire qualified people. Please stop making offers based upon what you want to pay.
  • Candidates must conduct a few minutes of due diligence, prepare for interviews, and arrive with past work examples.


2018 Retrospective and 2019 Outlook

Reflecting on 2018 and considering activity levels in early 2019, we would like to share our perspective on the current state of the market research staffing and job market.

Looking Back
In 2018, there was great demand for MR jobs--specifically for analytics, sales and digital marketing professionals. Candidates with skills and experience in these areas had a myriad of opportunities.

Passive (or currently employed) candidates required a 20% increase to even consider a career change. But working through the process, they resolved on a 12% to 15% increase to accept a new position. Offers of 10% or less -- including lateral offers -- were universally declined.

The unwillingness of employers to recognize this market force made it more difficult for hiring managers to fill vacancies or expand their market research teams -- a trend we expect to continue.

Looking Forward
Hiring managers must continue to streamline their decision-making process -- making faster decisions on candidates. Excessive or unexplained delays are the second-most prevalent reason why qualified candidates exited the hiring process. The first is uncompetitive compensation.

Employers must objectively assess their true opportunity cost associated with delayed hiring and inappropriate offers. Time is actually money for the employer -- and the candidate.

In 2019, we expect greater hiring demand. Employers that move quickly have the best chance of securing the best talent. Through this demand, candidates will have a larger pool of jobs from which to choose. So, candidates must evaluate opportunities based upon their career objectives as well as their financial needs.

Contact Us
If you're looking to hire in 2019, please contact us or call us at 203-968-2773. Likewise, if you're seeking a new career challenge or advancement opportunity, please share your updated resume with us.



Second Half, 2018

Given our successful placements during the first half of 2018, we wanted to share our thoughts and experiences regarding the current job market and our outlook for the second half of 2018.

Second Half, 2018 Industry Update

Thoughts for Employers
With the overall unemployment rate at an all-time low, companies of all sizes are actively searching for experienced professionals. And while qualified talent is currently available, many companies have yet to modify their process and expectations to align with today's market. Specifically:

  1. The interview process remains too long. Qualified candidates often accept other positions if the time between the first interview and the offer exceeds eight weeks. Companies need to move quickly to avoid losing quality candidates to other firms.
  2. Compensation levels are insufficient. Given most experienced professionals are currently working, an increase between 15% and 20% is required to attract and secure talent.
  3. Interested candidates will be harder to find. As skilled professionals accept new jobs, the pool of experienced talent willing to make a career change will dwindle.
  4. Time is money. There is a calculable cost of delaying hiring -- either in lost sales/revenue or in the ability to drive additional profits or support additional business.

Thoughts for Candidates
Today employed, qualified employees have the best job prospects in the past decade. For those with hands-on experience, there are significant opportunities for increased responsibilities, a new title, and greater compensation. Those open to a career change should:

  1. Choose wisely. Focus upon opportunities that meet your career aspirations, require the skills you currently possess and are financially viable for you. Do your research up front.
  2. Remain patient. Understand that many companies have not yet streamlined their hiring and interview process. Be available and work with the company to compress the hiring process
  3. Clearly communicate. Share where you are in the search process -- and when you're likely to make a decision. And be clear about your salary, title and responsibility expectations so everyone's time is effectively used.
  4. Be decisive. When you receive multiple offers, carefully consider the benefits and disadvantages of each. And when you arrive at a decision, stick with it.



Q1, 2018

With a New Year and a new tax program, 2018 is shaping up to be a strong year for hiring for both companies and candidates.

2018 Industry Update

2018 Staffing

  1. Good candidates will be harder to find. Passive candidates need convincing to make a career move -- led by career and skill development opportunities.
  2. Plan ahead. It takes approximately 50 days to staff the typical MR position. If it takes longer, the job description and/or the salary need to be reviewed and revised.
  3. 2018 is the year of the candidate. MR professionals who seek new responsibilities and skills will find new, rewarding positions. Don't 'self-eliminate' and explore all opportunities.
  4. Wages will increase. Expect to pay a qualified, currently-employed candidate 15% to 20% more than their current compensation to join your team. It sounds like a great deal but it's a small fraction of the lost revenue without them.
  5. Additional staff will be needed due to lower corporate taxes. As demands for business services grow, additional MR talent will be required to meet increased demand.



Q1, 2017

With 2017 now underway, Reeve & Associates expects the tightening within the labor market to continue -- which is positive news for professionals considering a new position. Below are several key trends we have experienced during the second half of 2016 and expect to continue into the first half of this year.

