Survey Researcher Salary and Job Outlook

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A survey researcher’s role centers on gaining insights about the mindsets of other people. Businesses, political campaigns, and other organizations rely on survey researchers to gather information about consumers and their opinions on specific products, services, or ideas. They do this by conducting surveys and then examining the complex data and information that is gathered. A variety of industries need survey research to drive their initiatives.

A survey researcher interviews a man while pointing at a clipboard.

For anyone who is interested in how to become a survey researcher, education is the first step toward achieving success. Having a bachelor’s degree is helpful in obtaining a job in the survey research field, and many companies search for candidates with a master’s degree as well. Becoming a survey researcher requires strong statistical and analytical skills.

What Is a Survey Researcher?

A survey researcher builds and conducts surveys to gather important information that provides actionable insights for businesses and organizations. Surveys may be conducted in-person, by mail, or by virtual interviews, focus groups, or questionnaires. A survey researcher also tests different survey methods, analyzes and evaluates data that is collected from surveys, and presents findings in reports and charts.

What Does a Survey Researcher Do?

The main task of a survey researcher is to help organizations better understand their customers, audiences, and communities. By collecting opinions and analyzing data on consumer trends, habits, likes and dislikes, these professionals can predict how the public is most likely to act in the future.

Survey researchers can help companies sell more effectively by providing them with valuable information, such as which products and services people want, which customer segments are most likely to buy them, and at what price. They also analyze historical data and consult with market research analysts to determine ideal price points and marketing strategies.

Government organizations and political campaigns use survey researchers to gauge public opinion about policies and candidates. Their findings can help campaigns create targeted political messaging and identify factors that could make supporters most likely to donate to fundraising efforts.

Steps for Becoming a Survey Researcher

Becoming a survey researcher requires earning a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study and gaining work experience that demonstrates excellent research and analytical skills. Many survey research professionals also decide to earn a master’s degree, which can lead to high-level positions in the field.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Survey researchers typically hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Some of the most common fields of study include psychology, sociology, business administration, and mathematics. Because the role of survey researcher has a range of job functions, each of these degrees can provide different benefits.

An online bachelor’s degree in psychology can be helpful because it can teach researchers to understand the motivations and reasoning of survey participants, while a mathematics degree program can instill many of the statistical skills necessary for the job.

Maryville University’s online bachelor’s degree in psychology is designed to provide a thorough understanding of research methodology, including developing proposals, synthesizing existing literature into updated research text, collecting and analyzing data, and developing a social science-focused research capstone project.

Step 2: Gain On-the-Job Experience

As in many professions, becoming a survey researcher requires on-the-job experience. Often, new graduates may have to work their way up from an entry-level role at a research agency or university. Statistical data analysis and interviewing techniques are some of the key skills likely to be learned through internships or entry-level jobs.

Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree to Pursue Advancement

Many survey researcher roles require a master’s degree or higher, so earning an advanced degree should be a priority for those who desire to be competitive in this career field. This is especially true when seeking high-level positions. Aspiring survey researchers may choose to enroll in programs such as an online master’s in business administration or online master’s in business data analytics. Attaining credentials such as the professional researcher certification (PRC) can also help survey researchers further increase their impact and advance in their careers.

Survey Researcher Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for survey researchers was $59,170 in 2019. The top 10% of earners, such as those with ample job experience and graduate degrees, made as much as $108,860 per year. The salary range for this position can vary widely by industry, company, and experience level.

Skills for Becoming a Survey Researcher

Survey researchers need a range of skills and competencies to succeed in their roles. Core survey researcher skills include the following.

  • Communication skills — Survey researchers must be able to communicate with consumers, constituents, and participants in their surveys — in person, through writing, and over virtual channels. These professionals must also be able to communicate their findings and insights through reports and presentations.
  • Analytical skills — Survey researchers must be able to analyze large and complex sets of data to extract actionable information from their surveys.
  • Critical-thinking skills — These skills are crucial for finding opportunities to design and optimize surveys, and derive conclusions from their findings.
  • Technological skills — Survey researchers often use statistical software and modeling tools to collect, analyze, and present their data.

Employment Outlook for Survey Researchers

The BLS forecasts the number of survey researcher jobs to increase by 1% between 2018 and 2028, indicating the employment market for survey researchers will likely continue to be competitive. Automated data mining and other advancements in technology may limit growth in survey researcher jobs, but many industries continue to place a premium on high-quality survey research.

Any company that sells a product or service relies heavily on survey data to drive sales and marketing efforts. Surveys should also remain particularly important in politics, according to the BLS. Researchers with advanced degrees will have an edge in competing for jobs.

Start Your Journey to Becoming a Survey Researcher Today

Because of the competitive job market for survey researchers, it’s essential that candidates prepare themselves to stand out. One way to accomplish this is by earning a relevant bachelor’s degree.

Maryville University offers an online bachelor’s in psychology, online bachelor’s in sociology, online bachelor’s in business administration, and online bachelor’s in mathematics. All these programs can be completed from home while managing other priorities, such as a job or family.

For those who seek an advanced program that has the potential to take their career to the next level, Maryville University also offers an online master’s degree in business administration and online master’s degree in business data analytics. Visit these program websites today to learn more about available courses and possible career paths.

Recommended Readings:
How We Become Ourselves: Exploring Human Development in Psychology
Multicultural Counseling: Types, Strategies, and Techniques
The Future of Psychology: New Methods for Helping People

College Board, “Career: Market and Survey Researchers”
Maryville University, Careers for Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Graduates
Maryville University, Online Psychology Bachelor’s Degree
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Survey Researcher