Looking Ahead: Findings From the 2018 Best Places to Work Study with Lilah Koski

Findings from the 2018 Best Place to Work study as well actionable insights for market researcher professionals and companies

In 2018 WIRe—in partnership with Logica Research and Keen as Mustard—embarked on a study to determine how marketing researchers define a great place to work. The Logica Research team (formerly Koski Research) conducted the study, and Lilah Koski, CEO of Logica Research and a member of WIRe’s executive leadership program WIRexec, shared the findings at ESOMAR Congress in September 2018. In developing the project, Koski saw a valuable opportunity to share impactful data with MR companies and—alongside WIRe and Keen as Mustard—sought to build a path for improving the workplace for researchers while looking forward to the future of work in market research at large.

The Best Place to Work study included conversations with researchers all over the world along with an online, quantitative survey that was distributed with great support from several industry organizations. Over 500 participants from over 30 countries responded. The survey obtained insights from both agency and client-side researchers, with each commanding 70% and 30% of the responses respectively. One of the biggest and most hopeful takeaways from the study was that most researchers like going to work—89% of them, to be exact. Participants also noted, however, that there was room for improvement and shared insights into what market researchers want from their work environment but aren’t quite getting—yet.

When reviewing the major trends gleaned from the research, Koski noted, “We saw some of the trends that we might expect, as well as some surprises. For example, we saw that people want equal pay, career advancement opportunities, and training, which we would expect. However, what was new in this research is that we learned that researchers place a lot of importance on working for employers who acknowledge their lives outside of work. They also want the values expressed by executive leadership to be aligned with their own.” In fact, the top three qualities that make a great place to work for market researchers are:


  1. Executive leadership that is in line with my core values

  2. Organization attitudes that reflect an understanding or employees’ lives outside of work

  3. Opportunities for career advancement


Koski suggested that, while satisfaction is moderate, “there are gaps between what employees want in their workplace and what they are getting.” The biggest gaps in satisfaction included equal pay for comparative work and/or experience as other within their company, a lack of opportunities for career advancement, and a desire for greater and ongoing skills training.  Lower on the list but still notable was workplace and schedule flexibility. One participant remarked that, when imagining their ideal workplace, they envisioned a “good, collaborative work environment that respects people’s work and personal lives and has reasonable expectations. It lets me take care of myself and my family without feeling like I must work overtime and put family aside to get ahead.” Another participant said that a good place to work meant, “being consulted, listened to and trusted by the Global Board, then given a team and budget to make things happen in my own way.”

Although the study didn’t directly ask participants to look to the future of market research in its questioning, its findings suggest numerous jumping off points for companies interested in improving their workplace environment. Looking to the overarching themes gleaned from responses, Koski noted that, “opportunities for career advancement show the biggest gap between what employees want and what they are getting. Career advancement is a place where all organizations can place some attention and see what they can do to improve this aspect for researchers.” Researchers too, as advocates for themselves and fellow employees, have the opportunity to draw on data like the Best Places to Work study when encouraging shifts in their workplace policy and attitude. When considering a position with a new company, below are some questions that might help potential employees get a good sense of the company’s workplace ethos before signing on:

  • How is employee performance evaluated?

  • What kind of opportunities are there for advancement and how are these communicated?

  • Is there a formal or informal mentoring program to help with career development?

  • What is the company’s mission statement and core values?

  • How does the company express these values?

  • What are some of the ways the company supports employees in their lives outside of work?

  • Has the company reviewed its pay and has it taken steps to make sure it’s fair?

  • What kind of training does the company offer?

What qualities, in your opinion, make a great place to work? Tweet @WomeninResearch and let us know!


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