Market and survey researchers gather information about what people think. Market , or marketing, research analysts help companies understand what types of products people want and at what price. They also help companies market their products to the people most likely to buy them. Gathering statistical data on competitors and examining prices, sales, and methods of marketing and distribution, they analyze data on past sales to predict future sales.
Hours: Market and survey researchers generally have structured work schedules. They often work alone, writing reports, preparing statistical charts, and using computers, but they also may be an integral part of a research team. Market researchers who conduct personal interviews have frequent contact with the public. Most work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, which may require overtime. Travel may be necessary.
Opportunities: market research analysts are employed throughout the economy. The industries that employ the largest number of market research analysts were management of companies and enterprises; management, scientific, and technical consulting services; insurance carriers; computer systems design and related services; and other professional, scientific, and technical services—which includes marketing research and public opinion polling.
Pay: Median annual earnings of market research analysts in May 2006 were $58,820. The middle 50% earned between $42,190 and $84,070. The lowest 10% earned less than $32,250, and the highest 10% earned more than $112,510.
Training: A bachelor's degree is usually sufficient for entry-level market and survey research positions. Higher degrees may be required for some positions, however. Continuing education and keeping current with the latest methods of developing, conducting, and analyzing surveys and other data also is important for advancement.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Market and Survey Researchers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos013.htm (visited July 28, 2009 ).
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