Editor’s note: Scott Worthge is senior manager, talent development, at DISQO, a Glendale, Calif.-based customer experience platform. 

You’ve heard the phrase “quiet quitting,” where an employee does the bare minimum at work and effectively “clocks out.” You’ve nodded your head in agreement or you’ve rolled your eyes, but regardless of how you feel about the trend, the driver comes down to the perceived value an individual feels they are getting for their work. This is also a challenge we’ve faced in the market research industry for years. 

The industry’s supply concerns are existential challenges. Without properly motivated and engaged people (registration required) sharing about their experiences in our studies, we cannot deliver the insights brands need to make vital decisions. Here, I will examine what to do about it, but first, we must understand what’s driving the supply shortage. 

Much like quiet quitting, the research participant shortage is partially the result of today’s economic environment, but it is also linked to three dovetailing industry trends:

By taking a deeper look at these forces, we can better navigate a path forward. 

No one could have predicted how vastly and rapidly consumer behavior would evolve since 2020. Accordingly, demand for quality research participants has never been higher. Across all consumer-facing sectors, brands and the agencies and consultants that serve them seek quantitative primary research to better understand consumers and gain a market advantage. 

Survey respondents are in high demand and those demands are often for more than a simple general population sample. Research is often targeted to very particular consumer segments, such as “Midwestern moms of newborns and toddlers,” “frequent craft beer drinkers” or “business owners,” which are smaller populations that are harder to source. 

When the research requires additional dimension...