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Research Analyst

The job of conducting research and analysis

Osman Ahmed

Osman started his career as an investment banking analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners where he spent just over two years before moving into a growth equity investing role at  Scale Venture Partners , focused on technology. He's currently a VP at KCK Group, the private equity arm of a middle eastern family office. Osman has a generalist industry focus on lower middle market growth equity and buyout transactions.

Osman holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration with concentrations in Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Patrick Curtis

Prior to becoming our CEO & Founder at Wall Street Oasis, Patrick spent three years as a Private Equity  Associate for Tailwind Capital  in New York and two years as an Investment Banking Analyst at Rothschild.

Patrick has an  MBA  in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School and a BA in Economics from Williams College.

What is a Research Analyst?

What does a research analyst do, types of research analysts, what skills/personality do you need, financial analyst vs. research analyst .

Research analysts develop investigative reports on other securities and assets for their companies or clients. They can also be known as securities, equity, investment, or rating analysts. They are responsible for researching, analyzing, and interpreting market data. They also use data from operations, finance and accounting, economics , and customers. However, the analyst typically only deals with quantitative data.

There are primarily two types of equity analysts:

  • Buy-side analysts
  • Sell-side analysts

Both analysts have the same quantitative and analytical characteristics, but their responsibilities and day-to-day duties can differ slightly. 

To become a rating analyst, you need to earn a bachelor's degree in finance, marketing, statistics, business, or something related. Once you obtain a bachelors, you will usually move to an entry-level position for a consulting firm or an internal analyst group.

Someone who wants to be an equity analyst is going to need experience. Most people who want to reach that point will complete at least one internship while getting their bachelor's degree. Most of the internships given are met during their junior year of college.

There are many different analysts: research, financial, investment banking, and risk analysts. All of these positions are different and fulfill specific roles in their firms. For example, an investment banking analyst may work on M&A deals for their firm. 

Research analysts can make a wide range of different salaries based on their experience level. Also, in 2014, the ten-year job outlook was thirty percent. As a result, these analysts are typically one of the first entry-level positions filled at firms. 

The job demand for securities analysts is skyrocketing across the country. The level of growth is considerably higher than most other occupations across the U.S.

Key Takeaways

  • Research analysts, also known as securities, equity, investment, or rating analysts, are responsible for researching, analyzing, and interpreting market data. They primarily deal with quantitative data from various sources.
  • There are two main types of equity analysts - buy-side and sell-side analysts. They share quantitative and analytical skills but have different responsibilities and daily tasks.
  • To become a research analyst, a bachelor's degree in fields like finance, statistics, or business is typically required. Experience, often gained through internships, is valuable for aspiring equity analysts. Some may choose to pursue a master's degree for career advancement.
  • Research analysts need both technical and soft skills. Technical skills include research methods, statistics, database administration, and A/B testing. Soft skills like communication, client focus, logical reasoning, critical thinking, and attention to detail are also essential.
  • Salaries for research analysts can vary but generally range from $50,000 to $90,000, with higher pay for mid to senior-level positions. The job demand for research analysts is high, with a projected 19% growth between 2021 and 2031, driven by the increasing reliance on data in various industries, particularly in technology and finance.

These analysts are responsible for researching, analyzing, and interpreting market data. They also use data from operations, finance and accounting, economics, and customers. As a result, most analysts have quantitative characteristics and analytical personalities. 

These roles can be considered data crunching; the analyst gathers and analyzes working data to make their companies or customers save more money or become more efficient and profitable. Their job is to take in data and make it readable and understandable. 

Data is the bottom line factor in the role of these analysts. In 2019, the world created 41 zettabytes of data. The world could reach 175 zettabytes of data by 2025. 

Data research, analysis, and reporting are the foundation of companies now. For example, some of the highest-valued companies in the world are run off of data, such as Microsoft and google.

Analysts can evaluate and understand the data through statistical methods and software. Once they collect their data, they can analyze it through mathematical, statistical, and analytical models to find patterns and trends that may lead them to business opportunities. 

After they have analyzed the data and understand what it is telling them, they will combine all of the information into a report to make it understandable for management. This way, analysts can communicate with them to make future business decisions.

In most cases, the research analyst is an entry-level position; thus, they work as part of a team and differ from those presenting the information. So, when they are in meetings and conference calls, they do not say much, but the information they create does. 

There are primarily two types, there are buy-side and sell-side analysts, and their responsibilities slightly differ. The buy-side analyst usually works for a brokerage firm, and the sell-side research analyst usually works for an investment firm. 

When asset management (buy-side) hires rating analysts, they help the company make better business decisions by researching, analyzing, and communicating data to management. This data pertains typically to specific security they may invest in. 

Buy-side  securities analysts  usually work for large institutional investment firms such as hedge funds, mutual funds , or pension funds. Buy-side analysts are considered more professional, academic, and reputable when compared with sell-side research analysts. 

Being a buy-side analyst is all about being right and occasionally avoiding negatives. They also cover one sector, such as the industrial or technology sector. For sell-side analysts, it is common for funds to have multiple analysts for one industry. 

A sell-side analyst's job is to follow a few companies, most within the same sector. These analysts will provide reports on the companies, offer models that project the firm's financial results, and speak with customers or competitors. 

The sell-side analyst's job is to provide research and reports on companies, financial estimates, and price targets. Many analysts will combine their estimates and price targets into one, calling it a consensus estimate. Sell-side analysts provide their reports to investment institutions. 

The analysts will report their research results and what they can conclude. Most of the results they will find are in large clumps of data that most people cannot read. When transitioning it into a presentation, they will add a buy, sell, or hold recommendation. 

Buy-side and sell-side do a lot of the same work; however, the sell-side will sell the research and reports made. That said, the sell side could see a decrease in demand since the buy and sell sides do the same work. 

