Women in Research (WIRe) and Lieberman Research Worldwide, in collaboration with Research-live.com and Decipher, have released the first industry wide study of its kind on “Gender Differences in the Market Research Industry: Compensation and Opportunities.” The data found that disparity still exists between genders in the market research industry, yet its cause is not perceived as overt gender discrimination but rather external life factors.
“Gender inequality, especially when it comes to the workplace, has been under scrutiny for several decades, particularly in the United States where women, on average, are paid 77 cents to the dollar that men are for the same work,” said Kristin Luck, founder of Women in Research and president of Decipher. “With this study, we wanted to explore the phenomenon specifically within the market research industry, and much of what we found was quite interesting. It suggests that companies need to focus on salary parity as well as make a shift to equalize the balance between personal life and work for their employees, especially women with children.”
Several issues were explored during the study, which was conducted over June and July of this year with more than 600 industry respondents around the globe. Survey participants were asked questions about compensation, children and family issues, job satisfaction and job responsibility levels.
Some of the results included:
- The industry is predominantly female at a junior/mid-level (67 percent female), but skews increasingly male as we move up the corporate ladder (47 percent female)
- Females make a significantly lower salary for doing the same job as their male counterparts
($20,000 less per year on average in upper management)
- Neither males nor females feel they are being discriminated against, and are evenly satisfied with their careers
(56 percent of females; 59 percent of males)
- Children and family become an obstacle for many females in advancing their career, motivation, and opportunity
(60 percent of women feel that having children limits opportunities)
- Females with children do not feel that pregnancy is supported by their employers
(only 1 percent feel that pregnancy is extremelysupported by their employer)
- Satisfaction is higher among those working under female CEOs
(13 percent higher among both males and females; with 72 percent of females under female CEOs vs 56 percent under male CEOs feeling that pregnancy is supported)
Results of the study suggest that market research companies need to find better ways to encourage females to come back to the industry after having children, and provide opportunities to continue their careers after beginning a family. Some suggestions spurred from the study included programs to keep those on maternity leave engaged while away; transition programs for easing return to work after maternity leave; and family benefits, such as the provision of childcare to encourage females to come back to work faster.
Luck added, “I hope this study creates more opportunity for dialogue between employers and employees, regardless of gender. We encourage employers to ask top employees what they need to succeed and think about policies and incentives—like flex-time, job sharing, childcare and telecommuting—that attract and retain all employees, not just women.”