If you are passionate about numbers and statistics and would like to be part of a process that helps discover and shape public opinion, then a role as a market research analyst could be a perfect fit.
What does a Market Research Analyst do?
A market research analyst interprets data collected from market research and draws conclusions from the findings. In turn, these conclusions can be used by clients to help them make more successful business decisions, such as correctly pricing a new product to maximise sales.
But this is only the end of the process; a market research analyst’s job typically begins during discussions with the client. Once the clients’ needs are identified, the next part of the role is to design the best ways to extract the data from the relevant group of people whose opinion is sought. Depending on the sample size, man-management of a large group of market researchers may be required. The data will then be collected by the market researchers, either online, by telephone or face-to-face.
After all the research has been collected, the task of analysing the data begins. This will involve the use of various mathematical techniques, computer software and other statistical methods designed to extract meaning from the data. Finally, the market research analyst will then communicate the findings to the client in clear terms either thorough a presentation or documentation or both.
The starting salary for a market research analyst is around £20,000. This will rise with experience and seniority.
Generally, starting salaries will be £20,000 + (National Careers Service)
The average salary for a market research analyst is £25,874 (PayScale)
Senior executives can earn over £60,000 depending on experience and the size of the organisation
These are some of the skills you will need as a market research analyst:
- An aptitude for maths and statistics
- Excellent communication skills
- The ability to present information clearly and with confidence
- The ability to make complicated subjects understandable to others
- Being able to work to a deadline
- Good team-working skills
- The ability to manage time effectively
- An attention to detail
Qualifications and Entry Requirements
Although possessing a degree is not an absolute necessity, it is certainly a significant advantage to have one when applying for jobs. The types of degree subjects suitable for a role as a market analyst include statistics and other subjects based on mathematics; this kind of degrees will show potential employers that you have an understanding of statistics and also the ability to interpret information.
To further your chances of gaining employment in this role, you could consider completing a masters or PhD in statistics or applied statistics. Holding one of these qualifications will also allow entry into specialist fields such as medical research.
The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is the professional body for statisticians and their website has a wealth of information including details of accredited university courses and in-house courses.
If you have little or no knowledge of statistics, RSS offers an entry level qualification, the Ordinary Certificate, which "aims to provide a sound grounding in the principles and practice of statistics, with emphasis on practical data collection, presentation and interpretation." Some work experience or a good maths GCSE is required to enroll on the course.
The Market Research Society (MRS), which is the world’s leading market research association, also offers a range of courses. One ideal for those looking to enter this profession is the Certificate in Market & Social Research which is "for anyone who needs a comprehensive grounding in the basic principles and practices of effective market and social research."
Career Prospects and Development
Through the course of your daily work, you will be able to improve your work skills and also identify areas you wish to learn more about. In terms of professional qualifications to enable career development, both the MRS and the RSS have a number of options that may help secure a promotion or a more specialised role.
Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice – "the Advanced Certificate is designed for those who are within the first two years of their research career or for those who wish to enter the research profession."
Diploma in Market and Social Research Practice – "Designed for those preparing to move into a senior research role, with either a methodological or business focus working as a research provider or buyer."
MRS also accredit some employer in-house training programmes, so check with your employer to see if this is something you could benefit from.
Higher Certificate – "is intended both as an end in itself in respect of being a qualification in statistics more advanced than that of our Ordinary Certificate, and as a basis for further work in statistics up to the highest undergraduate level, as for example in our Graduate Diploma."
In the course of your further studies, you can apply for the various levels of RSS professional membership. The highest rank is Chartered Statistician and could help secure roles in senior positions.
Finally, the Social Research Association and the Association for Qualitative Research provide short courses, webinars and conferences which will all hopefully help increase your knowledge and job opportunities.
If you have any other questions, get in touch with MRS and they should be able to help steer you in the right direction. Best of luck in your new career!