Research Analyst Qualifications

Most analysts will need a minimum of a bachelor's degree even to be considered for a job. Most employers like their analysts to have a bachelor's degree in statistics, mathematics, or a related discipline. Most entry-level positions do not require a master's degree.

Here is a list of acceptable degrees:

  • Mathematics 
  • Statistics 
  • Business administration 
  • Data Analytics

Most entry-level analyst positions do not need much experience, but some mid to senior-level positions may require a minimum of two to four years of experience. In addition, many students complete internships throughout college, which helps them land their first job. 

Once they have completed their bachelor's and worked for a few years to gain experience, they may consider returning to school to complete a master's degree in statistics or mathematics. This will help an analyst get better positions within their companies. 

Other degrees that show future employers that you understand the field are data science, data analytics, and computer science. Many analysts work with computers for most of their days, so understanding how computers work, and applications work may be helpful.

There are a few reasons employers are okay with if an analyst does not have prior experience. First, employers can teach the analyst how they want their jobs completed. Also, although analysts may not have much experience, they still might have valuable skills.

There are primarily two groups of skills you need to become a securities analyst. Technical skills are those that can be required for a specific job. Soft skills are those that travel from job to job. 

For physicians, a few technical skills would be prescribing medication correctly or diagnosing conditions. However, a car mechanic would not need these. Instead, both professions could use soft skills like communication and leadership.

These are the technical skills needed to become a research analyst, and you should consider gaining a few before applying for internships and jobs. These skills are:

  • Research methods
  • Statistics, statistical modeling
  • Database Administration
  • Knowledge of A/B testing

A/B testing is a way of comparing two different methods to figure out which one performs better. For example, an analyst may consider A/B testing two other securities to determine which may perform better over time. 

Some soft skills needed to become an equity analyst are:

  • Communication skills
  • General computer skills
  • Customer or client focus

These skills are required for an entry-level position. Although surprising, client focus is a superior skill that impacts the success of analyst jobs.

For instance, analysts will need to use their communication and client-focus skills to win a client over or express their opinion on a certain asset. In addition, the analyst must be able to communicate the information they find in their research to clients and managers. 

The analyst will need more skills that can also be considered logical reasoning, critical thinking, attention to detail, presentation, and organizational skills. These skills are must-haves if one wishes to become an equity analyst.

For example, an analyst will work with lots of data from different places. If they cannot organize the data into something readable and clean, they will not be able to conclude anything from the information.

There are many skills and moving parts as an analyst; this is why the field can be so competitive. 

There are many slight differences between a financial analyst and a securities analyst. Still, the main difference is that research analysts cover a much broader use of research, examination, and interpretation. The data collection can be considered more of an investigative act. 

Financial analysts will likely give trading or investing advice from the data they collect, examine, and report to their managers. A crucial role of financial analysts is to analyze investment portfolio performance and look for new flaws or opportunities. 

These analysts rely on fundamental analysis to determine a company's value; they will analyze its:

  • Profitability

current outstanding debt.

This detailed analysis can be used to find an investment opportunity for their firm. 

Securities analysts can be considered more data crunchers. They will spot:

  • Market trends
  • Abnormalities
  • Flaws to find investment opportunities

As a result, their outlook can be broader than financial analysts. Although, some research positions are closely related to financial analysis. These are investment research analysts, they can be considered higher securities analysts, and they make more than the average securities analyst. 

The two jobs regarding education are similar. Although both analysts need a good background in finance and economics, financial analysts certainly need it more than securities analysts. Both also need a good education in mathematics. 

Regarding pay, financial and equity analysts have little difference in their salaries; the average for both careers is about $80,000. Senior-level positions are usually paid more. However, entry-level positions for both jobs are between $50,000 and $70,000. 

Generally, there are a few main differences between financial and equity analysts. A financial analyst inspects financial data and helps companies make decisions. An equity analyst will gather and interpret data and make future financial projections. 

Salary, Job Demand, and Job Outlook

Salaries for equity analysts can be pretty stout; for an entry-level position straight out of college, analysts can expect to make $50,000 to $70,000 a year. Although that does not sound like a great paycheck, remember you have little to no experience, and it takes time. 

Mid to senior-level analysts can expect to make salaries between $65,000 and $90,000 yearly. However, salaries also depend on the companies you work for and your location. For example, an equity analyst for JP Morgan will likely make more than an analyst at a local college.

Most places need these analysts: they provide crucial information for corporations, hospitals, colleges, universities, and, most importantly, large financial institutions. This is important for college students who desire to be equity analysts in the economic field. 

Research analysts understand how to collect, interpret, and report data, including unstructured and big data. This is extremely important for companies as more and more companies rely on technology, making the demand for security analysts very high. 

The job outlook for these analysts is outstanding: These positions are expected to grow by 19% between 2021 and 2031. This growth rate is much higher than most of their occupations. Technology and finance companies are relying on equity analysts more and more.

Analysts are needed in large financial institutions, small businesses, local banks, and corporations. Moreover, they are highly beneficial to those that use them.

Research analysts are people who research, develop data, investigate the data, and report it to their managers. The data they are looking for can be anything from news, financials, or press releases of companies or markets. These analysts work for large financial institutions. 

Some of the responsibilities of analysts are to be data crunchers. The analyst will research, analyze, and interpret data from markets. Analysts have many quantitative and analytical characteristics that make them suitable for the job. 

Data is the foundation of many companies. The analyst brings it to one place, analyzes it, and reports it to their managers clearly and concisely. They play a vital role in the success of financial institutions and many other businesses by giving projections and advice on equities.

Someone aspiring to become an equity analyst should complete a bachelor's degree in statistics, mathematics, or something related. Then, after a few years, it may be worthwhile to go back and complete their master's. Experience is the biggest motivator for promotions and raises. 

