Statistician: job description

Statisticians collect, analyse and interpret quantitative data.

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The main UK employer of statisticians is the Government Statistical Service.

What does a statistician do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

A statistician gathers numerical data and then displays it, helping companies to make sense of quantitative data and to spot trends and make predictions.

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • designing data acquisition trials
  • assessing results
  • analysing trends
  • applying statistical methodology to complex data
  • acting in a consultancy capacity
  • designing and implementing data gathering/management computer systems and software
  • supervising junior statistical staff
  • using statistics to make forecasts and to provide projected figures
  • presenting information in a variety of formats
  • conveying complex information to people who may not be specialists
  • liaising with colleagues
  • attending meetings

Typical employers of statisticians

  • Market research companies
  • Governmental Statistical Service (GSS)
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • Hospitals
  • Department of Health
  • Regional health authorities
  • Medical registries
  • Industrial, pharmaceutical and commercial companies
  • Publicly funded research councils
  • Educational bodies
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)

Jobs are advertised by careers services and specialist recruitment agencies, online, in newspapers and journals including The Financial Times , New Scientist , Health Service Journal and in professional publications such as Royal Statistical Society News , as well as in their online equivalents.

Qualifications and training required

To become a statistician you will normally need a degree. The only way for somebody without a degree to enter the field is to undertake significant experience in statistics and to complete a qualification from the Royal Statistical Society (RSS). This is normally a higher certificate and will take up to two years.

For graduates, a degree in a numerate discipline such as statistics, economics or mathematics is normally required. A relevant postgraduate qualification is essential for graduates without appropriate first degrees, and for research and medical statistics posts. Prior relevant work experience, while beneficial, is not usually required.

In order to become a graduate statistician with the Royal Statistical Society, you must take a degree course which is accredited by them. After becoming a graduate statistician you can undergo professional training and achieve the full professional status of chartered statistician.

Key skills for statisticians

  • Good IT skills
  • Numerical skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Self-confidence
  • Good interpersonal skills

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