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National Centre for Social Research Employee Reviews

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3.4Work-life balance

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Social Researchers .. with no respect or empathy for their workers

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some poorly paid surveys, other companies pay more for the same work. over reliance and emphasis on weekend and evening work , their work ethos is 20-30 years out of date. absolute obsession with wanting to know when people are working on which jobs, and committing to 25 hours of work per week but not always offering it . but still classing their workers as 'freelance' several people comment about being offered no work . i think they could do with some constructive dismissal cases being instigated.


no set start time unless you have specific appointments


too many, as described
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Interesting & rewarding to see how the various studies contribute towards changing society

What is the best part of working at the company?Flexibility to plan your week around the days you have available. Meeting some lovely people. What is the most stressful part about working at the company?The pay structure can be a little complicated but there's always someone to ask.What is the work environment and culture like at the company?The work environment is great as your training happens online in different groups for various projects and occasionally on a group basis where you meet some of your peers face to face in London. I'd say the culture is good and ever- changing to accommodate various trends and updates.What is a typical day like for you at the company?No two days are the same. At the beginning of a new project you need to do a lot of house calls to secure interviews and these calls are ongoing until the surveys are complete. You meet so many different people each day - which is great.
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A mixed bag

The job is flexible, which is probably the best thing about it. You get a lot of help and support from Performance Managers and it is nice meeting new people on a daily basis and doing something different everyday.Wages are very unstable though and pay is dependent on people wanting to be interviewed. Probably a good job to get you a bit of experience after University or for people wanting a bit of work on the side, but don’t see how it would be suitable for someone with lots of bills to pay.
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Not good experience

I was there for one year. Not good. Poor pay and NO progression for staff. Very good colleagues but sadly the poor and lack of development let it down.
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Good supplemental income if you like meeting people from all walks of life and listen to their issues. You often need to drive to rural areas within reach.
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Insights into National Centre for Social Research

Based on 28 survey responses
What people like
  • Clear sense of purpose
  • Time and location flexibility
  • Ability to learn new things
Areas for improvement
  • Sense of belonging
  • Support from manager
  • Trust in colleagues

Hard to earn a living

This is a great job if you want to meet loads of interesting people, but don't need to earn a living. There are a lot of people who won't give you the time of day, but when you get to do interviews, it's fascinating.
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Doesn’t value loyalty

Lost focus and doesn’t value experienced interviewers. However there are still some very interesting projects but the pay is poor. Respondents are more likely to refuse than ever before as there is just a general mistrust of govt and the wider organisations connected.
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Easy going a place where you can get work and not feel entitled to rush into it. Good online system too so when you work you can work from anywhere you want.
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Never dull

Well meaning organisation with a lot of positives in its aims and T&C however it lurches from affluence to crisis resulting in regression every few years.For many years there has been too many low capability senior hires for many years who can talk but not walk has resulted in a downward spiral of quality at all levels as each appoint those with lower capabilities who are non-threatening. Expertise has been in decline since Covid resulting in poor training and development of the field force. Combined with a lack of investment in process improvement this results in overworked staff desperately trying to sort out the mess and who cannot reverse a decline in standards.


T&C; Home working; purpose; challenge


Ineptitude; management; systems; prospects
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Very poor employer if you want paying for work

If you want to wait many months to get any pay, then sign up.If you want your work to be soul-destroying, then sign up.If you want to waste your time with an organisation that is in perpetual chaos, then sign up.


You can flex around your life, although they expect you to be available for work


Very poor communication, pay is not what you are told, organisation in chaos
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Ok for flexibity

Cumbersome not for profit organisation, accademic project directors totally out of touch with data collection at the coal face. Research company that does no proper employee research or exit interviews. That said, if you are self sufficient and take it for what it is, a part time flexible job, not a career then it's ok.
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If something goes a bit wrong they fire you in 5 minutes making shocking even their staff and even don’t make you aware. I found another job and wanted to discuss my rota and was fired immediately
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Shocking company and environment

Been at Natcen for almost 6 years now. Despite having a yearly PDR with my manager and discussing possible promotions and personal development nothing has ever come of it. The senior management team do whatever they want and do not listen to anyone else. The operations structure is changing again and there are a number of redundancies forecasted.


Great colleagues and supportive line manager


Depressingly long hours, no recognition or reward, horrible old fashioned offices that do not allow for people to work collaboratively
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Inclusive, innovative, and high quality work

NatCen produces some of the highest quality social research in the UK. There is rarely a dull day, with a good variety of work. With highly qualified, engaged and inclusive staff it has a great place to learn new skills and how to do applied research in the most robust. There is a generally a supportive and encouraging culture. Although salary isn’t always as high as in market research, there good staff benefits (e.g. good annual leave, hybrid working, employee assistance programme)


Interesting work, supportive colleagues.


Fast work pace, sometimes stressful
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It's ok

Managing remote worker who conduct official government surveys. A good team of colleagues but lack of training and complex multiple projects to understand.
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Professional research

NatCen has been a great company to work for in terms of flexibility of hours and variety of projects. Briefings are comprehensive. Until recently pay has not been the highest but has now improved. However their recent recruitment drive now sees them with lots of interviewers but little work to offer due to project start dates being delayed. Very frustrating if you're asked to offer 20 or so hours per week but then only allocated 8 or 12 hours work- as its No work No pay.
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Steer clear

So much change over the years and not for the better now, poor pay and poor organisation2.2%pay rise for this year, equates to 20p an hour, last rise was before the pandemic!
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A company of two halves

NatCen carries out social research and is trying to position itself as THE company to go to for social research. There are two main areas in the company - research and field. At the moment, the field and support functions are in complete chaos and not delivering against any deadlines or targets. Management are blind to the realities of what's happening at grass roots level and very slow to put in the resources that are needed. Research side is well structured and provides a wide variety of project roles and experience. High turnover of staff and constantly recruiting


Provides ethical research that drives govt policy


Company doesn't care about employees and is a state of complete chaos coming out of covid
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Loved the job when working for the ONS covid study. Changed since then but I had no issues when working with the company during that period of time.
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flexible and interesting work but disorganised

enjoyed the control over my own schedule, and the actual work. The issue I have is with the unpredictability of the amount of work, with some months having less projects and therefore less hours to work.
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Great company to work for

It was just a great company to work for. There was plenty of support from management, there was never an issue. I would have worked for them a lot longer, however the study I worked on was coming to an end.
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Overall rating

Based on 73 reviews

Ratings by category

3.4 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
2.6 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
2.9 out of 5 stars for Culture

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