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Women in Research releases study results at ESOMAR Congress

Women in Research, the women’s networking group for market researchers, released the second wave of its industry wide study on gender and career advancement in the research industry at ESOMAR Congress.

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This week, we're in Amsterdam speaking on stage with Orange about digital market research, and enjoying some networking with our friends in the industry from around the globe. There is always quite a bit going on during ESOMAR Congress, but one piece of news caught our attention immediately. Women in Research (WIRe), the women’s networking group for market researchers, released the second wave of its industry-wide study, Gender and Career Advancement in the Research Industry, which is a follow-up to their initial study done in 2012. As our jobs shift and the marketplace continues to change rapidly, it’s important to note the indicators in this study and think about the future of the industry from a workplace perspective. Equality and diversity are—or should be—important issues for everyone.

WIRe’s study shows that some areas have had improvement in parity over the past five years, while overall gender disparity is still alive and ticking. The survey covered questions that correlated with the 2012 study on issues like compensation, children and family issues, job satisfaction and job responsibility levels. Specific findings from the study included:

  • Women are climbing further up the corporate ladder, but men still assume almost all the top positions, which isn't unique to our industry.
  • The gender pay gap is shrinking at the senior level, particularly outside the U.S.
  • Job and career satisfaction rises among males, but women’s satisfaction levels are stagnating
  • Females perceive more barriers to growth than males—parenting, work/life balance, lack of training and opportunities, company culture and pay are all greater hurdles. 

WIRe says that results of the study suggest that “women need to be approached early in their career to assist in mapping their path with goals, training plans, and leadership associations. Companies need to continue to focus on the needs of current and future parents (both mothers and fathers) with benefits like flexible hours, support groups, and partnerships with local childcare providers. Most importantly, in order to drive meaningful change, companies need to start treating diversity as a business performance metric.”

The issue of gender equality in the workplace is not specific to the market research industry, and all companies should keep this concept in mind when setting strategic goals. We’re glad to see this new data come to light—our industry needs to show interest in this issue, and it’s good to see its efforts to improve.