Experience will bring better technical skills, including research skills, statistical reasoning, modeling, and A/B testing. However, soft skills are also necessary, such as excellent written and verbal communication and leadership. 

Lastly, securities analysts can expect to make between $50,000 and $70,000 at an entry-level position and between $65,000 and $90,000 for mid to senior-level positions. The job outlook for securities analysts is also excellent; between 2021 and 2031, the expected job growth is 19%. 

Analysts play a crucial role in many businesses and are especially important to financial institutions. It is also an excellent career for those who like to solve mathematical and statistical problems. 

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Research Analyst Roles and Responsibilities

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A research analyst monitors data on several screens.

Research analysts are known as data crunchers. They’re skilled in gathering, analyzing and working with data to improve efficiency, profitability and savings for companies and organizations in many industries. They’re also effective communicators; they present the data in an understandable format for business decision-makers.

Simply put, data is at the core of research analyst roles and responsibilities.

Why is data so vital today?

A look at some revealing statistics about data usage worldwide can provide some perspective on the growing importance of data:

  • The world created 41 zettabytes of data in 2019, according to a Statista report; 1 ZB is about a trillion gigabytes.
  • Worldwide, the number of bytes, a unit of measure for data, is 40 times higher than that of the stars in the universe, according to the World Economic Forum.
  • Seagate reports that by 2025, the world will have created 175 ZB of data.

These statistics provide a glimpse of how data is embedded into the fabric of modern society. Data is critical to business success, too. The ability to harness its power provides businesses with competitive advantages.

A look at the most valuable brands in the world reveals how data has transformed global commerce. According to Visual Capitalist, the top-four most valuable brands include the following:

  • Amazon, valued at $220 billion
  • Google, valued at $160 billion
  • Apple, valued at $140 billion
  • Microsoft, valued at $117 billion

A common thread among these companies is that data is foundational to their businesses. These companies are the most active and largest hyperscale data center companies in the world, each investing upwards of $1 billion for a single data center campus, according to Data Center Frontier. Hyperscale data centers are massive facilities full of racks, technology and equipment that house the very data that drives the digital transformation of commerce and society.

The digital transformation, also known as digitization, represents unprecedented opportunities for businesses. By acquiring essential insights from data, companies can improve their products and services. They can also change how they operate and interact with customers, contributing to a healthier bottom line. There’s even a catchphrase used to describe the growing influence of data in the business world — “data is the new oil.”

The metaphor speaks to data’s role in transforming society and the global economy. Still, there are clear differences between oil and data. For one, oil is a natural resource requiring extraction, a process that makes up to 57 percent of costs incurred for oil and gas producers, according to Towards Data Science. Extracting data isn’t nearly as costly. However, like oil, data must be refined so that it can add value to businesses. A vital part of research analyst roles and responsibilities, processing data is essential to uncovering its value to businesses.

How do research analysts extract value from data? Expanding on the metaphor, oil refineries process crude oil through an industrial process to make useful products, such as gasoline, plastics and jet fuel. For raw data to be processed, it requires human ingenuity and technology, such as Python, R and SQL programming languages. Part of the research analyst’s toolkit is to use quantitative modeling and data-mining methods and tools to reveal the business value in data.

Ninety-four percent of enterprises consider data and analytics critical for business growth and digital transformation, according to a recent Forbes article. Businesses understand the critical role data plays in ensuring their success, so they invest in people and technology to collect more of it from the Internet, databases, search engines, social networks, mobile phones and smart devices. These trends are creating new career opportunities for individuals interested in using their analytical, technical and business skills and advancing their education to help companies and organizations improve their products, operations and effectiveness.

What Is a Research Analyst?

Research analysts are professionals who work with data in both private and public organizations. Data in and of itself has no intrinsic value until a data analytics professional, such as a research analyst, makes sense of it. They put data to good use for business purposes, such as identifying sales opportunities or market trends.

Research analysts understand the strategic value of different types of data, including unstructured data and big data. Their expertise in collecting, analyzing and translating data into valuable insights offer businesses a competitive advantage in the marketplace. A research analyst’s role is critical to helping organizations reach their business aims, including improved efficiency and operational performance.

What Does a Research Analyst Do?

Research analyst roles and responsibilities include a host of activities to transform raw data into valuable business insights. The following activities are typical for research analyst roles:

  • When research analysts conduct research, they look at historical data from various sources, including internal databases, such as financial, accounting and sales systems. At this point, the data is typically in raw form. Research analysts examine and validate the accuracy of the data to ensure that it produces meaningful information.
  • Analyze data. Upon collecting the data, research analysts use mathematical, statistical and analytical models to find patterns that may reveal business opportunities. For example, the data may uncover a fundamental flaw in how a company interacts with its customers, creating negative experiences. With the data in hand, research analysts help develop potential solutions to improve the ways the company interacts with its customers, opening opportunities for additional sales.
  • Present data. Research analyst roles and responsibilities include compiling information drawn from the data to help managers see the business value. Research analysts prepare communications, such as reports and presentations, to provide insights on what the data reveals to facilitate decision-making.
  • Interpret data. In meetings and during conference calls, research analysts interpret data, demonstrate what they’ve learned and explain its value from a business perspective.

In addition to these activities, research analysts design methods and strategies to capture, store and manage data. They also help implement analytics tools, a driving force behind the growth of the data and business analytics industry. According to IDC, it’s valued at around $189 billion as of 2019 and projected to grow by double-digits through 2022.

This tool selection process typically involves determining which technologies best fit the needs of the business. Popular open-source tools include BIRT, Matomo, OmniSci and Apache Zeppelin. In determining the best tools, research analysts often have to work closely with technology vendors and other stakeholders. Other important elements of the job include ensuring the effective management, protection and governance of data, working together with data security experts.

