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September 27, 2022

New Report: Despite layoffs and spending cuts, user research teams are being asked to do more research

The news can be stressful right now. Everybody’s tightening wallets, freezing budgets, and you’re feeling the pressure at work and at home.

But there’s one thing we feel confident about. When companies are nervous about losing customers, user research becomes even more critical. Ensuring rock solid product-market fit and optimizing every step of the user experience mean requests for your time and energy could be at an all-time high.

We wanted to get a pulse on exactly how you feel, as a researcher. We spoke to user researchers across industries — those who are solo acts, those who are integral to niche research teams at larger organizations, and others who are on the job hunt. All are feeling a shift, and they are trying to navigate how to do more with less.

In the words of one researcher at a company who is acutely aware of the need to maintain loyal customers,

Shifting focus to churn, retention, and doubling down on priorities has meant we need to be a bit more nimble with our research and move fast to make changes with that renewed focus. So research among existing customers is really key here and trying to incorporate it naturally is important.”

Another researcher is looking not just to prioritize, but to increase efficiency. They said, “We are in the process of evaluating where we can implement more automation to reduce load/burden on the research team.”

So what does this look like across other teams and how do the numbers stack up? In our Research in a Downturn Report, we reveal the data from our research on the researchers. We share our own research(!) including all the charts and open-ended answers we received and to hopefully make you feel a little less alone in the current economic climate. There’s good news, not-so-good news, and reasons to be optimistic, including:

  • 37% of research teams are experiencing layoffs or spending cuts

  • And while 14% of UXRs are doing less research than before the downturn, 28% are doing more

  • 43% of research teams have been asked to justify resources

Download the report here — and let us know what you think. Really. We’re here because we believe user research holds the keys to successful products, rapidly growing startups, and expanding enterprises. We want to create content that helps you, and we’re all ears for how to do that better.

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