A new report from MRS has found widespread recognition of diversity and inclusion challenges within the market and social research sector and an appetite for change.
Click here to download Diversity, inclusion and equality in the market research sector, 2020 by Dr Marie-Claude Gervais, co-founder of Versiti, in partnership with Kantar.
The third in a series, key findings from the report include:
A majority of participants in the survey felt that more needs to be done to ensure the market and social research sector adequately represents wider British Society and young people in particular are eager to drive change
Researchers under the age of 35 who took part in the survey are more likely than their older colleagues to take action on improving diversity, inclusion and equality in their day-to-day work. This includes 77% of young participants who are willing to learn more about the issues and their own privileges, compared with 56% on average.
When discussing their personal workplace experiences, most researchers believe that they are given opportunities and resources to work flexibly (86%), get recognition for the quality of their work (73%) and have a sense of belonging (70%). However, compared with their white British colleagues, ethnic minority researchers are less positive on all measures of workplace inclusion – of those surveyed, just over half (51%) reported a sense of belonging.
The survey identified important issues in relation to pay parity in the sector and confirmed further work is needed to address lower pay among women, ethnic minority and disabled researchers.
LGBTQ+ researchers involved in the survey tended to report a more positive view of their workplace experiences, in particular being somewhat more likely than average to report feeling valued. The group is also the exception in terms of minority pay gaps, with LGBTQ+ researchers, on average, earning more than their colleagues.
Jane Frost CBE, CEO of MRS, comments: “I have always said that the sector that is meant to shed light on society must reflect its make-up. This report confirms that we still have work to do and now is the time to double down on the plans we set in motion following our first piece of pioneering research in 2018. That includes the creation and success of the CEO Pledge, through which many of the largest employers in our sector have committed to working towards more representative workplaces. Crowd DNA is the latest to join their ranks this week.
“We’re also hard at work on the launch of the MRS Apprenticeship scheme next year, aiming to improve the sector’s recruitment reach beyond university-educated groups, and our first gender-balanced Main Board has created the MRS Diversity & Inclusion Council with Babita Earle as its Chair, to bring about meaningful change, fast. Additionally, over the summer we announced our support for Colour Of Research (CORe), a newly formed non-profit organisation founded to champion ethnic diversity in the research sector.
“This has been a tumultuous year and we know that independent researchers and those working in microbusinesses bear the brunt of an economic downturn - 80% of those in our survey have already been negatively impacted. These roles are more likely to be filled by women (61%) and we cannot allow the economic downturn to exacerbate disparities in the sector. This year has shown us that people are growing frustrated with slow-moving institutions that fail to evolve –MRS and the research sector will not be one of them.”
Babita Earle, Chair of the MRS Diversity & Inclusion Council added:
“This report provides clear evidence that the current state of play is not good enough and the market research sector has a lot of work to do in ensuring equal opportunities for all. We need to be a sector that represents the society we serve, which is also crucial in delivering high-quality insights for our customers."
“It is great to see how certain groups particularly the young are prepared to accept the problem and motivated to drive change. Building on this will be key and ensuring we continue to amplify all the great work being driven by CORe, WiRe and MRSPride. There is a lot more to come and a lot of work to be done but we are optimistic.”