The Edge: Competitive Edge Blog

A Bright Future: Careers in Public Opinion Research

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According to a recent LinkedIn study, the average college graduate can expect to pursue four job changes before they hit the ripe old age of 32. Maybe this is because Millennials are born job hoppers, or maybe the world is flatter than we think and the race against outsourcing or automation is fast afoot. Whatever the causes, and even amidst record-low unemployment, those starting out can expect a lot of change along the way.

You may be starting out — or you may be the parent or the mentor of someone who’s starting out – and I’m here to tout opinion research as a great career.  Having conducted public opinion research for more than 30 years, I know what people learn in this sphere can lead to a stable career in the field, or give you foundational skills to excel in others – from public relations to public service to the marketing departments of Fortune 500 companies.  It’s all about learning how to think like a researcher and learn how to use the tools.

I’ve always been struck by the wide variety of cool jobs there are for stats- or research-minded go-getters.  Just this week I perused one industry publication and found a virtual smorgasbord of opportunities:

  • You could work in the automotive world with one of the fastest growing car companies
  • You could be a mystery shopper… in New York. Imagine Tiffany’s with an expense account!
  • You could join a new breed of researchers who tap insights using mobile research
  • Good with computers?  You could start out in the business by programming surveys
  • You could help deliver insights to the nation’s third largest public power and water utility
  • You could manage projects in Los Angeles for one of the oldest survey research firms in the US

Not everything is necessarily a stone’s throw away, but sometimes, especially getting into something for the first time, one must venture into the wide world.  I did that back in 1986, travelling to Texas to open two mammoth call centers. It wasn’t easy, but I’m so glad I did.

There’s a fascinating – even exciting — world that can be accessed through a career in public opinion and market research. It will ground you in analytics, in statistics, in formulating hypotheses and working toward insights, in writing for professional audiences, in speaking to professional audiences and in persuading those audiences.

If you’re hungry and want to learn how to help clients win by making informed decisions based on bulletproof research (or know someone who is), drop CERC a note at: <>. If we don’t have a job, we can point you in the right direction. When you’re starting out, that’s half the battle.

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