Manchester Digital is the largest specialist trade body in the North West, working with Greater Manchester’s most progressive digital and tech companies.  

Each year they run a Digital Skills Festival and a key feature of this is its annual Skills Audit, a survey of all regional digital and tech businesses to understand the key challenges and support needs in the industry and is used to inform both regional and national government policy decisions and investment. 

And as part of their commitment to understanding the digital and technology sector in the North West, they led an important piece of research sponsored by AutoTrader that examined the salaries and benefits being offered to employees across the region. 

1. Discover

The Manchester Digital team wanted me to review and refresh the survey content and process for both the Skills Audit and Industry Benchmarking Survey, so this is where we started. 

I met up with them to review their existing surveys, understand which bits work and which don’t, what they wanted to get out of the projects and begin to go through some ideas and areas for development.

2. Develop

Developing the surveys takes time. We were conscious that the surveys needed to work for companies of different sizes, independents and employees. Building in time for user testing was critical. We were able to take on the feedback, iron out any issues and sign off surveys with confidence.

3. Gather

The beauty of online surveys is, as long as you reach the right people, data collection kind of takes care of itself.

Actually, that’s a lie. It can be bloody hard without an effective plan and communications. Fortunately, the Manchester Digital team are great. They shared the surveys far and wide through their membership networks and social media. I tracked responses, gave regular updates and offered support and advice for the final push.

4. Analyse

Once the surveys closed, we started thinking about how the data was going to be used. In this case, findings would be showcased at the Manchester Skills Festival. This meant I could set up the analysis with confidence, whether it was grouping particular variables or identifying key demographics.

We were also working with some commercially sensitive data on pay and benefits for large tech companies. I had to balance the need for useful analysis with a respect for company anonymity.

5. Insight

I produced a detailed skills audit report and provided key datasets for Manchester Digital’s designers to create infographics and visuals for the Festival.

Tailored individual company reports were generated for each participating company in the pay benchmarking exercise, with comparison data remaining anonymous. These were then shared securely with each company.

6. Action

Headline findings were shared at the Skills Festival, prompting important discussions on things like industry trends and diversity.

The pay benchmarking exercise is commercially sensitive so even I don’t know how that’s being used by companies. But its main purpose is to inform recruitment, pay and benefits, particularly for roles which are in demand or difficult to fill and retain.

What they got from Pearson Insight

They got me, my skills, experience and software. I threw in some flexibility and independence too.

I’ve been running surveys and research projects of all shapes and sizes for years. It doesn’t matter what the topic or industry is, I can advise on methods and approaches, design the right questions, support data collection, then run analysis and reports.

Adam was professional and flexible and delivered on spec and on time. He often went above and beyond during the process of working with us, working to accommodate our tight deadlines and turn around requirements.

Emma Grant

Talent and Skills Manager

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