2017 Industry Update

Market Trends and Implications

  1. Accelerated hiring process. In 2016, it took slightly more than two months to fill a position -- down substantially from four months in 2015. Candidates that remain patient coupled with hiring managers who streamline the interviewing process have the best chance for success.
  2. Selective recruitment. On average, more than 100 candidates are evaluated for any given position. Of those, six to eight will participate in telephone interviews -- with half invited for in-person interviews. Candidates who research their potential employer and speak with current employees do the best on interviews.
  3. Intensive interviews. While the interview process varies from firm to firm, it generally requires a phone interview followed by two separate days of in-person interviewing to secure a job offer. It is worthy to note that each day of interviewing typically involves meeting multiple individuals. Employers that limit call-backs and maximize the participation of all decision-makers have a higher success rate of landing the best candidate.
  4. Increasing compensation. Most employed candidates are seeking a 20% increase in total compensation to make a career change even if they haven’t had an increase or very little in the past year. Candidates with realistic compensation expectations coupled with employers who can offer a 12-15% increase in compensation are those that make successful hires.
  5. Skills testing. It is becomingly increasingly common for candidates to participate in a skills test prior to receiving an offer. Candidates should be prepared to demonstrate their abilities to potential employers -- not just talk about them.
  6. Work from home. Also emerging as a more accepted trend is the ability for professionals to work remotely. Employers need to understand that geographic flexibility is becoming a decision-making factor for qualified candidates.


Employer Considerations
Given the majority of open positions require skilled and experienced researchers, employers must:

  • Decide Quickly. Managers who decide quickly can hire the very best candidates. Everyone wants to "feel the love" and a lengthy process causes candidates to lose interest, embrace their current job or interview elsewhere. Managers who decide quickly can service more clients -- earning greater revenue -- and prevent current employees from being overworked -- lowering churn and the time/expense of re-staffing.
  • Set a Target Hire Date. Mark your calendar when you want or need your new employee onboard and work your way backwards toward key benchmarks. Our data shows employers must complete the telephone and in-person interview process within 30 days. Offers must be extended within 45 days to have your new employee provide proper notice and start with you in two months. No task, including staffing, is successfully accomplished without a schedule.
  • Sell Your Company. Be aware that as you interview candidates, candidates interview you. Develop a list of job and company advantages and make sure they are persuasive to you. Then message those points throughout the interview process. Hiring works best if you can engage and attract talent.



Q1, 2015

As often requested, we wanted to share our views and experiences regarding the employment market for research professionals in 2015.

The bullets below represent highlights with additional statistics and commentary available by clicking on the corresponding image.

  1. Employees today are more comfortable and more satisfied with their jobs -- despite working much longer hours.
  2. Fortunately, more than half of all organizations expect to hire MR professionals in 2015 -- with greatest demand for entry-level researchers, Project Directors and Research Managers.
  3. Compared to one year ago, salaries are up by just under 3% with the "typical" researcher earning a salary of nearly $105,000. To help compensate for modest raises, most employers have increased annual bonuses by nearly one-third to an average of $25,000.
  4. Of course, compensation varies by job title, years of experience, geography and other factors. For example, those in corporate research departments tend to earn more than their supplier counterparts. And researchers working in engineering, retail, banking and CPG have the greatest total compensation package.
  5. The number one reason job offers are declined continues to be insufficient compensation -- cited by nearly half of all individuals who pass on a job. Today, the typical researcher seeks a 23% increase to make a career move. But those who are satisfied with their job or not currently exploring career opportunities demand closer to 30%.
  • 2015 Compensation Report
  • Q1 2015 Staffing Update


Q1, 2014

With the New Year underway, I wanted to share our experiences regarding the current state of Market Research Staffing and our 2014 Outlook.

Given time is precious for everyone, below are several key points reflecting the unique perspectives of candidates and hiring managers. For additional “color,” please take 3 minutes (literally) to watch our video.

Considerations for Candidates:

  • While the number of advertised MR jobs continues to grow, so have the requirements and responsibilities -- reflecting greater demand for more experienced researchers.
  • Regretfully, the interviewing process remains lengthy and often full of "hurry up and waits." Patience is essential.
  • Offered salaries remain relatively stable and require negotiations to secure the increases necessary to encourage a researcher to change jobs.

Considerations for Employers:

  • There are fewer qualified candidates as those with needed skills remain generally less eager to make a career move.
  • To hire qualified candidates, employers need to compress the hiring process -- which is currently taking months and discouraging candidates.
  • Those participating within the interviewing process need to remember that candidates are also interviewing employers -- so professionalism is essential.
  • Employers need to prioritize skills and be willing to make the necessary tradeoffs between "must have" skills and salary.


