Levels of stress, exhaustion, and workload remained high during the past 12 months among market research professionals responding to a new Insights Association and Opinium survey. Stress was experienced by 82% of respondents, up 5% from a year ago; while 6% more reported feeling “low/down” during the past year. The percentage of respondents reporting Exhaustion/Burnout (55%) and Depression (31%) were slightly lower this year – both 3% below levels reported in 2021.
When compared to the overall U.S. working population, those in the market research/ consumer insights profession were 25% more likely to have experienced stress (82% vs 56%) and 24% more likely to have experienced exhaustion or burnout compared to the U.S. benchmark of full- and part-time employees this year (55% vs 31%).
While these challenges are concerning, the insights industry has made important progress in prioritizing employee mental well-being. This year’s data show that over two-thirds of insights
professionals feel they would be supported at work if struggling with their mental health or well-being (67%, up 10 percentage points vs. last year). There has been an increase in workplace policies to help employees with their mental health and well-being (53%, up 9% versus a year ago). More employees report being able to openly talk to their managers about their mental health (58%, up 12% versus last year), with 67% of workers saying they would feel supported if struggling with their mental health at work (up 10% versus last year).
The newly released report, “Mental Well-being in Insights 2022” was conducted in September-October 2022 and included 409 responses from IA members and others working in research – spanning agency, in-house teams, suppliers, and freelance. It is the third year for this report in the U.S., which was modeled after the study, championed by the MRS with support from Opinium, in the UK, and also conducted in Australia by The Research Society. Partnering with IA on the study is New York-based insight agency Opinium, which deployed its workplace mental well-being audit and compiled the report.
“This year’s findings reinforce the urgency to address persistent issues of burnout, long hours, and exhaustion among our employees,” commented Melanie Courtright, CEO of the Insights Association. “It is encouraging to see more mental wellness programs being made available and more of our colleagues feeling comfortable discussing their mental health in the workplace. We hope these findings focus each insights organization and department on the areas in need of improvement and will inspire progress.”
Among many notable data points in the study…
Stress and exhaustion exacerbated by heavy workloads and tight deadlines
Heavy workloads are, once again, a key source of stress for insights professionals. Half (51%) reported their workload and having too much to do caused them stress at work this year, matching last year (52%).
In 2022, as in 2021, half of professionals say they experience tight deadlines, pressure, and heavy workloads often or all the time (56%, 51%, 51%, respectively). More than 1 in 3 professionals (36%) say they deal with long working hours often or all the time.
Despite benefits, majority do not take time off when feeling exhausted or burnt out
Insights professionals are still unlikely to take time off when they feel exhausted or burnt out. 7 in 10 (72%) who experienced exhaustion/burnout this year didn’t take any time off, compared to 69% in 2021.
“I encourage everyone to read the report thoroughly. It includes several valuable tips for leaders and organizations – tangible actions you can take today that can really make a difference,” said James Endersby, CEO of Opinium. “We hope this report will inspire insights professionals across the U.S. to take care of themselves and one another in these trying times.”
IA’s Courtright also urged leaders to act upon the guidance included in the report, which includes:
- Strategies to support healthier workloads
- Training managers to identify and respond to mental health and well-being needs
- What leaders can do to model well-being
- Collecting feedback on wellness initiatives
- Tips for running successful employee pulse surveys
The full Mental Well-being in Insights 2022 report may be accessed here.
On December 9, the Insights Association hosted a Virtual Town Hall focused on mental well-being. It included a deep dive into this report along with experts’ recommendations for businesses, managers, and employees. If you missed this session, you may access the recording here.