What it takes to be a market research analyst—and which industries need them the most

Santa Clara University compiled a list of the 10 industries with the most market research analysts using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

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Companies don't create products or services at random. Before they invest large amounts of money into something new, they want to have some reassurance that it will be successful. To understand all of the factors at play—the current competition, what customers want, how much they're willing to pay, etc.—companies leverage the skills of market research analysts.

Market research analysts find, gather, and analyze data to help companies monitor, measure, and forecast sales, marketing effectiveness, consumer trends, competitors, and market conditions, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The work of a market research analyst helps a number of departments within a company, including advertising and marketing, product development, and sales.

For that reason, Santa Clara University compiled a list of the 10 industries with the most market research analysts using data from the BLS' Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program. Because of how the BLS categorizes market research analysts, the data also includes workers classified as marketing specialists.

Market research analysts have to be adept in data gathering methods such as interview techniques, surveying methods, focus groups, polls, and keeping up to date on news and studies. Many of these techniques require good communication skills and attention to detail, as analysts work with many different types of people and manage a lot of data. Market research analysts need to have good math, analytical, and software skills in order to analyze data using statistical software—but they also must think critically in order to understand the big picture and how to implement a strategy. Finally, they need to be able to illustrate their findings in a visually compelling way so their audience can understand what the data is saying.

Companies usually require market research analysts to have at least a bachelor's degree in business, market research, communications, or social sciences. These degrees involve studying statistics, research methods, and other courses that are essential to this career. A graduate degree—especially an MBA—can help analysts move up the leadership ladder.

Per the BLS, market research analysts earn the most in the state of Washington with an annual average salary of $93,210. The national average salary for market research analysts sits at $76,080. While market research analysts can find work in any state, Washington D.C. and Colorado have the highest concentration of market research analysts in the country, with 9.20 and 8.85 analysts per 1,000 jobs.

Read on to see in which industries market research analysts are needed most.

#10. Educational services

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 20,100
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 2.8%
- Average annual salary: $63,890

#9. Retail trade

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 29,040
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 4.0%
- Average annual salary: $57,540

#8. Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 33,480
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 4.6%
- Average annual salary: $70,400

#7. Health care and social assistance

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 36,450
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 5.0%
- Average annual salary: $62,690

#6. Manufacturing

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 43,770
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 6.0%
- Average annual salary: $79,750

#5. Wholesale trade

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 57,210
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 7.9%
- Average annual salary: $74,850

#4. Management of companies and enterprises

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 63,840
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 8.8%
- Average annual salary: $89,230

#3. Finance and insurance

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 69,840
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 9.6%
- Average annual salary: $81,220

#2. Information including publishing, telecommunications, and media

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 75,730
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 10.4%
- Average annual salary: $92,660

#1. Professional, scientific, and technical services

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- Number of market research analysts employed by industry: 203,620
- Portion of overall market analyst jobs in this industry: 28.0%
- Average annual salary: $77,130

This story originally appeared on Santa Clara University and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.


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