You can have all the data you want but, without creative and analytical thinking, it’s worthless!

We pride ourselves on the analytical capabilities across the various teams, and the creative way in which we approach our work.
Women sitting at laptop in home
  • Author:
  • Publishing date:
    22 February 2024

In April 2023, the World Economic Forum released a Future of Jobs report for 2027, highlighting the skills and jobs that will be in high demand over the next few years. To us, at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), the findings came as no surprise.

The top two skills that organisations currently demand from their employees are also the top two skills they foresee needing in 2027 and beyond – Analytical Thinking and Creative Thinking.

As an organisation, this is where NatCen excels. We pride ourselves on the analytical capabilities across the various teams, and the creative way in which we approach our work with customers to deliver projects that have a considerable impact on society for the better.

Sir Roger Jowell first established NatCen in 1969, to understand the complexity of people’s lives and give the public a powerful voice in shaping decisions and services that make a difference to everyone. Creative and analytical thinking became the driving force behind the growth of NatCen, to become the leading independent, not-for-profit, social research organisation in the UK today.

Whilst the world has drastically changed since those cultural and societal shifts of 1969 that saw the first moon landing, Woodstock and the counterculture movement challenging traditional norms, the skills and expertise needed to be a leading social scientist, and a leading social research organisation, haven’t.

In my role as Director of Strategy and Diversification, I must look forward, to understand what the research market will look like in the future. 

It was pleasing to see that the key skills we possess, and deliberately look for when hiring new members of staff, are the skills most in demand from our customers and partners for the foreseeable future. The findings show that there will be a need for NatCen in a new world awash with big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, a need for the work we carry out, and more importantly, the way in which we carry out this life-changing work.

In a sector where data and generative AI are regular topics of discussion, or new products emerge on the market that allow you to develop your own research tools or augmented personas, sometimes it is easy to forget that you can have all the data in the world, but if the data is incorrect or you cannot analyse that data correctly, predict future trends, solve complex problems or generate the insights needed to make better, more informed decisions, then the data are practically worthless. 

For these very reasons, analytical and creative thinking sit at the very top of the skills in high demand from organisations and customers alike when engaging with NatCen. 

NatCen are experts in collecting the data – this is exceptionally important as organisations that work with incorrect or inaccurate data often make inaccurate decisions.  Organisations become an echo chamber of misinformation, only able to see a small part of the puzzle they are trying to solve. 

One thing that can be certain, when working with NatCen, you know that the data are accurate.

By combining our data with your data, and data obtained through other sources, we start to build up a picture to provide invaluable insights. Insights that allow organisations to understand the society that surrounds them, the impact they are having and how to improve for benefit of all. 

As NatCen transitions into a new world, we want to be seen as an exciting, dynamic, innovative, and creative place to work, where NatCen staff have the opportunity to embrace bold and new ideas that benefit society, while maintaining the incredibly high standards, accuracy and thoroughness associated with the organisation. 

We need to ensure that customers can benefit from the creative and analytical thinking we possess, as well as our expertise, knowledge and know-how of society and human behaviour. Watch out for new NatCen products and services entering the market in 2024 and 2025 that will do just that.

We are always keen to hear from organisations who want to make a significant social impact, those who have a cause and an aim they are striving towards, or those who want to make people’s lives better.

If you want to truly embrace creative and analytical thinking that benefits society, deliver a significant social impact, and make lives better for all that live within it, you need a Social Scientist. 

If you want to work to the highest of standards, with the very best talent in this field, then you probably need a NatCen Social Scientist.