How Technology is Impacting Jobs and Market Research

And how should researchers prepare themselves for the coming changes?

By Gina Pingitore, senior advisor of Global Research and Insights at Nuebridge Consulting Group, Jackie Lorch, vice president, Global Knowledge Management Research Now SSI and John Hagel, co-chairman at Deloitte Center for the Edge.

It is not just factory workers and unskilled labourers who are likely to see large parts of their current jobs disappear due to technology. Technology will also likely eliminate certain aspects of highly skilled positions in white-collar industries. Take for instance the software that can quickly scan legal briefings and identify documents that have relevant information. This is already being used by many companies to reduce billable legal hours. Robots are assisting surgeons and radiologists to increase the speed and accuracy of both diagnosis and treatment. Then there is the software that can predict stock performance better than many financial analysts.

While employers need to create a workplace where people and machine work together, workers and certainly market researchers need to up-skill themselves through specific trainings, and embrace the need for continuous and wide-ranging learning. This means leaning into the changes and keeping an open mind. Doing so may help to identify opportunities to leverage changing tools and dynamics to create new value, for their employers and themselves.

Not so long ago, there were no smart phones with location-services; real-time data collection and reporting were in their infancy, and voice and facial recognition were tested at innovation laboratories. The speed and efficiency at which research can be executed is changing due to technological advances.  With advances in AI, cloud and cognitive computing, and deep learning, researchers are now able to run experiments and test theories virtually and analyse data and interpret results faster than ever before.

Connectivity enables us to tap into the world’s knowledge (much of which is available for free) and to expand and remix it. This means that the global population of researchers, respondents, and data geeks is growing quickly and, with it, the potential for breakthroughs as to when, where and by whom research is conducted.

Companies and workers have seamless access to one another, opening up new possibilities for how we interact. Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, or Savio (a talent marketplace specifically for market research that provides the ability to source talent only when needed) are creating alternative work arrangements frequently called ‘gig’ work. Many executives see automation and gig employment models as an opportunity to improve how they source talent while reducing their balance sheet. Many suggest these changes are good for business and workers since younger workers are often less interested in traditional work models and want the freedom and flexibility offered by gig work.

But do the features offered by gig work drive worker satisfaction more than those of traditional work models? What is driving job satisfaction and what are workers’ attitudes, expectations, and plans for the future of their work? Here we will address three key questions:

  • What do market researchers value in their work and do their work values differ from workers in other industries?
  • What are the pros and cons of technology and the workplace? Do market researchers see the future of their work differently than workers from other industries?
  • How can researchers prepare themselves for the changes that are already occurring?

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