NatCen
Happiness score is 55 out of 100
2.8 out of 5 stars.
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Working at NatCen: 35 NatCen Reviews

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3.4Work-life balance

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Low pay, difficult in poor weather

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I worked for natcen around 18 months. As an interviewer you are not classed as an employee so you have very few employment rights. It's a zero hour contract and you must be available to work for at least 18 hours a week but have no guarantee of any work and no pay if you don't get projects. Pressure is put on you to accept work miles from home with hourly travel paid at £4.50 an hour with a very low mileage allowance. Unpaid online opt in training is offered and if you don't accept work you might not be offered any more that month. You are isolated and don't meet other employees and have targets to meet getting respondants to agree to take part. Work opportunities vary so the pay is impossible to live on, it can also be dangerous going into unknown houses. They are always advertising because people leave in droves.

Pros

Flexible, meet different people

Cons

Zero hour contract, Isolating.
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Avoid at all costs

Took the company nearly 3 months to actually give me any work from accepting job offer.Extremely difficult to live on the pay from this job. You do a ridiculous amount of miles, in under four months in this role I spent nearly £1000 in petrol (mileage expenses are poor).Interviewing is enjoyable as long as the respondents are nice - but be prepared to be very uncomfortable as you are depending on public toilets all day whilst out in the field.In my experience, interviews you conduct in the role take considerably longer than you are told they will. It’s not unusual for an interview to take 4+ hours on one study, which often irritated respondents leading to looking unprofessional.
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Insights into NatCen

Based on 13 survey responses
What people like
  • Time and location flexibility
  • Ability to learn new things
Areas for improvement
  • Sense of belonging
  • Support from manager
  • Trust in colleagues

Good place to work

Enjoyed my time working at NatCen However it was difficult managing my bills and other expenses as it was not a guaranteed wage, it was based of performance which was stressful
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Stressful, very poor pay

During lunch period, I was not allowed to have lunch untill 4pm which later resulted in feeling unwell. Excessive time records. Sometimes long hours, sometimes no work at all.
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Avoid this company.

If you are looking for stable work then I would avoid this company. You will not get paid until at least eight weeks after you begin. You have to go through four weeks of training, which is unpaid. You will receive £150 for the training but it isn't given to you until you complete your first assignment and that could be months. Communication is terrible. Getting replies from the company is non-existent. I was given the green light to begin work for them in September but was then informed by the field supervisor that there was no work until January. I turned down other jobs for this and it was a complete waste of time. I have still not received my £150 for the training. I would advise anyone to avoid working for this company.

Pros

Flexible

Cons

Communication, management, hours
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Have up time to train but not offered work for 2 months

Unless you don't rely on a regular income the freelance roles (all fieldworker) are not suitable. The process of training is time consuming and inefficient, payment for training isn't received until first assignment completed. I wasn't offered an assignment until two months after training despite asking. The whole process feels exploitative and I wonder if the companies and institutions that commission work from natcen are aware of their ethical values.
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Good for some cash, not enough to live on

Initially I really enjoyed the job, flexible hours, left to your own accord and the chance for mobile trips to visit new locations. However, being left alone to my own devices has proved to be detrimental to amount of work I get. Managers hardly ever check up on you, new ones are assigned without any warning and there's been multiple IT issues that have taken weeks to resolve meaning I've lost out on pay. I think the job is more suited to someone older. Knocking on people's doors with a clipboard and a smile leads to a lot of people assuming you're selling something and not even letting you explain why you're there. Probably respect older people more as the majority of other interviewers I've met are at least 25 years older than me. Only ones who were younger were leaving the company. Evening and weekend work is required. You want to secure interviews as you get paid more than the standard £14.
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relaxed pace that you set. More hours, more pursuasive,= more money.

very relaxing pace of work as you decide when. But you are also required to work evenings and weekends to get the interviews.depending on the locations of the homes to visit, you could be town or city based or working spread out in the countryside. You are paid for the interviews you acheive, so being pleasant and persuasive enough to convince people to invite you in is a real bonus. Hardest part of the job is convincing people to have the interviews. As with many firms the management is so important, and I was lucky to have a wonderful manager. but there are many managers who are more interested in making themselves look good, rather than making sure you have everything you need to do your job properly.

Pros

you have control when you work and you work alone outside of interviews

Cons

you can spend a lot of time traveling and knocking on doors and having no reply or refusals
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Can turn down projects or accept them so set own hours

One would think that the data collected is the most important part of any research project but sadly not so, as if you want to earn a decent amount or more than minimum wage everything must be done at top speed. As a fieldwork interviewer I was shocked to be told by more than one interviewee that a previous interviewer had saved her time by filling it in themselves! Probably because that's the way to make it pay. Petrol money was well below the going rate and my pay was occasionally made up to the minimum wage. Its a stressful job sometimes, lots of evening and weekend work and doors slammed in your face sometimes. Not much fun in winter!

