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Learning and Development: BHBIA Skills Framework

May 5th, 2023

The BHBIA is delighted to announce the publication of its Skills Framework in May as part of the organisation's evolving Learning and Development strategy pillar. 

Last year a bespoke project started in March, interviewing more than 30 senior BHBIA members across Agency and Client backgrounds, with the aim of getting a more comprehensive understanding of the skills and experience needed for careers in UK Business Insights. This research informed the creation of a structured framework that will underpin the Learning and Development support the BHBIA offers to its members. 


Whilst you could still describe Business Insights broadly by research and analytics, there were a host of more nuanced skills, covering a broad range of members' roles and responsibilities. These distilled down to seven distinct business domains(in no particular order)

- Fieldwork

- Qualitative Market Research

- Quantitative Market Research

- Customer Analysis

- Commercial Excellence

- Real-World Insights & Evidence

- Data Working

The research then identified specialist skills within each of the above domains. These include any distinct areas of knowledge or expertise that may be required to work effectively in the domain area, and any specific software and other tools and techniques that might be used.

A clear theme emerging from the research conversations was how skills, experience and responsibilities develop over time during a career in Business Insights. This led to the identification of three career stages, which we have called the 'Effective Operator', the 'Skilled Professional' and the 'Leader'.

The final finding from the interviews was the prevalence of common business skills, such as communication skills and project management skills, that are valuable across many roles and enable people to be effective in their day-to-day interactions with others. Having an area to describe the Business Insights specific applications of these business skills formed part of the structure identified by the research.

The final stage was to formalise and validate this structure – which by September 2022 resulted in the first draft of our BHBIA Skills Framework!


The challenge for the BHBIA was to take the Skills Framework and find the ways in which it could live and breathe to support its members’ Learning and Development throughout their careers. This will happen in two key ways:

Whether you are just starting your Business Insights career, have a good idea of your career aspirations, or a leading figure exploring opportunities as they come, the Skills Framework provides a view of UK Business Insights roles and your possible pathways through them, throughout your career.

If you are working in a domain area you love, the Skills Framework may inspire and inform your plan to develop your depth of knowledge and expertise over time.

Similarly, if you are interested in broadening you experience, the Skills Framework is a guide to knowledge or skills you may need in other domain areas so you can look or ask for relevant Learning and Development opportunities.

The pathways may not even be for your own benefit. Commonly as careers progress, you’ll be responsible for others’ development, so the Skills Framework can be your guide to building and supporting your teams.

Having a clear view of the skills and knowledge our members need to be effective in their roles means we can plan and prioritise the Learning and Development opportunities offered by the organisation to support leading Business Insights practice in the UK.


Visit the BHBIA Skills Framework page to access copies and additional resources as these become available.

                                   Or scroll to the bottom of the page to download your copy now!

A limited number of hard copies will be available on the BHBIA stand at conference this year – this may be useful for managers with larger teams who want a reference during development conversations with their teams. Please visit the stand at the Agency Fair to grab a copy!

Our members’ contributions to enhancing and evolving the skills and knowledge  of our community is invaluable – and core to the BHBIA’s values. This year we hope that the domains provide targeted topics during our annual call for Learning and Development involvement, which inspire ideas you can be confident will attract attention and ensures anyone in our community has something relevant to get involved in. An email will go out on the 11th May with further details on how to submit your ideas.

To all those who were involved the BHBIA would like to extend its thanks for your time, passion and input to this piece of work!

As always, we love to hear your thoughts on the developments and investments the organisation makes on behalf of its members, so please get in touch or join us at a networking event to share your ideas!