Q1, 2013

During the first quarter of 2013, we have seen an increase in the number of advertised jobs, more clients requesting assistance, and generally greater interest in hiring.

Overall, businesses are doing well -- maintaining and even increasing profits.

But as employers seek experienced candidates who possess a complete skill set, the vast majority of those hired are less seasoned and require on-the-job training. Generally, this is driven by continued economic uncertainty and company budget constraints. This staffing approach tends to extend the hiring timeline as managers determine the right balance of skills, experience, and compensation.

There continues, however, to be a clear "compensation gap." Employers want to pay less, and candidates want a sizable increase (generally an unrealistic 20%) to leave their current job. Given raises will be in the 2-3% range this year, those candidates seeking new challenges or an alternative environment might consider a 5% to 10% increase -- still twice the expected increase in 2013.

Given the stock markets are forward looking indicators, we expect the company profits will continue and hiring will necessarily follow--particularly in Q3 and Q4.



Q3, 2012

In summary, staffing slowed toward the tail-end of Q2 and continues through Q3. Employers extending offers seek to contain salaries -- resulting in most offers being declined. However, the demand for experienced researchers remains strong. We are optimistic that the salary disconnect will be resolved after the Presidential election. We encouarge you to watch the video and review the bullet points below for more insights.

During Q2 and Q3, 2012, the pace of hiring has slowed, driven by:

  • General state of the U.S. and global economies.
  • Coming Presidential election with many companies adopting a "wait and see" attitude.

Offers to experienced researchers continue to underwhelm employed candidates – with most being rejected.

  • Employers seek experienced professionals but are not willing (or allowed) to pay for it.
  • Extended offers are generally 10% to 20% below market value.
  • Finance and HR are directed to place downward pressure on salaries --  leaving many hiring managers "high and dry."

Characteristics of researchers increasingly in demand:

  • Researchers who understand and measure the impact of mobile/smartphone marketing and advertising.
  • MR professionals who can analyze large datasets – including behavioral data.
  • Sales – anyone who can help move the topline.

MR jobs expected to experience less demand in the coming year:

  • Field managers as automated technologies continue their advancement.
  • Qualitative researchers as social media begins to supplant focus groups.
  • Highly paid Project Directors and Research Managers as companies staff up under a departmental “salary cap.”

What’s to come in Q4 and 2013?

  • Post election, we expect additional clarity will lead to actual business planning and hiring.
  • Some firms will staff in Q4 enabling new hires to start in January, 2013 -- a new budget year.
  • MR professionals will seek new career opportunities given historical raises of 0% to 2% raises over the past four years -- and sheer exhaustion levels.
  • Employed researchers will demand an increase of 20% to accept a job -- half of which will go toward restoring lost compensation from the past four years.


Q2, 2012: Industry Interview with Bob Lederer

Recently Bob Lederer of RFL Communications interviewed Phil Reeve of Reeve & Associates to better understand the current staffing trends for Market Research professionals.

The discussion focused upon many critical staffing topics, including:

  • Hiring barriers
  • Employee expectations
  • Compensation
  • Job openings
  • and much more

The interview has been deemed as a "must see" for all hiring managers and HR professionals -- particularly those expanding or re-staffing their research organizations.

Click to view either or both segments of the interview.

Part I is available at http://youtu.be/cHZEACh676M

Part II is available at http://youtu.be/G00R6YdVmoI

As Bob said, "it's good stuff from an expert!"



Q1, 2012


2012: Number of Career Opportunities

  • The number of career opportunities will be consistent with 2011.
  • Hiring remains to fill attrition-led vacancies and alleviate workload rather than support new initiatives.
  • Expect greater hiring by Suppliers compared to Corporate research departments.
  • It will be easier for those currently employed (compared to students and those searching for work) to land a new job.

2012: Skills in Demand

  • Employers seek experienced researchers but are willing to trade fewer years of experience to attract a larger talent pool and pay lower salaries.
  • Expect an increasing focus upon measuring digital behaviors, activity, and media consumption.
  • There is a growing need for data aggregation and large dataset analysis skills.
  • Of course, there is still the need for traditional researchers -- research directors, analysts, and project managers.

2012: Hiring Industries

  • Sectors hiring researchers at "elevated" levels in 2012 will include:
    • Advertising
    • Entertainment
    • Financial Services
    • Technology
  • Other sectors such as CPG continue to hire at traditional levels.

