Job descriptions and industry overviews

Market research analyst: job description

19 Jul 2023, 09:04

A market research analyst works collecting and assimilating data and interpreting it to identify changes and forecast trends.

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Market research analyst : Salaries | Employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Marketing research analysts (also known as research executives) gather together and analyse data from numerous sources and feed the results – and sometimes recommendations as well – back to clients.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • designing questionnaires and advising on methodology of collection of data.
  • collecting data and assimilating statistics, using statistical software.
  • monitoring the progress of data collection.
  • collating information and interpreting data for clients.
  • making recommendations based on the data collected.
  • presenting findings to clients in easy-to-understand formats.
  • managing data collectors and data input assistants.
  • negotiating contracts for research projects.
  • managing focus groups, carrying out interviews and conducting surveys.
  • managing budgets.

Research analysts usually specialise in either quantitative or qualitative research. Quantitative research involves working with large amounts of information from statistics from structured questionnaires and can be used to identify attitudes, behaviours or patterns of sales.

Qualitative research is usually based on one-to-one interviews or focus groups. These are more unstructured and have to be interpreted by the market research analyst. They can show underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations, and take longer to complete.

The nature of the research will vary depending on the type and size of employer and the industry in which work is carried out.

Graduate salaries

Salary survey websites suggest that starting salaries for graduate market research analysts tend to be around £19,000. Earnings will rise with experience, which can be rapid due to the pace of this industry.

Typical employers of market research analysts

  • Market research consultancies.
  • Marketing agencies.
  • Manufacturers.
  • Retailers.
  • Governments and local authorities.
  • Charities
  • IT firms.
  • Financial organisations.

As a market research analyst, you could work for a marketing consulting firm and work on projects for a range of clients. These are likely to be small organisations or those that have short-term needs. Alternatively, you could work for an organisation in a different sector (such as a charity, a bank or a retailer) and look after projects relating to this organisation only. These employers are likely to be bigger and to employ a market research team.

With experience, you can also work on a freelance or consultancy basis.

A number of market research organisations offer graduate schemes, and you can find vacancies via targetjobs , university careers services and industry body websites. Specialist recruitment agencies also advertise graduate market research jobs.

Qualifications and training required

Common degree subjects for quantitative researchers are maths, statistics, economics or business, while, for roles specialising in qualitative research, common degree subjects are often in social science or humanities. A postgraduate qualification involving research could be an advantage for specialist roles or ones in competitive sectors.

However, you may not need a specific degree for some roles, particularly trainee roles in which you’ll learn on the job. School leavers can enter the profession via an apprenticeship or by applying for junior roles and working their way up.

Work experience will boost your job applications, introduce you to software and tools used in market research and give you an insight into whether this field is the right role for you. The Market Research Society lists organisations interested in hosting work experience students. You could also explore research-based part-time work, such as conducting surveys or being a mystery shopper.

Key skills for market research analysts

  • The ability to cope with fast-paced and pressured work.
  • Strong attention to detail and an analytical mind.
  • The ability to notice patterns within statistics.
  • An interest in psychology and behaviour.
  • Good organisational skills .
  • Excellent (spoken and written) communication skills .
  • Confident presentation skills.
  • Commercial awareness .
  • A methodical approach to work.
  • Strong IT skills, including knowledge of (or willingness to learn) statistical software packages.

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