Pros

Set own hours

Cons

Terrible pay, some management good but some hopeless.
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Unreliable and Terrible Communication

this job would be fine for anyone wanting a little pocket money but as a full time wage their pay breakdown and system is horrific, no clarity to it and was not at all like how the advertisement had described. I left two months ago and am still awaiting my training bonus. As a new starter I was given one of the hardest studies to recruit people for and was told by my mentor (that I only met for one day) that everyone hates doing that particular one - why you would give this to a new starter baffles me. Communication across the company was slow and less than informative. Oh and if you're at all eco-friendly, each study they do results in a tree's worth of paper being chucked out each time. An upgrade to their interviewing system wouldn't go a miss.
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Casual hours

Good if you want casual work but not if you want a fixed salary. The wage structure is not transparent but I think they have made it a bit clearer now
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Not interested in health conditions

When we were told we had to change our role, an email that I sent to HR to explain health conditions was not even replied to. No consideration was given. The policy was - you are going to do this now while we employ new people to do what you have been gratefully succeeding in doing for us throughout the pandemic. I have now left the research workplace for good after 22 years.
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Some very kind people and team leaders are helpful, however the work structure and pay structure is unusual and confusing the majority of times.

Some very kind people and team leaders are helpful, however the work structure and pay structure is unusual and confusing the majority of times.
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A place where the passion for social research comes through

A good place to work with great home/office hybrid. Great passion for the work they do and lots of hard working people to engage with and share ideas.

Pros

home/office hybrid

Cons

Some long hours culture but can be managed, as a NFP charity it is hard to compete with larger competitors but chance to make your mark is high
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Working for NatCen provides variety and flexibility no day is like another

I have worked for NatCen for 6years and thorooghly enjoy my job.It is varied and flexible and I like meeting and talking to new people.I think NatCen are a good company and employer and cares about its employees and their welfare.My immediate line manager trusts me to get results and meet deadlines in turn I work hard to try and maintain that trust
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Excellent area managers, flexible working hours

I love my job! I get to be out and about meeting and talking to people about a variety of subjects and getting paid to do it. The pay is good and there's holiday pay, bonuses for reaching targets, generous fuel allowance, and you can arrange your work to suit your schedule. You are briefed on each project and told how this is helping government make decisions that affect us all - leading to job satisfaction. There's plenty of support from area managers and technical support staff available when you need it. As you don't have to be in an office there's no office politics and no set hours.

Pros

Flexible work hours, generous pay

Cons

Some evening and weekend work
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Getting out, meeting people

Covid related survey job allowing me to get out and meet households on doorstep even during lock downs. Mostly not team working though schools Study was in teams, mixed from different employers.

Pros

Flexible, piece work.

Cons

No idea of assignment until tea time day before.
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Interesting work

Really enjoyed interviewing meeting people from differenimt area and asking them a really varied Saif of questions. Interesting work as projects always changing

Pros

Flexibke for part time working

Cons

Wet dark cold nights
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Make Uber look good

Opaque and bureaucratic pay structure for field interviewers, it takes a while to work out how to use your time effectively, and obsessive record keeping essential. Not helped by antique IT kit. Work is sporadic and unpredictable, but can be managed around other activities, which is good as difficult to earn enough to live on alone.With Covid they were slow to react, still expecting interviews to continue despite the risk until quite late, and then abruptly dumping us without qualms or income.

Pros

Flexible working

Cons

Unpredictable and insecure
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Low paid zero hours contract of employment but great place to meet people from different cultures.

Basic zero hours contract. Paid by assignment, if you are not offered an assignment you get no work or pay as an interviewer. Travel time to the area you agree to work in is well below the min wage. Travel expenses are half the amount the inland revenue recommend so it does not cover your costs of running your own vehicle. You are paid a fee for each successful interview. If you are unsuccessful being unable to contact a household you get paid nothing for a days work. Most enjoyable part of the job is meeting different people and variable locations. The hardest part of the job is you cannot pay your bills.

Pros

Flexible working hours

Cons

Paid below the min wage
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Good workplace, if your face fits

I worked as a freelance interviewer for 10 years and by and large enjoyed it. Not easy to earn a living from it if you don’t have another income source. Get on to a project that involves re visiting respondents every year, they are the best projects and guarantee an income. It’s more pleasant in the summer, cold wet evenings in winter are tougher.

Pros

Freedom to work without close supervision.

Cons

Pay is not great.
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Overall rating

Based on 40 reviews

Ratings by category

3.4 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
2.5 out of 5 stars for Salary/Benefits
2.4 out of 5 stars for Job security/advancement
2.7 out of 5 stars for Management
2.8 out of 5 stars for Culture

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