Research Analyst Skills and Education

Research analyst roles and responsibilities vary across different organizations and sectors, but at a minimum, strong math and statistics skills are required. Through sophisticated data-driven mathematical models, analysts derive useful information to help achieve business goals, from improving performance to cutting costs.

Still, research analysts do more than work with numbers and raw data all day. They also interact with other analysts and share their findings with business decision-makers through presentations, face-to-face meetings and reports.

The following is a sampling of research analysts’ essential competencies and skills:

  • Mathematics and statistics skills  to work with the data and develop models
  • Ability to recognize patterns  to find useful information in the data that’s sometimes unstructured
  • Research, fact-checking and validation skills  to ensure valid data sources and verify accuracy
  • Analytical and critical thinking skills  to find value and understand what’s in the data
  • Communication, presentation and writing skills  to present findings derived from the data
  • Financial skills  to calculate the financial performance of companies, especially in accounting and finance operations
  • Focus and organization  to work on multiple tasks and projects
  • Interpersonal skills  to build relationships with teams from other departments
  • Knowledge of the company’s business  to understand customer behavior and market trends relevant to the company’s industry
  • Technology skills  to work with various research, data analytics, modeling and predictive tools, as well as business productivity software
  • Forecasting  to determine future trends, often presented in charts, infographics and other visual aids
  • Problem-solving  to address the challenges of data collection and analysis, as well as help guide decision-makers toward solutions that resolve issues revealed in the data

Research analysts typically have bachelor’s degrees in a business-related field. However, depending on the industry, a master’s degree may add value to their career prospects, especially if they’re aiming for senior research analyst roles. Because research analysts work across many industries, formal education or experience relevant to the sector they work in may offer additional advantages for advancement. For example, a research analyst working in the oil and gas industry could benefit from knowledge about energy and climate policy.

Research Analyst Careers

The versatility of the role means that there are various types of research analyst careers available. Research analysts can work in technology, marketing, health care, finance, government finance, public policy, management consulting, aviation and other industries.

Job titles for research analysts can vary based on the industries of their employers. For example, research analysts working in an investment bank, a financial institution, a securities firm or an insurance company might be called investment analysts, financial analysts, securities analysts or insurance analysts. In financial organizations, the work of financial analysts involves examining, collecting and interpreting financial information to help make business decisions. Market research analysts and operations research analysts are also popular careers.

Market Research Analyst Career Path

Businesses want to understand who their customers are, what they need and their preferred method of buying. Market research analysts help them get a better picture of their customers through data. Market research analysts work for various types of organizations, examining market conditions and helping determine opportunities to grow sales of products or services.

Competitor researching, price analysis, and investigating sales and marketing processes enable market research analysts to provide critical business information that provides competitive advantages. Market research analysts use their knowledge about customer behavior to explain the benefits and shortcomings of their employers’ products or services. For example, they can present the data that shows what customers are buying and at what price.

This type of information is useful for companies to align their product and service offerings with consumer preferences. Data from market research analysts also helps marketing directors determine appropriate marketing, sales and content strategies.

On a typical day, market research analyst roles and responsibilities include the following:

  • Gathering and analyzing data on market trends and consumer demographics, customer needs, and people’s buying habits to create forecasts and help optimize marketing efforts
  • Using a combination of traditional methods, such as focus groups and questionnaires, statistical techniques, modeling and analytics software
  • Interpreting findings to determine pricing strategies, forecast future trends, and help develop targeted marketing strategies and tactics
  • Assessing the impact and performance of marketing programs and strategies and working with sales and marketing teams to develop solutions
  • Creating tables, graphs, reports and presentations to present their findings to senior managers and clients
  • Collecting and analyzing data on demographics, customer preferences, market needs and consumer buying habits
  • Developing and refining processes for data collection and analysis

Market research analysts are in high demand; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the field to grow by 20 percent between 2018 and 2028. Entry-level candidates typically have a bachelor’s degree in market research, business administration, statistics, math, communications or computer science. A master’s degree may create opportunities to advance to an organization’s highest levels.

Many market research analysts begin as field researchers for market research agencies. Then, they progress to serve in client-facing roles and project management roles. However, career paths in market research aren’t always straightforward, thanks to the many specialized disciplines available: technology, marketing and big data, to name a few.

The BLS reports a median annual salary of $63,790 for market research analysts in 2019. According to U.S. News & World Report , market research analyst is ranked No. 8 in the Best Business Jobs category. The position is also given a high ranking for advancement and salary by professionals in the field.

Operations Research Analyst Career Path

Operations research analysts are problem-solvers. Organizations turn to operations research analysts for critical decisions that can affect the success of their operations. Operations research analysts can help corporations, manufacturing firms, airlines, technology companies, government agencies, and other businesses and organizations. They work with business leaders to tackle problems that lead to reduced operational costs, improved efficiency and increased profitability.

At an airline, for example, an operations research analyst might look into the shipping operation of an airline to help improve logistics. Logistics describes management of the flow of resources, equipment, people and supplies between different facilities or destinations.

At a food and beverage manufacturer, an analyst might investigate whether the materials or processes used in the production of goods indicate patterns of waste. The analyst can identify areas where improvements can generate more products more efficiently and achieve cost-savings for both the company and its customers.

Operations research analysts uncover value from data that can lead to improvements in the productivity of processes, machines and people. Research analysts can also leverage data to help:

  • Improve interactions with consumers to meet growing demands for better and faster service
  • Accelerate manufacturing and distribution to ensure the availability of products
  • Ensure accuracy in operating processes and machines to minimize errors, which can be costly

Thanks to operations research analysts and their skill in applying mathematical models and statistical analysis and the use of sophisticated data analytics tools, organizations can address the pressing challenges created by a global marketplace.

