Working in research

Research involves gathering lots of information about a topic, then analysing it. You will enjoy research if you are good at solving problems, and gathering and interpreting information.

Research is not just about working in laboratories and finding new cures for diseases. There are research roles in education, engineering, social, cultural and economic organisations, the arts, media, finance and other areas. Research jobs are usually found in large companies, university departments and specialist research organisations. You need to be curious, interested and good at English, maths and Microsoft Office™, with good communication, teamwork and people skills. 

Skills match quiz

Is a career in this area a good match for you?

Take the quiz

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Salaries depend on funding and the timescale required for a project. Pay will usually be between £13,000 and £32,000, depending on the type of contract, business or industry you work for.

Pay levels graph

Future careers

Research is becoming more reliant on computers and software that will allow faster collection and interpretation of data. As research projects become more competitive, the role of IT manager will become more important for research organisations. This role requires people who are one step ahead of hackers, cyber techies and infiltrators.

More home working opportunities are already being advertised on the job vacancy sites of companies who work globally.

Things to consider

Things you may need to know:

  • You will often be working on a short- or long-term contract on a project, for example for six months or three years. The length of the contract often depends on the funding available.
  • Research is not very highly paid, unless you work for a commercial company with a large research budget. Another highly paid type of research is finance and asset management analysis into stocks and shares.
  • If you are carrying out research as part of a postgraduate degree, you will sometimes get your course fees paid as well as being given a tax-free bursary (salary), or you could apply for a scholarship.

Useful links

Pearson is not responsible for content on external websites.

Market Research Society

National Federation for Educational Research

UK Research Office