Women in the workplace: Their roles and leadership skills  

Editor’s note: Brin Moore is a partner at Trusted Talent and a Women in Research San Francisco event lead.

The marketing research and consumer insights industry is unique in that the workforce is predominately comprised of women. According to research from the job site Zippia.com, 55% of all marketing research analysts are women. While women are employed in nearly every function – from researchers to analysts or as project and operations managers – the percentage of women falls steeply when one looks to executive roles in our industry. 

Despite this discouraging trend – and though there is still much work to do on the issue of equity in leadership – there are some extraordinary women leading companies in our industry. I spoke with some of these leaders and discussed the qualities they felt were necessary for success. The consistent responses I received were the ability to manage a wide range of responsibilities both professionally and personally, as well as being driven and creative. Perhaps even more importantly, successful women executives in our industry often describe themselves as empathetic; instinctively understanding what someone else is facing from one's perspective was frequently associated with success. This skill cultivates a collaborative environment in which all members can leverage each other's strengths to achieve success. 

Creating a collaborative support system

Women business leaders in our industry can build successful teams by continuing to foster the soft skills that helped them reach the successes they have already achieved. Soft skills such as empathy and collaboration are beneficial when leading and managing teams. Leaders of all genders should strive to create an environment where everyone feels respected and appreciated. This can be accomplished by "balancing the table, not creating a new one," as one woman executive explained. That means celebrating differences over homogeneity and finding ways to work together to leverage unique strengths. Teams with this seemingly magical ability to utilize their different skills and backgrounds will outperform their peers and stay motivated for future projects. 

Promoting collaboration and open communication among team members is essential. It leads to trust and respect – both integral components of successful teams. To achieve this, leaders need to be clear about the goals their business is striving to achieve. As things become more apparent to the team, they can work together in groups, be creative and see each other shine.

In addition, women business leaders should also strive to foster a culture of learning and development. Successful women leaders in our industry are always learning. I was recently part of an ad hoc book club led by a CEO interested in reading and learning about ChatGPT and discussing its technological implications with other women. Each woman's perspective and experiences lent to the conversation and expanded our individual and collective understanding of the piece.

The future of women in the industry

Women leaders could lead the industry in building great businesses while embracing and motivating their teams. If the current collection of extraordinary women executives is any indication of what is possible, I am very excited about what is to come for our industry!