On a typical day, operations research analyst roles and responsibilities include the following:

  • Identifying opportunities to help organizations operate more efficiently and lower costs
  • Developing models to ensure sufficient inventory to meet market demands
  • Using optimization and data mining tools, conducting statistical analysis, and developing mathematical models
  • Advising business leaders on the costs and benefits of taking a course of action
  • Collecting data from various sources, including internally from workers with specialized knowledge or who experience an issue needing a solution
  • Examining data and running simulations to identify patterns that may reveal future trends

The path to becoming an operations research analyst begins with education. Entry-level candidates typically have a bachelor’s degree in business, math or engineering. A master’s degree may create opportunities to advance to the highest levels. Many begin their careers as analysts, then progress to become senior analysts or directors of a team or department.

The BLS reports a median annual salary of $84,810 for operations research analysts in 2019. U.S. News & World Report ranks operations research analyst No. 4 in the Best Business Jobs category, with above average advancement and salary reported by professionals in the field. The demand for operations researchers is expected to increase dramatically, according to the BLS, with 26 percent growth projected between 2018 and 2028.

Embark on a Career in Research Analytics

Employers are looking for knowledgeable research analysts to help solve complex problems and make better business decisions. For individuals seeking roles in operations research or market research, honing their research, analytical, technology and mathematical skills can help garner the attention of these employers. Explore how the online Master of Science in Business Analytics program offered by the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland can prepare you for a successful career as a research analyst.

Recommended Readings

Data Mining in Business: Skills and Competencies Needed to Succeed

6 Data Analyst Skills for the Modern Marketer to Master

Comparing Analytics Careers: Business Analyst vs. Data Analyst

American Marketing Association, “Market Research: The Entry-Level Job You Should Take”

Data Center Frontier, “Reshaping the Global IT Landscape: The Impact of Hyperscale Data Centers”

Forbes , “The Global State Of Enterprise Analytics, 2020”

Houston Chronicle , “Careers as a Research Analyst”

Houston Chronicle , “The Top Skills for a Research Analyst”

Informs, FAQs About O.R. & Analytics

Investopedia, “Financial Analyst vs. Research Analyst: What’s the Difference?”

Investopedia, “Research Analyst”

Medium, “Market Research: the Entry-Level Job You Should Take”

MicroStrategy, Business Analytics: Everything You Need to Know

ONet OnLine, Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

ONet OnLine, Operations Research Analysts

PayScale, Average Research Analyst Salary

Seagate, Data Age 2025

Statista, Volume of Data/Information Created Worldwide From 2010 to 2025

Towards Data Science, “Data Is Not the New Oil”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Market Research Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Operations Research Analysts

U.S. News & World Report , Market Research Analyst

U.S. News & World Report , Operations Research Analyst

Visual Capitalist, “Ranked: The Most Valuable Brands in the World”

World Economic Forum, “How Much Data Is Generated Each Day?”

Get More Information.

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Market research analyst work environment

We surveyed 2,793 market research analysts to better understand the work environment and required skills of a typical market research analyst. Here are the results.

How much intelligence is required as a market research analyst?

Working as a market research analyst typically doesn’t require the use of high levels of intelligence in daily tasks.

Can I learn to become a market research analyst?

Intrinsic talent, acquired talent.

A career as a market research analyst typically depends predominantly on qualities you can gain through experience, with a small aspect of skills you are born with.

Is it easy to get a job as a market research analyst?

It’s typically difficult to find a job as a market research analyst. If you’re curious about the numbers, check out the job market for market research analysts .

Do market research analysts work full-time or part-time?

80% of market research analysts work in full-time roles while 20% work part-time.

Is being a market research analyst stressful?

Stress is not uncommon amongst market research analysts, with daily work sometimes being quite demanding.

Is being organized important as a market research analyst?

Some level of organization is generally required to be a market research analyst.

How competitive is the workplace for market research analysts?

Competition at work is not common for market research analysts.

Does being a market research analyst require frequent time pressure to complete tasks?

Market research analysts will have to sometimes face time pressure on the job.

Are market research analysts allowed to express themselves creatively?

Market research analysts rarely get a chance to express themselves creatively.

Do market research analysts have control over the direction of their work?

Market research analysts tend to have a set and inflexible work schedule that they are unable to deviate from too much.

Is being a market research analyst physically demanding?

Work as a market research analysts is rarely physically demanding, making it a suitable option for those unable to perform physically strenuous tasks.

Are market research analysts exposed to a wide variety of work?

While sometimes repetitive, market research analysts tend to have opportunities for variety in their work.

Does being a market research analyst require attention to detail?

As in many careers, attention to detail is quite helpful for market research analysts.

Does being a good market research analyst require compassion and empathy?

The ability to be compassion and empathetic isn't considered fundamental to success as a market research analyst.

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How to Become a Research Analyst

Market research and statistical data are important tools for companies today. This is because they help businesses make informed decisions. Research analysts are professionals employed to derive actionable data from market research. These experts have become indispensable in many organizations. 

There are many reasons why you should explore how to become a research analyst. For instance, these professionals are paid well above the national average. The demand for professionals offering related services is also expected to increase over the next decade. Read on to find out how you can become a research analyst.

What Is a Research Analyst?

A research analyst is responsible for preparing market reports from data collection and analysis to allow stakeholders to make informed decisions. These reports are compiled from research, analysis, and interpretation of data involving markets, economies, customers, and finance.

The main role of a research analyst is to study previous and existing market conditions to derive actionable insights to be used in formulating strategies for the future. Most of these professionals work in management, finance, insurance, and wholesale trade companies. 

