There’s been a lot of talk over the past few years about the possibility of furnishing recruiters with a formalised industry standard, so it was with bated breath that we recently sat down for a webinar on the latest iteration of the highly anticipated Recruiter Accreditation Scheme (RAS).

Presented by Debrah Harding, MRS managing director, and Becki Pickering, AQR Board member and Acumen fieldwork director; their joint webinar outlined the scheme’s present format, which has come together on the back of numerous consultative stages with industry stakeholders.

The presentation certainly exceeded our expectations as we were taken through a comprehensive and robust scheme of training and registration, opportunities for professional development and a detailed support and complaint system for recruiters and their clients. The overall picture was of a system with robust quality standards, checks and balances, and a new sense of professionalisation for the recruiting arm of the research industry.

And it’s perhaps in this last element that this presentation excelled. Historically, recruiters have tended to operate largely as a cottage industry until the accessibility of technology allowed many to modernise their methods and scale their businesses to a level comparable to many fieldwork companies.

Similarly, the demands of research briefs have also evolved. Shifting from a need to speak to any breathing human with an opinion to the ever more complex requirements of today’s research, which often come with a dizzying array of quotas, algorithms and attitudinal statements. It only seems right that in this new era of increasingly demanding projects that the important work done by recruiters is framed within a professional standard that reflects our true plate-spinning capabilities.

If this is the shape of market research recruitment to come, then the work done by AQR and the MRS on this joint initiative will go a long way to future-proofing our industry. That’s something which I’m sure we can all give our collective stamp of approval on.