Late last July, when we began fielding the survey for the 2020 Q Report, we were all in the thick of the pandemic. Almost a year later, launching the survey for this year’s Q Report, there are tantalizing signs that we are coming out of it – along with the delta variant’s daily reminders that COVID-19 is not going away quietly. While in 2020 we asked researchers many questions to get at how they were adapting to the pandemic’s many impacts, this year we pivoted to a more forward-looking approach.

In other words, how do we feel about where we are and where we might be going?

The Q Report work life and salary and compensation study of end-client/corporate researchers is based on data gathered from an invite-only online survey sent to pre-qualified marketing research subscribers of Quirk’s. The survey was fielded from June 10 to July 16, 2021. In total we received 1,951 usable qualified responses of which 816 were from end-client researchers and used for this end-client report. An interval (margin of error) of 2.16 at the 95% confidence level was achieved for the entire study. (Not all respondents answered all questions.)

Along with a host of questions about department staff levels, years on the job, skill sets and job satisfaction (see the accompanying content for a deeper dive on those findings), we asked open-ends about: the biggest research-related changes their organization planned for the coming year; how valued they feel marketing research is internally and in the business world as a whole; and how they feel about the future of insights as a profession.

No major themes emerged from the question about the MR-related changes planned for the coming year and the tone was largely hopeful and optimistic despite the current societal backdrop. Lots of talk of automation (of reporting, analysis, etc.), of centralizing (from small tasks like getting a handle on processes such as documentation and gl...