According to a report by Price Waterhouse Cooper, the UK professional research and evidence market is a booming business and all indication are that it will continue to grow. It employs close to 73,000 highly-qualified people, generates up to £4.8bn a year of Gross Value Added (GVA), and makes a significant contribution to the UK.
The report titled “The Business of Evidence 2016” concluded that there was an increase in nearly 14,000 full-time jobs and that the market has grown by almost £2 billion since the last review, which was conducted in 2012.
The study highlighted that the UK research sector contributes just over 0.3% of total UK GDP. It has annual revenues larger than the public relations and communications sector, the UK music industry, and is equivalent to the UK book publishing industry. This report points to a growth in qualitative research being used to interpret big data and convert it into ‘smart data’. Clearly, this sector still has plenty of room to grow, as market and social research continues to evolve to keep pace with technological change.
The growth in the professional research and evidence market shows us the importance of market research and how it affects and aids its practitioners to make decisions at every level across both the public and private sectors. It does not just affect the UK as the research being generated is exported world-wide at 36% internationally.
Data analytics has been a driving force behind much of this growth, growing 350% over 2012 but there is also simultaneous growth in qualitative research helping to garner findings. Over 34,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs are in sectors such as in the central government, or in researchers dealing with analytics, inhouse. On the research supply-side there are nearly 39,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Interestingly, a large percentage of these jobs are in London and the South East, accounting for approximately 66%. This makes the sector worth £3.2 billion per annum to the greater London economy.
Jane Frost, CEO of MRS, commented: ”We commissioned this report because the contribution of market and social research to the UK plc is not currently officially recognised. Not only does it contribute GVA in its own right, but supports the growth of businesses across all sectors by enabling effective decision-making.”
Demand is shifting and more highly tailored research data is necessary to keep up with the changing market. With the expanding digital world, the demand for maintaining and enhancing insight quality is expanding along with it. There has been tremendous growth and there will be more to come.
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