Market Research Data Analyst

The Job and What's Involved

As a market research analyst, it would be your job to analyse statistics that have been collected through market research surveys. This could be consumer, industrial or social and political research commissioned by all types of client in industry, business and government.

Your work would involve:

  • Writing proposals describing how you will carry out the research.
  • Advising researchers about survey methodology and design
    checking that the data that has been collected.
  • Analysing the data using statistical software programmes and techniques.
  • Presenting the findings through talks, written reports, graphs and tables.
  • Explaining the results to research executives (who may not have specialist mathematical or statistical knowledge).
  • Helping research executives present the findings in a way that the client can understand and use.

Job titles can vary, for example you might be known as a data analyst, statistician or insight professional.

You would typically work standard office hours, Monday to Friday, with occasional overtime if necessary to meet project deadlines.

The work is mainly office-based, but you may sometimes travel to visit clients.

Graduate starting salaries are around £22,000 a year. With experience, earnings can rise to between £25,000 and £35,000.

Salaries for senior posts can range from £40,000 to £55,000.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

You could work for market research agencies and consultancies, or in a company's in-house market research department. You could also find opportunities with social research bodies or the Office of National Statistics.

Jobs may be advertised in the national and industry press, and through the RSS, specialist recruitment agencies and graduate recruitment websites.

Education and Training

You will need a degree in statistics or a related subject that involves statistics, such as maths, business studies or economics. The most useful courses focus on the practical applications of statistics.

To get onto a statistics degree you will usually need at least five GCSE's (A-C) plus three A levels including a good grade in maths, or equivalent qualifications. You should contact universities to find out about their exact entry requirements.

Many market research data analysts also have a Masters degree (MSc) or PhD in statistics or applied statistics. You may find it particularly useful to take an MSc if you want to specialise in an area like medical or social science statistics.

See the Education and Qualifications section of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) website for a list of degrees and Masters degrees that they accredit.

You will find it useful to have work experience in research, advertising, data analysis, or as a market research interviewer.

When looking for your first graduate job, you could start as a junior statistician/analyst, perhaps on a structured graduate training scheme offered by some of the larger companies. Alternatively you could start as a research assistant, and move into statistical work after gaining more experience.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

You will mainly develop your skills on the job, and your employer may also give you the chance to attend training courses from outside organisations throughout your career.
Your training may include the chance to gain qualifications from the Market Research Society (MRS), such as:

  • Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice – for researchers at the beginning of their careers.
  • Diploma in Market and Social Research Practice – for experienced researchers.

You can study for the Advanced Certificate full- or part-time at some universities or training centres, or by distance learning. The Diploma is available part-time or by distance learning. See the MRS website for information.

You could also attend specialist short courses from other organisations such as:

The Social Research Association (SRA) – offers one-day courses in various research methods.

The Association for Qualitative Research (AQR) – offers a three-day foundation course for people new to qualitative research.

After at least five years' experience as a market research analyst, you can become a Chartered Statistician (CStat) with the Royal Statistical Society. The RSS also provides a programme of professional development for members. Contact the RSS or see their website for details.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A market research data analyst needs:

  • Excellent mathematical and computer skills.
  • The ability to analyse and interpret statistics.
  • Good spoken and written communication skills.
  • Creative problem-solving skills.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Good organisational and time-management skills.
  • The ability to work well under pressure.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could progress into management, or become a self-employed market research consultant.

Get Further Information

Market Research Society (MRS),
15 Northburgh Street, London EC1V 0JR
Tel: 020 7490 4911

Royal Statistical Society (RSS),
12 Errol Street, London EC1Y 8LX
Tel: 020 7638 8998

Social Research Association,
175-185 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8UP
Tel: 020 7812 0634

Association for Qualitative Research (AQR),
Davey House, 31 St Neots Road, Eaton Ford,
St Neots, Cambridgeshire PE19 7BA
Tel: 01480 407227

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