Market research analyst: job description

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

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Market research analysts usually specialise in either quantitative or qualitative research.

What does a market research analyst do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Marketing research analysts gather together and analyse data from diverse sources to produce results, which are then presented back to a client. They may also be asked to make recommendations based on the findings. Market research analysts are hired by public and private sector organisations, as well as by charities and not-for-profit organisations. Analysts can also work on a freelance or consultancy basis.

The details of the research carried out will vary depending on the type and size of employer, as well as the industry. 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.

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 an easy-to-understand way
  • managing a team of data collectors and data input assistants
  • negotiate contracts for research projects
  • managing focus groups, carrying out interviews and conducting surveys
  • managing budgets

Salaries, working life and promotion

Marketing research executives who specialise in quantitative research typically follow a standard ‘nine-to-five’ day, although they may occasionally be required to work out of hours on larger projects. However, executives specialising in qualitative research may have to work at unsocial hours in order to make contact with survey respondents.

The work is deadline driven and so, depending on the project you are currently working on, may be stressful. The majority of an executive’s time will be spent in an office, but you may have travel to meet clients.

Salaries may be enhanced with bonuses and could include benefits such as life insurance or gym membership.

Promotion is to senior analyst, accounts director, research executive or into management.

Marketing research analyst are also called data analysts. Market research executive is a related job role. Graduate vacancies may be advertised as research assistants or as graduate trainees.

Typical employers of market research analysts

  • Manufacturers
  • Retailers
  • Governments and local authorities
  • Charities
  • Industries
  • Market research consultancies and marketing agencies

Most opportunities are based in the south-east of England, though there are opportunities in other parts of the UK. You could also work abroad.

Market research companies (consultancies) can be commissioned by public or private organisations, for example advertising companies and charities.

Can be self-employed or on a contract basis but typically this is only possible after building up your experience in the industry.

You can find vacancies in specialist publications, online job-boards (such as TARGETjobs), the Ipsos Mori website, recruitment agencies and local newspapers.

Qualifications and training required

Most workers in the sector have a degree and common subjects for quantitative researchers are maths, statistics, economics or business.

For roles specialising in qualitative research common degree subjects are often in social science or humanities. However, sometimes a specific degree subject is not required. Having a postgraduate qualification could also be an advantage. It is possible to work up from a market researcher post and it is also possible to enter the profession through an apprenticeship.

Key skills for market research analysts

  • Ability to cope with fast-paced and pressured work
  • Accuracy
  • Strong attention to detail and a strong analytical mind.
  • 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
  • Familiarity or training in statistics or a willingness to learn
  • Have strong IT skills and have knowledge of or be keen to learn statistical software packages
  • Be able to be flexible and work as part of a team.

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