More than three-quarters of researchers believe that their employer has handled the pandemic well, according to the latest Mental Wellbeing in Research Survey. But, despite this positive feedback, the sector still has much to do with a significant proportion of researchers experiencing mental health issues over the past year.

Conducted annually by insight agency Opinium and MRS the research reveals that 76% of sector professionals approve of their employer’s actions over the past 18 months, rising to 83% for those working in-house or client-side. 

These are positive results for a sector that has been put under pressure throughout the pandemic. This is the third year that the research, which explores researchers’ mental health and wellbeing, and this year also includes their views on returning to office working, has been run. 

Despite these encouraging outcomes, 87% of researchers have experienced poor mental health over the past year up from 83% in 2020 with only 18% of that number taking time off their job to rest. According to the research, having too much to do remains the top cause of stress at work for the third year running and almost a quarter of the sector say they find their job stressful – showing that there is still work to be done.

Download the 2021 findings presentations:

Survey results from 2020

Insight agency Opinium and MRS teamed up to run the Mental Wellbeing in Research Survey in 2020.

The wellbeing research results released in August 2020 indicate that people are growing more comfortable speaking about their mental wellbeing with their colleagues. In the past year, 57% of survey participants had told someone at work about a mental health struggle, compared with 36% in 2019. In those instances when people had shared how they were feeling, three quarters of them reported a positive experience and said their colleagues were understanding and supportive. See the full report below.

Hear the 2020 results of the Mental Wellbeing in Research Survey in our Professional Webinar with Sophie Holland from Opinium plus discover how to increase your own wellbeing and that of your teams with HR expert Stuart McNicholas.  

Survey results from 2019

In July 2019 research agency Opinium, supported by MRS, launched the results of the first survey into mental wellbeing in the sector.
 The report ‘Opening the Conversation: Mental Wellbeing in Market Research’ revealed that, while 53% of workers in the UK say they have had issues with their mental wellbeing, an alarming 85% of market researchers report that they had struggled in the previous 12 months. With 77% of admitting that this had affected their work.

Opinium and MRS hosted a joint event in October 2019 to explore the reasons for the high levels of anxiety in the sector and debate how employers can work to address this. The Wellbeing in Research event featured a presentation of the results followed by a discussion with sector professionals and wellbeing experts giving their advice for mental wellbeing at work.  

Panel: Jane Bainbridge, Editor, Impact & Research Live (chairing) • Sophie Holland, Research Exec, Opinium • Dane Krambergar, Head of Workplace Wellbeing Services, MIND • Jennifer Perry, MD, Respondi • Rebecca Ormond, Inclusive Workplace Leader, PwC

Wellbeing at work resources:

You may also be interested in this report on what researchers think of research culture from the Wellcome Trust

Get the latest MRS news

Our newsletters cover the latest MRS events, policy updates and research news.