Market research analysts held about 415,700 jobs in 2012. Because most industries use market research, these analysts are employed throughout the economy.
The industries employing the most market research analysts in 2012 were as follows:
|Finance and insurance||10%|
|Management, scientific, and technical consulting services||10|
|Management of companies and enterprises||9|
Some market research analysts research trends for the company for which they work. Others work for consulting firms that do market research for many different clients.
Those who hold full-time jobs in government, business, or teaching also may consult on a part-time basis.
Market research analysts generally work alone at a computer, collecting and analyzing data and preparing reports. Some, however, work directly with the public to collect information and data.
Most market research analysts work full time during regular business hours. Some, however, work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, which may require longer hours.
Most market research analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree. Top research positions often require a master’s degree. Strong math and analytical skills are essential.
Market research analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree in market research or a related field. Many have degrees in fields such as statistics, math, and computer science. Others have backgrounds in business administration, the social sciences, or communications.
Courses in statistics, research methods, and marketing are essential for these workers. Courses in communications and social sciences, such as economics, psychology, and sociology, are also important.
Some market research analyst jobs require a master’s degree. Several schools offer graduate programs in marketing research, but many analysts complete degrees in other fields, such as statistics and marketing, and/or earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA). A master’s degree is often required for leadership positions or positions that perform more technical research.
Most market research analysts can benefit from internships or work experience in business, marketing, or sales. Work experience in other positions that require analyzing data, writing reports, or surveying or collecting data can also be helpful in finding a market research position.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Certification is voluntary, but analysts may pursue certification to demonstrate a level of professional competency. The Marketing Research Association offers the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) for market research analysts. Candidates qualify based on experience and knowledge; they must pass an exam, be a member of a professional organization, and have at least 3 years working in opinion and marketing research.
Market research analysts typically have an interest in the Thinking, Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.
If you are not sure whether you have a Thinking or Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a market research analyst, you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Market research analysts should also possess the following specific qualities:
Analytical skills. Market research analysts must be able to understand large amounts of data and information.
Communication skills. Market research analysts need strong communication skills when gathering information, interpreting data, and presenting results to clients.
Critical-thinking skills. Market research analysts must assess all available information to determine what marketing strategy would work best for a company.
Detail oriented. Market research analysts must be detail oriented because they often do precise data analysis.
The median annual wage for market research analysts was $60,300 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,280, and the top 10 percent earned more than $113,500.
In May 2012, the median annual wages for market research analysts in the top five industries in which these analysts worked were as follows:
|Management of companies and enterprises||67,330|
|Finance and insurance||64,490|
|Management, scientific, and technical consulting services||56,760|
Most market research analysts work full time during regular business hours. Some, however, work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, which may require long hours.
Employment of market research analysts is projected to grow 32 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Employment growth will be driven by an increased use of data and market research across all industries—to understand the needs and wants of customers and to measure the effectiveness of marketing and business strategies.
Companies increasingly use research on consumer behavior to develop improved marketing strategies. By doing so, companies are better able to market directly to their target population. In addition, market research provides companies and organizations with an opportunity to cut costs.
Market research also lets companies monitor customer satisfaction and gather feedback about how to improve products or services, allowing companies to build an advantage over their competitors. They may use research to decide the location of stores, placement of products, and services offered. As more companies use research to develop marketing strategies, competing companies will likely engage in similar market research.
Overall job prospects for market research analysts are expected to be good. Rapid employment growth in most industries means good job opportunities should be available.
Job prospects should be best for those with a master’s degree in market research, marketing, statistics, or business administration. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree are expected to face strong competition for jobs.
Those with a strong background in statistical and data analysis or related work experience will have better job opportunities than those without it.