Insight: Market research lowers barriers to work for parents – Protel Fieldwork

Market research fieldwork is an ideal job for mums who want to ease back into the workplace after taking time off to look after their children, according to Annita Small, founder of Protel Fieldwork, a Coventry-based agency with a national reach.

At a time when the debate about the UK’s childcare system is heating up, she said parents should not underestimate the advantages of ad hoc employment that can be fitted around looking after children and which gives valuable experience.

Save the Children recently called for a shake-up of childcare after revealing that half of all out-of-work mums in England – 870,000 women – would prefer to be working if they could find decent childcare. The finding came from analysis of official government figures.

Annita, who has a background in accountancy, fell into market research almost by accident when her children were young and she was looking for flexible work. She enjoyed it so much she developed a full-time career and ended up starting her own company.

Today Protel Fieldwork helps some of Britain’s biggest brands to better understand their markets, working with leading market research organisations. It can call upon 800 field interviewers across the UK and operates a telephone unit in Coventry.

“I had been a stay at home mum for several years when I first thought of going into market research fieldwork – the hours were flexible and I wanted to be able to take my children to school and pick them up afterwards,” said Annita.

“I didn’t want to go back into accountancy because the hours were fixed. Market research fieldwork is an ideal occupation for mums – or dads – who are looking to return to work or who need to fit working hours around available childcare.

“You can choose when they work and the experience of working with the public is an invaluable addition to your CV especially if you have been out of the workplace for some time. It can be great confidence booster.

“Prior to having children I had never considered a career in market research – but I loved it! And fieldwork companies are always looking for interviewers in their 20s, 30s and 40s as they like to keep a demographic spread of interviewers.”

Save the Children said that childcare issues were the “number one barrier preventing mums from working” after taking an in-depth look at 2017 figures published by the Department for Education and also the government’s Labour Force Survey.

Annita added: “It is sad that so many mums would like to go back to work but struggle to find childcare or suitable jobs. While market research interviewing may not be for everyone, it does fit in around school hours and is interesting work.”

Protel Fieldwork offers training to newcomers to the field, whether it is for interviewing face-to-face at various locations or over the phone from its base in Queens Road, Coventry.



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