If you are not aware, about five weeks ago now, I started a full-time job as research executive (a fancy name for a research assistant) for a social and market research company. This is the type of industry I have had my eye on for some time now and I was lucky enough to land a job at a company I wanted to work for. There are a few reasons why I chose to take on full time work before I finished my PhD (you can read about those here), and I am happy to report that currently I am very content with my decision.
I wanted to share a little bit about what my first six weeks have been like, as I know that many PhD students are considering leaving academia and going into variety of different industry jobs. Firstly, it is worlds apart from academia. Although, in both roles I do end-to-end research, the difference between the two is stark. One of the first differences I noticed is how fast paced market and social reason in the industry is- I am talking 2 weeks from proposal to final report for some projects, and yes that includes design, recruitment, and analysis in between.
You also work on numerous projects at the one time, in all different areas, and it is a very collaborative environment. Many members of the small team I work for, jump in and out of different elements of each project. It has also been interesting how creative I get to be with reports, in terms of the language I use, the charts I make, and the images I incorporate. Honestly, currently my jobs is all of my favourite parts of my PhD without the academic parts that I don’t think I was cut out for (or enjoy!).
There is still so much I have to learn about how to interact with clients, how to be innovative in my methodological designs, the financial aspects of industry research, and how to wrap my head around lots of dynamic content. I do however feel like a PhD has set me up incredibly well for this type of work, so if you too are feeling like market research could be for you, trust that your PhD has provided you with many relevant skills.
Follow along, as I will definitely share more of my experiences!