Saudi Arabia: Marketing research sector provides jobs for women

ABHA: Marketing research is a new field of work that opens up a significant number of job opportunities for young Saudi women graduates. A major attraction of the job is that women can earn a living in the comfort of their homes.

These women carry out research studies about consumer preferences, their opinions about a specific product and spending habits, among others. A large number of qualified young Saudi women are in this vocation, which gives them money and entertainment as well as something to do while they search for a job. A number of young women shared their experiences with Al-Madinah newspaper.

Badriyah Al-Shahri, a researcher, said that carrying out marketing research while at home is the best field that young Saudi women can get into.  “I can earn between SR1,500 and SR3,000 in two months through this work. This supplements my family’s income. Moreover, I can benefit from my leisure time at home,” she said.

“A proper understanding of the society in which we are living is the main requirement when introducing a product. It is also important to know how popular the product is, in addition to having an idea about consumer preferences,” she said.

Al-Shahri noted that the main problem facing young women working in this field is their lack of proper understanding of society as well as the queries raised by many about the monthly income earned from this profession. “If young women have a wide network of relations among their relatives and friends and maintain contact with them, they can score excellent performance results in the field,” she said.

According to Al-Shahri, young women can conduct these studies at home by making phone calls or visiting homes of affluent relatives or friends. “After carrying out the research, they can then present to the concerned companies and firms that are preparing statistical reports for producers and traders,” she said.

Noura Al-Qahtani, a researcher, urged authorities to open more offices providing training for young women in market research, especially with regard to filling in questionnaires and their significance in the preparation of statistical reports and scientific studies.

“I enjoy this profession very much as it enables me to become familiar with a number of women. Together with the company of friends, I prepare questionnaires at home and evaluate several products,” she said.

Rajaa Ismail, another researcher, says that market research work helps women to earn up to SR5,000 a month if they are well trained in dealing with consumers and introducing products.

“I have learned how to win their confidence. Anyhow, some women consumers do not have any idea about this profession. Sometimes, this puts the researcher in an awkward situation, especially when she tries to get answers from such women in public places,” she said, adding that the researcher must have patience until she wins their confidence.

Bahaa Abdul Majeed Kamel, director of the Office of Middle East Marketing Studies in Asir, said young women should be given training to familiarize themselves with working at commercial centers and other places popular with women to ascertain how a specific product will be received and to adapt accordingly. “Those who work in this field have scored excellent performance results. Members of the public should have more awareness about this profession as it can play a vital role in addressing unemployment among young women graduates to a great extent,” he said.

According to Kamel, young women should be provided with training so they can converse and interact better, develop a proper understanding of others, listen to and give advice to customers in addition to giving them correct information and filling out the forms correctly. He noted that there are several young women who have proved their proficiency in this line of work.

“These women need the support of society to proceed with their work,” he said, adding that the information collected serves as an important index for manufacturers, producers and dealers as it gives them a specific assessment about market conditions and the acceptance of their products. “These studies give businessmen and producers a clear insight while helping them map out their market strategies,” he added.

Hussein Al-Murri, director of the labor office in Asir, said that women could take advantage of their capabilities in a number of fields and fight unemployment with their potential. “She can support her family and herself by doing work suitable for her while at home,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hanan Asiri, a businesswoman, drew attention to a report from the International Organization for Sciences and Technology, which says a large number of women in the Arab world are working in vocations such as handicrafts, clothes making, catering as well as market research.  “Studies show that about 80 percent of these women belong to middle income groups where there is a high percentage of illiteracy. Working from home is popular among women in Western countries,” she said, while urging businesswomen to come forward and invest in this vital sector.

Amal Al-Junaid, director of a reputable research company, said young women have proved their proficiency in the field of market research and are capable of shouldering more responsibility.

“Many young women are eager to score success stories in the field after completion of their training,” she said, while hoping that this would be a major field providing jobs for a large number of qualified young women.

http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZAWYA20110304070634/Saudi%20Arabia:%20Market%20research%20opens%20up%20opportunities%20for%20women

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