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Future of Research

Driving Equal Opportunity in the Market Research Industry


Michelle Andre

Managing Director, WIRe

In recent years, the market research industry has made strides toward inclusion and parity, not only for women, but for other marginalized communities as well. 

For researchers and the companies that employ them, the benefits are twofold: A more diverse insights team offers different perspectives and, in turn, product development that is more representative of an increasingly diverse consumer base. Further, research has shown that a company’s bottom line improves when steered by a diverse leadership team. 

Why, then, do companies continue to lag behind when it comes to corporate diversity efforts?

Finding answers

Women in Research (WIRe), an organization that supports diversity in the market research industry, conducted a Gender & Career Advancement study in 2012 and 2017. In a good example of progress, the study found the pay gap between men and women in senior market research industry roles dropped nearly 60 percent over that five year period.

Despite this advancement, CEOs in market research remained predominantly male and internal corporate diversity goals continued to miss the mark when it came to providing the kinds of resources needed to propel a diverse workforce into leadership roles. Moving forward, if companies want to retain talent and benefit from the unique insights and gifts of a diverse workforce, they must forge a distinct path to leadership as a performance metric for employees from marginalized communities with structures of support, encouragement, and equity leading the way.

Turning the tide

Where does this start? Our 2018 Best Places to Work study asked a gender-diverse set of employees what qualities they look for in a workplace. Top qualities included executive leadership that was in line with their core values, a company attitude that reflects an understanding of employee lives outside of work, and more opportunities for career advancement. 

In an effort to engender more supportive and inclusive workplaces in the market research sphere, WIRe has challenged CEOs in the industry to reach gender parity within every level of the organization over the next few years and to implement these corporate diversity goals as a business performance metric, just like any other key performance indicator. 
The WEF predicts we won’t reach gender parity for another 202 years. The only way we will get there is by challenging companies and stakeholders across industries to empower diverse workforces, elect leaders from myriad backgrounds and experiences, and hold themselves accountable to real, measurable diversity KPIs and goals.

Michelle Andre, Managing Director, WIRe, [email protected]

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