|Number of Jobs:||116,600|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Business Jobs||#1|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#21|
Every company wants to boost sales, but without in-depth knowledge about market demands and preferences, the task could become considerably harder. Market research analysts analyze data to figure out what products are in demand, who wants them, and what consumers are willing to pay for them. Different methodologies are used to collect information, including surveys, questionnaires, and/or opinion polls. Collection is followed by analysis. Taking complex data, market research analysts churn out reports on sales trends, consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits, presenting it in an understandable way for management and clients alike. According to Ken Roberts, president at the San Francisco-based marketing research company Cooper Roberts Research, working in the profession requires skills that are seemingly at odds with each other: understanding people and logic. The process of collecting data and thinking about it critically plays to the logical side. But gauging why target audiences might be attracted to a particular product requires some understanding of people on a more human and personal level. Those in the profession may begin their careers either at the corporate level or working for a smaller research company like the one Roberts now leads.
The demand from a broad range of industries, including research companies, colleges, and government agencies, for data leading to the most effective marketing strategies will lead to a growth in the field of marketing research analysts. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) predicts a whopping 41.2 percent employment increase between 2010 and 2020. During that time period, a hefty 116,600 new positions will need to be filled.
According the BLS, market research analysts earned $60,250 in 2011. The best-paid earned $112,560 while the lowest-paid earned less than $33,490. Areas of the industry that pay well include motor vehicle manufacturing, semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing, and computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing. The metropolitan areas that compensate best for this occupation are San Jose, Calif., Framingham, Mass., and Auburn, Ala.
Becoming a market research analyst requires at least a bachelor's degree. However, many who enter the occupation do so with degrees from a wide range of studies, including statistics, math, computer science, and business administration, among others. One important factor to keep in mind upon entering the field is that you won't hit the ground running, as Roberts points out. Depending on the company, you may end up focusing on the mechanics of collecting data rather than analyzing it, for up to five years.
"Internships are a good way to get into the field," Roberts says, citing seminars at the Burke Institute, an international research and consulting firm.. The Ohio-based organization offers multiple-day workshops on industry-centered skills like designing effective questionnaires and moderating focus groups, along with exploring the relationship between different variables found in data.
Aside from internships, having previous work experience in business, marketing, and sales can also boost your prospects for crossing over into the field.
|Stress Level||Above Average|