This is a question the latest GRIT report aims to find out.
The survey asked 2,637 research suppliers and clients to rank a list of 8 skills required from market research graduates on a scale from ‘very unimportant’ to ‘very important’.
The most important skill was critical thinking with 73% of respondents rating it ‘very important’. In second place were insight development skills with 61% followed by writing/communication skills with 59%.
At the bottom came mathematics skills with only 25% of respondents rating it as ‘very important’. Next up came tools and analytic software skills with only 34%, with consultative skills making up the rest of the bottom three with only 49%.
Surprisingly, some key differences emerged when breaking down the findings by suppliers and clients. While both parties agreed put critical thinking and insight development skills at the top, they had hugely contrasting views for the skill in third place. While data science took third when it came to clients, it was rated among the least important skills by research providers, with storytelling emerging as the third most important skill.
Clients and providers also disagreed on creativity skills, with providers putting it at the bottom of the pile while clients gave it considerably more importance, being placed at number five.
Interestingly, business skills and expertise was rated as the least important skill by clients. Does this, together with the big disagreement over data science skills, mean that clients are thinking of providers simply as data analysts and would prefer to use their own expertise to take strategic action following the research? Are providers aware of this and starting to make efforts to move towards consultancy? Perhaps this explains why storytelling skills are of much greater importance to suppliers than data science and statistics skills.
What do you make of the findings? As a provider or buyer of research, what skills do you require from researchers? Let us know below!