Employment of survey researchers is expected to grow 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 4,700 new jobs over the 10-year period. Companies throughout all industries are increasingly using research, and survey researchers play an important role in the research process.
The market research and public opinion polling industry will continue to employ the largest number of survey researchers. Governments and organizations will continue to use public opinion research to help make decisions on transit systems, social programs, and numerous other issues.
Survey researchers also will be needed to design surveys for businesses and organizations. In an increasingly competitive economy, firms will continue to use market and consumer research surveys to help make business decisions and compete in the market. Many of these researcher jobs will be in consulting firms.
However, employment growth will be tempered by changing research methods. Research is an evolving field and companies occasionally adopt new research methods or adapt to new data sources. For example, collecting information from social media sites and data mining—finding trends in large sets of existing data—are expected to reduce the need for some surveys.
Job prospects are expected to be good for those with an advanced degree in survey methodology, survey research, or statistics. Qualified candidates should find job opportunities in market research, public opinion polling, and consulting firms.
Although survey researchers also may qualify with a background in a variety of other fields, those with strong statistical and analytical skills and experience working in a research firm will have more job opportunities. Due to the relatively small number of survey researcher positions, bachelor’s degree holders will likely face competition from more qualified candidates.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition