A Kansas City native, Worcester graduated from the University of Kansas in 1955, and following service in the US Army Corps of Engineers in Korea worked with management consultants McKinsey & Company. In 1965, he joined Opinion Research Corporation as chief financial officerFinancialbefore coming to Britain in 1969 to found MORI, then a joint-venture of ORC and National Opinion Polls, becoming the principal owner four years later.
He was made a Knight Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2005 in recognition of the "outstanding services rendered to political, social and economic research and for contribution to government policy and programmes".
Worcester was appointed Chancellor of the University of Kent in 2007 and retired from the role in 2014 and was succeeded by Gavin Esler. He is an Emeritus Governor of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Visiting Professor in the Government Department and is also Visiting Professor in the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London. He is also Honorary Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Warwick University. Earlier he was Visiting Professor in the Graduate Centre for Journalism at City University and in the Department of Marketing at Strathclyde University. He is the Chancellor's Lecturer and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Kansas.
He is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics and Political Science and of King's College London, holds six honorary doctorates, and the Distinguished Graduate award of the University of Kansas. Worcester was Principal Investigator for the World Values Survey in Trinidad and Tobago (2006, 2010) and United Kingdom (1998). For two years he served as the President of the World Association for Public Opinion Research. He became a Patron of the UK Market Research Society in October 2012.
He is Deputy chairman and Trustee of the Magna Carta Trust and currently chairs the Magna Carta 2015 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, and is a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation. He is also a former member of the Fulbright Commission and a former Governor of the English-Speaking Union and co-chaired with Lord Watson the Jamestown 400th Commemoration British Committee (2005–07).
He is immediate Past President and former chair of the Advisory Council of the Institute for Business Ethics and has been on the Corporate Responsibility Advisory Board of Camelot. He was a Member of the Advisory Council of the National Consumer Council and Forum for the Future.
He is a Vice-President of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, of the United Nations Association and of the European Atlantic Group and was President of ENCAMS (Keep Britain Tidy). He is currently a Vice-President and was a Trustee of Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and was a Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF)Trustee. He is a Vice-President of Protect Kent, the Kent Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. From 1993 to 2010, he was chairman of the Pilgrims Society.