Research Analyst Job Description

A research analyst’s job involves transforming raw data into actionable insights on behalf of a company or organization. They conduct research and examine historical data from various sources. They also validate data to ensure its accuracy. 

Using mathematical and statistical models, these professionals analyze data to find patterns that might reveal business opportunities. After the analytical process, they compile their findings in reports and presentations to facilitate decision-making by stakeholders. Because the job pays well and requires little interaction with clients, we consider the research analyst position to be one of the best non-customer-facing jobs .

Research Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

The job outlook for research analysts is fairly promising. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the job prospects for market research analysts will improve by 22 percent over the next decade as demand for related services increases. This means that you are likely to enjoy many employment opportunities in this role. 

These opportunities also come with respectable salaries. According to BLS, the median salary for market research analysts is $65,810 per year. This figure is high considering the national average salary for all occupations is about $56,310 . 

Top Reasons to Become a Research Analyst in 2021

There are plenty of reasons why you should consider pursuing a career as a research analyst. Apart from increased demand, pursuing a career in this field means you can enjoy reasonably high salaries, better than the national average. Here are more reasons why you should consider a career as a research analyst.  

  • A research career can be rewarding. There is a lot of job satisfaction that comes with using analytics to help businesses take advantage of market opportunities.
  • Research analysis is a diverse field with numerous opportunities. Research is a broad field that cuts across several disciplines including arts, humanities, engineering, and life sciences. This means that you will have many employment opportunities. 
  • This field has many talented workers to help expand your network. These professionals have many opportunities to expand their professional networks and improve their overall career development. 
  • Little experience is required for entry-level positions.  According to a recent survey on Glassdoor, about 48 percent of research analyst jobs require less than a year of job experience . It is possible to complete your training and land a full-time job with little to no work experience. 

Research Analyst Job Requirements

A research analyst’s job requirements vary across different industries and organizations. However, you need strong math and statistical skills to work in related positions. Below are a few standard job requirements for research analysts. 

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related discipline. Most employers prefer hiring candidates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics , Math, or a related discipline. Senior positions may require a master’s degree. 
  • Experience. Most entry-level positions do not require candidates to have experience. However, mid-level or senior positions may require a minimum of two to four years of experience in conducting research. 
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills. The ability to conduct financial analysis and build predictive models is essential. Additionally, critical thinking comes in handy when evaluating and interpreting data from various sources. 
  • Excellent presentation skills. These skills are important because an effective analyst is someone who can present their findings in a way that effectively communicates the message to stakeholders.

Types of Research Analyst Careers

The versatility of this field means that there are several types of research analyst careers. These professionals can work in many sectors, including healthcare, technology, marketing, finance, government, and management, among others. Consider the following research analyst job titles. 

Market Research Analyst

Market research analyst jobs involve studying market conditions to determine potential sales of a product or service. These analysts conduct market research and gather information on past and present market conditions. This data is used to create marketing strategies for the future.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts often work for banks or insurance companies. As an important cog in the investment industry, they draw insights from financial data and send their reports to investment firms. They examine bonds, stocks, securities, and other financial instruments to help businesses make informed decisions about spending money to make a profit. 

The best way to be successful in this finance career is by passing the three-part Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam from the CFA Institute. 

Operations Research Analyst

To become an operations analyst , you need advanced skills in math and statistics. Like market research analysts, operations research analysts gather and interpret data to solve complex issues that arise in business operations. This helps businesses be better prepared for the future. 

Research Analyst Meaning: What Does a Research Analyst Do?

A research analyst is principally responsible for research, data collection, interpretation, and making recommendations based on research findings. Their job duties vary, but it all boils down to processing raw data and generating actionable business insights. Below are a few typical duties of a research analyst. 

Leads Data Research

These professionals must conduct research, which involves evaluating data from various sources. These might include internal databases, historical sources, and consumer reports. They also validate the accuracy of the data to provide meaningful and credible information.

Analyzes Raw Data

Research analysts use statistical and mathematical modeling to derive patterns that may reveal business opportunities. These experts must be able to analyze raw and processed data. 

Presents and Interprets Data 

Presenting data is often done through reports and presentations, which provide insights. The purpose of a typical report is to interpret data and explain it to stakeholders from a business perspective. 

Essential Research Analyst Skills

Research analysts require several hard and soft skills to excel in their jobs. Although these skills might vary with the seniority of the job, these professionals work with numbers and raw data to provide actionable insights. Below are a few essential research analyst skills and competencies. 

Mathematical and Statistical Skills

These skills are important as they help with the bulk of the work. As a research analyst, you need to be able to work with data using several statistical and mathematical models. 

Research, Fact-Checking, and Validation Skills

These skills come in handy when validating data and its sources. If the information lacks accuracy and credibility, the results of the analysis will be meaningless. 

Communication, Presentation, and Writing Skills

Communication skills are essential when presenting and interpreting the findings from data collection and analysis. 

How Long Does It Take to Become a Research Analyst?

It will take you about four to seven years to become a research analyst. Most related positions require candidates to have a bachelor's degree . However, some positions might require more advanced education, such as a master’s degree, which takes two to three years to complete. 

Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Research Analyst?

Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become a research analyst. Many top coding bootcamps offer data analytics programs and other related courses in addition to programming courses. Many professionals who seek an alternative to a university education enroll in a coding bootcamp that offers programs in data analytics.

Such coding bootcamps are worth it , considering the reasonably lower cost of education and time needed to complete these programs. Besides, most of these schools offer career placement services, which help in building job experience.  For such reasons, consider enrolling in one of the best data analytics bootcamps . 

Can I Become a Research Analyst from Home?

Yes, you can study to become a research analyst from home, either by taking the best data analytics courses online, enrolling in an online bootcamp, or finding an online degree program. As long as the program you find is available in your area and well-reviewed, you can learn research analysis a few hours at a time, in between other tasks. 

