Market Research Analyst

    If you are wondering how to become a market research analyst, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in this area of advertising, marketing and PR, as well as job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Market research analysts, often called data analysts, are responsible for analysing statistical information that has been collected via general public or sector specific surveys. This may be in the form of consumer, political, social or industrial research that has been commissioned by any type of client in business, government or industry.

    Typical responsibilities include:

    – Creating proposals and providing research
    – Giving advice to researchers on survey design and methodology
    – Checking data
    – Using software programmes to analyse statistics
    – Presenting findings in a variety of formats such as speaches, written material, tables or graphs
    – Explaining results to managers or clients who may not have much statistical or mathematical understanding
    – Helping researchers to present findings in formats that clients can use and understand.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of good market research analysts include:

    – strong computer and mathematical abilities
    – skills in analysis and interpretation of statistics
    – excellent written and verbal skills
    – creativity and problem-solving abilities
    – accuracy and a keen eye for detail
    – organisation and time-management
    – calmness in pressurised situations.

    How to become a market research analyst
    The entry requirements for market research analysts will usually be a statistics degree or another relevant subject, such as mathematics, economics or business studies.

    To be accepted onto degree in statistics, you will probably require 3 A levels (one being mathematics), plus five or GCSEs at grade A to C (or equivalent).

    A market research analyst will often posses an MSc (Master’s degree) or a PhD in statistics or applied statistics. It may prove useful to study for the MSc if you have an unrelated degree or if you wish work in a highly specialised field such as social science or medical statistics.

    Work experience in areas such as advertising, data analysis, research or interviewing may be very useful.

    Your first role could be as an assistant within a market research organisation, and you could move onto stats work with experience. Many large companies provide relevant graduate training programmes.

    Training and Development
    Learning will generally on the job. Training may involve gaining a qualification from the MRS – Market Research Society:
    – Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice – for those new to research
    – Market and Social Research Practice Diploma – for those with experience.

    You could study for the Advanced Certificate either part or full time via distance learning, at university or at a training centre. The Diploma can also be gained via distance learning or part-time study. Contact MRS (details below) for info.

    You can attend a short course from another organisation, eg:
    – SRA (Social Research Association) offers one-day research methods courses
    – AQR (Association for Qualitative Research) offers three-day foundation courses for those new to qualitative research.

    After five years’+ experience in market research analysis, you can gain CStat – Chartered Statistician – status from the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), which provides professional development programmes for its members.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    Graduates start at c. £20k per annum.
    Senior roles range from £40k to £55k per annum.

    Job Prospects
    You may work within a market research agency / consultancy, or in the market research department of an industrial or commercial company. You could work for a social or government research body like the Government Statistical Service.

    Jobs are often advertised on recruitment websites, within the ‘Research’ magazine of the MRS, via the RSS or through specialist employment agencies.

    Have gained some experience, progression can follow into management or you may wish to wok on a self-employed consultancy basis.

    Useful industry contact:
    MRS – Market Research Society
    15 Northburgh Street
    London EC1V 0JR
    Tel: 0207 490 4911

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