Women in Research (WIRe) has released the second wave of its industry wide study “Gender and Career Advancement in the Research Industry,” a follow up to the initial study in 2012. The data shows some areas with improvement in parity over the past five years, but gender disparity still exists in the market research industry.

“Our 2012 study unequivocally showed that workplace gender disparities existed in the market research industry. This follow up study highlights the impact of both WIRe’s initiatives and individual corporate diversity programs, and sets forth clear recommendations to drive parity at a faster pace,” said Kristin Luck, founder of Women in Research.

 This second wave study was conducted in July of last year. The survey, created in partnership with global market research firm Lieberman Research Worldwide and with data collection support from FocusVision, received nearly 1,000 responses from both female and male market research professionals around the world. The survey covered questions that correlated with the 2012 study on issues like compensation, children and family issues, job satisfaction and job responsibility levels. Sample partners included ESOMAR, Greenbook and Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA).

Key findings included:

• Women are climbing further up the corporate ladder, and are highly motivated to grow, yet men still assume more of the top positions, particularly in larger organizations.

• The gender pay gap is shrinking at the senior level, particularly outside of the US, with women gaining recognition through bonuses. In spite of this, compensation among parents shows sizeable (and increased) disparity.

• Job and career satisfaction rises among males. For women, stagnant levels correlate with continued stronger pessimism toward promotions, especially outside of the US and within large firms.

• Further, females perceive more barriers to growth than males – parenting, lack of training and opportunities, company culture and pay are all greater hurdles. Work-life balance is deemed more obstructive among mothers than fathers.

• While the industry is actively moving toward gender equality and diversity in the workplace (flexible hours, diversity in hiring, affirmative action) and perceived discrimination is low overall, there is still much room for growth.

Results of the study suggest that women need to be approached early in their career to assist in mapping their path with goals, training plans, and leadership associations. And companies need to continue to focus on the needs of current and future parents (both mothers AND fathers) with benefits like flexible hours, support groups, and partnerships with local childcare providers.

Most importantly, in order to drive meaningful change, companies need to start treating diversity as a business performance metric, with CEO’s committing to 50/50 gender parity at every level of their organization. In addition, training is needed to help employees call out and combat unconscious bias

“Despite the gains we’ve seen in some areas there is still significant gender disparity in the workplace in our industry, and companies need to continue to make diversity a priority by investing in the people resources and programming that can produce measureable and meaningful change,” added Luck. “WIRe is committed to providing the research industry with clear steps they can take to achieve parity in compensation as well as to ensure opportunities for women to reach the highest level positions at the largest agencies,” added Luck.

Women in Research (WIRe) is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in the market research industry, supporting educational programming and networking events across five continents. WIRe programming also facilitates leadership, entrepreneurship, mentoring and other career development goals. WIRe’s mission is to advance the contributions and voice of women in research, both for themselves and the greater good of the market research industry. More information and full study results are available at www.womeninresearch.org.

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