How to Become a Research Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are several paths to becoming a successful research analyst. The best one is by completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field. Work experience may also be necessary for higher-level positions. In addition, you can earn relevant certifications such as the Certified Research Analyst (CRA) to increase your marketability.

Consider the following steps to become a research analyst. 

Step 1: Earn a Degree in a Relevant Field

You should consider earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Marketing, Math, Statistics, Business Administration, Data Science, or Market Research. Most research analyst positions require candidates to have a degree in one of these fields.

Step 2: Increase Work Experience

Employers prefer hiring professionals with job experience. For this reason, consider internship programs or entry-level research analyst roles to prepare you for mid-level or senior job opportunities.

Step 3: Advance Your Education Through Certifications

Passing certification exams enables you to join an elite group of professionals who have demonstrated excellent research skills. This significantly increases your marketability, meaning you’ll be able to land research analyst positions that offer higher than average market salaries. 

Best Schools and Education for a Research Analyst Career

Several education paths and schools can set you on a path to becoming a research analyst. The best education program for these professionals is a bachelor’s degree. However, there are other options available. We have listed these education paths below. 

Research Analyst Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps offer programming-related courses designed to help you launch your tech career. Many of these schools also offer programs in statistics, data analytics, and other related fields for aspiring research analysts. Such bootcamps include Thinkful , Le Wagon, General Assembly, Ironhack, and Coding Dojo. 

Vocational School

Vocational schools offer training programs designed to equip students with skills to work in a specific trade. Unfortunately, there are few schools offering research analysis programs because this is a technical field typically associated with academic institutions of higher education.  

Community College

A community college is an educational institution that confers associate degrees . An associate degree will enable you to join a four-year program at a university. However, you can also use this degree to pursue entry-level opportunities. Many of the best community colleges in the United States offer data analytics programs. 

Research Analyst Degrees

The best way to become a research analyst is by earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Math, Statistics, or a related field. Employers typically prefer candidates with undergraduate degrees from universities, whether that be a prestigious private university like Harvard or a respected state college like Penn State. 

The Most Important Research Analyst Certifications

Certifications are a great way to pick up new skills while proving your proficiency. Certifications look amazing on a research analyst resume, enabling you to impress your future employer and land jobs with better salaries. Below are important research analyst certifications you should consider. 

Certified Research Analyst (CRA)

This certification is ideal especially for new research analysts looking to launch their careers because it is designed for those with no experience. It covers everything you need to know about market research and the tools used. This certificate costs about $530.

Certified Research Expert (CRE)

This certification includes online training for professionals looking to distinguish themselves as market research specialists. However, you need to have a year's worth of experience before enrolling in this program. It costs about $600.

How to Prepare for Your Research Analyst Job Interview

Technical interviews can be tricky, especially without proper preparation. However, going through interview questions is a great way to get ready for your interview.

Below are some sample questions that you should review when preparing for your research analyst job interview. 

Research Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions

  • How would you begin a newly assigned research project? 
  • There are five people in a given room. Each chooses a random number from one to ten. What is the probability that three or more people have the exact same number?
  • How do you ensure a research analysis project is delivered on time? 
  • Describe the most challenging project that you’ve worked on.

Should I Become a Research Analyst in 2021?

Yes, you should consider a career as a research analyst, especially if you have strong math, statistics, and analytical skills . The job outlook for these professionals is promising, with the job demand set to increase over the next decade. You will have a wide range of employment opportunities and a higher-than-average annual salary to look forward to.

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So what does a research analyst do, exactly?

In a new series, Guardian Careers pulls apart the titles to find out what you’d really be doing if you got the job. First up: the research analyst

  • Looking for a job in research? Browse a range of vacancies on Guardian Jobs

A little job hunting of any type will bring you across the term "research analyst". They appear in all sectors but exactly what they do is a bit of a mystery. Research, obviously. Maybe a bit of analysis. But researching what and analysing it how, remains a mystery. As with all job titles, exactly what you do will depend on the company you join but the likelihood is that whoever you're working for your basic job description will be to gather market intelligence and present it in a way that your customers or colleagues can understand.

Market intelligence is a combination of research and consultancy, helping businesses to make decisions and set priorities. As a research analyst your job is to become an expert in a very specific sector. If you work for a company such as Innocent, you're probably going to be researching the food and beverage market, for example. But a good training is working for a market intelligence company. These are businesses which specialise in collecting information and then selling it to clients. Some market intelligence firms cover a whole range of topics — Datamonitor will sell you reports on everything from pet foods to car fleets — but many are specialised. Gartner and Forrester cover technology. Wood Mackenzie covers energy and metals. But in each firm, the individual research analysts will have their own patch, and customers will come to them for guidance on the marketplace.

What do budding research analysts need on the CV? They almost all work with numbers as much as with words, so Excel skills are important. The ability to write well is a plus, but accuracy and attention to detail is more important than a talent for creating achingly beautiful prose. Unlike journalism, where facts, figures and comments have to be attributable to specific sources, anything the research analyst presents will be their own work and their own take on the market. If it's wrong, it's on your head. This makes for a more cautious outlook on committing words to paper, and a working culture which values precision and nuance as much as productivity.

It's a varied job and whilst there's a lot of desk-time, you also have to be happy discussing your area with anyone and everyone. If you specialise in IT and education, for example, expect to find yourself talking to schools and universities about how they use computers. Then there are email and telephone research campaigns to source more detail, talking to suppliers to understand their view of the market, and pouring through published data from a variety of sources. All this research results in dense reports and complex spreadsheets which capture insights into the market and future opportunities. But not all customers have the time to wade through these. So you'll need to explain it in a format that works for them — at conferences, in private briefings, through comment pieces and articles.

