Employment is generally precarious. Staff jobs are extremely hard to come by and researchers are generally taken on for specific projects or programmes (often lasting no more than two or three months). In order to secure regular employment, freelancers need to build up a reputation. Large corporations, such as the BBC, employ some researchers on permanent contracts.
Unsocial working hours are a common feature and researchers may work up to seven days a week for long periods. Work on live programmes is more predictable.
Researchers' work takes place in a variety of settings, ranging from typing in an office to interviewing people in the street. Documentary researchers may sometimes work undercover.
Employment levels have shifted slightly from London to North West England. This reflects the relocation of part of the BBC’s and ITV’s workforce, and companies from the creative and digital sectors, to MediaCityUK at Salford Quays near Manchester.
The work is stressful and demanding and requires a very high level of commitment. The work culture is generally informal but you may feel pressured with tight deadlines to meet.
Travel is common and may be overseas depending on the research project.
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