2012: Compensation

  • Employers will continue their efforts to manage down salaries compensating with signing bonuses.
  • We expect 3 out of 4 offers will be rejected by actively working MR professionals.
  • Salary increases for those securing new jobs will range between 15% and 20%; otherwise annual increases will range from 0% to 3%.

For more frequent staffing insights within the market research industry, please feel free to connect on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/philreeve) follow us on our new Twitter account at http://twitter.com/reevejobs.

You can also view the ReeveJobs Channel on YouTube as well.



Q1, 2011

During the first quarter of 2011, we expect the pace of hiring in the first half of 2011 to dramatically accelerate. Employers will seek to fill jobs that have been vacant for months -- or even years. Weary MR teams need some new blood to handle expanding workload and to revitalize their departments.

We clearly see the economy stabilizing resulting in growing confidence for the employer and the candidate.

To help hiring managers and candidates, we conducted a survey exclusively among market research professionals. We believe the results are critically important to understand the current status of the job market for MR professionals.

Please take a minute to view our Q1 Outlook video. We're confident the survey results will help everyone looking to staff MR professionals.



Q3, 2010

In the third quarter of 2010 employers appeared ready to hire as the economy continued to stabilize and many firms appeared “motivated” to fill their open positions. However, the same game often played out. Many employers were unwilling to pay market prices for research talent—continuing to insist on lower salaries resulting in many unstaffed positions.

There is a growing list of employers who have regretted this approach as quality candidates refused to leave their current job, or accepted offers reflecting true market salaries. In an effort to meet their budget, some employers hired less experienced researchers only later to express some regret with their own hiring decision.

Based upon an increase in the number of job ads and calls we have received for recruiting assistance, we expect more companies will attempt to hire in Q4. However, it remains unclear if hiring managers are willing to pay what it appropriately takes to staff an experienced research professional. We believe the battle between hiring managers and Human Resources for higher salaries will intensify in Q4 and well into 2011.

Bottom line: we expect a brief burst of hiring in Q4 with employers keeping a very tight reign on salaries.

Only time will tell if employers can see the forest for the trees as many research positions remain unstaffed.



Q2, 2010

Despite the summer months acting as the traditional vacation season within the MR industry, we are seeing an increased demand for researchers at all levels. After two years of downsizing, companies want (and in our opinion--need) to hire.

Among the emerging trends: Growing demand for:

  • Researchers with strong quantitative skills for supplier positions
  • Sales professionals among research suppliers
  • Seasoned Research Managers and Senior Managers for Corporate research jobs

This is all good news.

Unfortunately, many employers continue to believe candidates should be "pleased" to receive any job offer in the current economy. Few seem to understand good candidates--who are always in demand--need to be "wooed" with attractive offers to secure an acceptance.

Candidates with whom we speak are increasingly open to discussions and exploring new positions but remain cautious about making a career move.

Interestingly, we are also seeing employers make aggressive counter offers to keep good researchers on their teams. Before accepting an offer and resigning, candidates need to consider how they may handle counteroffer situations. We will gladly help candidates navigate this important topic to help maximize their long-term career potential.



Q1, 2010

As we approach the end of the first quarter, I wanted to share our perspective on the job market with you.

Fortunately, the demand for hiring has increased significantly. Employers are looking to expand their teams with quality researches to reduce the current workload and tackle new projects.

However, the salary expectations of many employers (based on their job requirements) remain out of line with historical metrics and the value delivered by seasoned MR professionals. Consequently, many employers are being "penny wise and pound foolish" as they continuously advertise for jobs they cannot fill due to unreasonably low salaries. We urge candidates to ask employers how long they have been trying to fill any given position.

As you know and have likely experienced firsthand, there is a greater workload being placed upon MR professionals who are currently employed -- many who have not received a raise or bonus in the past one or two years.

And with the additional stress of more demanding workloads, cracks are appearing in employee's goodwill toward their employer. Many MR professionals are open to or actively exploring career opportunities. Additionally, many MR professionals also tire of providing minimal quality work in an effort to address the overwhelming demands for their services.

And while the hiring process remains slow, the imbalance that has emerged over the past two years is now beginning to swing in favor of the candidate.

In our view, demand for experienced candidates will continue to grow throughout 2010 as:

  • Open positions remain unstaffed
  • Turnover becomes more prevalent
  • The demand for market research grows
  • Candidates seek more lucrative and "balanced" work environments

Importantly, candidates will experience greater compensation as the demand for MR professionals grows throughout the year.

Our suggestion is that it may finally be time for MR professionals to take an objective review of their contributions, workload, career aspirations, and compensation and see how they match to their current position.

We hope you will find congruency. But if you don't, this spring may be the time to take a look around after a two year winter.