Market research analyst
Social Sciences

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

A market research analyst works either for a company in commercial, government and voluntary sectors, or can work on a freelance or consultancy basis. They gather together data from diverse sources and analyse this to produce results, which are then presented back to the client. They may also be asked to make recommendations based on the findings.

They 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.

Work Activities

  • Design questionnaires and advising on methodology of collection of data
  • Collect data and assimilate statistics, using statistical software
  • Monitor progress data collection
  • Collate information and interpret data for clients.
  • Make recommendations based on the data collected.
  • Present findings to clients in an understandable way
  • Manage a team of data collectors and data input
  • Negotiate and agree contracts for research projects
  • Manage focus groups, carry out interviews and conduct surveys.
  • Manage budgets.
  • The work is deadline driven and so may be stressful.
  • Salaries if you are working for a company are usually enhanced with bonuses, and could include benefits such as life insurance, gym membership
  • Hours vary depending on whether you are working in quantitative or qualitative research. Quantitative tend to be office hours such as 9-5, though you may be asked to work longer in order to meet a deadline. However, if you are working in qualitative research you may have to work at unsocial hours in order to make contact with your survey respondents.
  • The work is office based though you may have to meet clients elsewhere in the UK or abroad.
  • Promotion is to senior analyst, accounts director, research executive or into management
  • Also called data analysts. Graduate vacancies may be advertised as research assistants or as graduate trainees.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for market research analysts

  • Able to cope with fast paced work and under pressure
  • Accuracy
  • A curious mind and the ability to pay attention to detail
  • A strong analytical mind.
  • Have the ability to notice patterns within statistics
  • Have an interest in psychology and behaviour
  • Good organisational skills
  • Confident presentation skills to show findings to clients.
  • Be business aware
  • Methodical and pay attention to detail
  • Training in statistics or the willingness to learn
  • Excellent communication skills both spoken and written.
  • 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.

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of market research analysts

  • Most opportunities are in the South east though there are opportunities in other parts of the UK. You could also work abroad
  • Market research companies, consultancies, can be commissioned by government, businesses e.g. advertising companies and charities.
  • The government is a large employer of market research analysts
  • Can be self-employed or on a contract basis but only after spending time within the industry.
  • 25% of the workforce are employed part time
  • You can find vacancies in specialist publications, on line jobsites, Ipsos Mori website and local newspapers.
  • Recruitment agencies commonly handle vacancies.


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 qualitative posts degrees are often in social science or humanities. However, sometimes a degree subject is not specified. There is information on accredited degrees from the Royal Statistical Society. Having a postgraduate qualification could be an advantage. It is possible to work up from a market researcher post and it is possible to enter the profession through an apprenticeship.

Most training is in house. Though you can take accredited qualifications through the Market Research Society.

There is an ongoing commitment to continuous professional development.

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