Research analysts may have a background in the industry that they cover, or might join market intelligence firms as a junior analyst or researcher. For those that want more reward and seniority, there will be opportunities in custom consulting projects or in establishing new research practices, but many are content to stay within their sector, building their knowledge and credibility with customers. Once they are recognised as an expert, there is little need for them to polish their CVs — job offers from rival firms are a perk or downside of the job, depending on your view of head-hunters.

If you're detail-orientated and enjoy being an expert on your sector, then a research analyst job might just suit you. It doesn't come with a fancy title and most people won't know what you do but for those that do, you'll be a invaluable part of their business. And for those that don't know, well, maybe they need to do a little research of their own.

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What Is a Market Research Analyst? 2024 Guide

Market research analysts pore over trending keywords, survey responses, social media mentions, and more to understand markets, customers, and competitors. Learn more about this high-demand role.

[Featured image] A market research analyst wearing glasses presents in front of a screen detailing several pie charts.

Market research analysts—sometimes called market researchers—help companies develop or maintain a competitive edge by finding and delivering data-backed insights into potential markets, competitors, and even customer behavior. 

They’re an integral part of a company’s overall marketing strategy and in-demand across multiple industries. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that job growth for market research analysts will increase by 19 percent by 2031 [ 1 ].  

Learn more about this high-growth role. 

What does a market research analyst do? 

Market research analysts pore over trending keywords, survey responses, social media mentions, and other data to find answers. In essence, they transform information into actionable insights that will help companies develop everything from competitive product launches to effective marketing campaigns.   

Each company’s needs differ, but your responsibilities as a market research analyst may include: 

Developing data collection tools and techniques 

Using data modeling tools

Analyzing data sets and communicating findings 

Contributing data-backed insights to marketing strategy 

Conducting product testing and brand research 

What type of research does a market research analyst conduct? 

A market research analyst conducts qualitative and quantitative research. In other words, they gather statistical data and solicit responses about people’s beliefs, opinions, and experiences.  

An analyst’s research can span multiple areas, including: 

Primary and secondary customer research—everything from demographics to opinions—helps a company develop more targeted marketing and align its products and services with customers’ differing needs. Market research analysts may also identify how companies find, acquire, and retain customers while avoiding churn—or customer loss. 

Primary vs. secondary research: What's the difference?

Primary research  is research you conduct yourself, building original tools or techniques to help you collect new information. Secondary research is published research someone else has done, like a government agency or research think tank.

As a company develops new offerings—like products, services, or ideas—market research about competitors, similar products, and potential sales can help successfully position each launch. Market research analysts investigate new and existing markets, learning as much as possible so they can deliver precise suggestions. 

Both new and established companies rely on brand research to strengthen their position in the market. Conducting a competitive analysis to see how a company’s brand fares against competitors, as well as researching customers’ brand awareness and brand perception, helps them remain competitive. Those findings can also yield insights into customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty. 

Understanding how a company’s customers feel about advertising at all phases of a marketing campaign can produce specific messaging and in turn more impactful campaigns. While this type of research more typically falls under a marketing analyst role, market research analysts at smaller companies may sometimes be called to analyze a company’s marketing strategy.   

Market research analyst job description

Market research analyst jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree and two or three years of experience. More senior-level market research analyst jobs may require a master’s degree.

Majors that can prepare you for a job as a market research analyst: 

Business administration 

Sociology  

Market research analyst technical skills

Data collection tools: Market research analysts gather data from an array of sources, including surveys, social media platforms, keyword trends, and audience insights. Market research analysts use Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Google Trends, and SEMrush, among many other tools, to learn more about customers, markets, and competitors.

Statistical analysis: Because market research involves working with quantitative data, it’s important to understand how to apply statistical techniques to group your data into relevant and actionable findings. While there are many programs, like the data visualization tools below, that offer a statistical analysis feature, it shouldn’t replace a more foundational knowledge.  

Data visualization: Once a market research analyst has collected relevant data, they need to structure their findings in a comprehensible way. Knowing how to use data dashboards or data analytics suites can help convey important findings to other teams. Market research analysts use data visualization tools like Tableau, Qlikview, and Plotly.  

Programming languages : Although not always necessary, some companies do require market research analysts to know a programming language , such as R, SQL, SAS, or SPSS, which feeds into their data gathering and data interpretation efforts. Make sure to read over job descriptions to learn which language, if any, a company prefers. 

A course, like IBM’s Introduction to R Language , offered on Coursera, can help you learn more about one of the most popular programming languages being used today for data analysis. 

Market research workplace skills 

Interpretation: Parsing data is a critical part of a market research analyst’s role. After gathering the necessary data, you have to interpret those findings in light of a company’s product and marketing needs.  

Critical thinking: Conducting market research means knowing how to ask the right questions in order to find the best data, extracting meaning from collected data, and then applying those insights to a company’s marketing strategy.    

Communication: Translating insights into recommendations that other teams can act upon will help in a marketing research analyst's line of work. A strong ability to speak and write clearly and constructively is an asset. 

Interviewing: Many market research analysts rely on digital surveys to glean customer responses, but the role can also involve conducting customer interviews or focus groups. Being comfortable speaking with strangers and getting them to open up about their experiences is a key skill.  

What are the benefits of being a market research analyst? 

Job prospects.

As companies continue to need insight into customer behavior to keep their competitive edge, market research analysts will continue to serve an integral role. There were over 792,000 market research analyst jobs available in 2021, with over 150,000 expected to be added by 2031—a much higher rate of growth compared to other jobs [ 1 ].

Market research analyst salary

The median salary for a market research analyst in the US is $63,920, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), though salary can differ depending on the industry [ 2 ].

Market research analyst vs. similar roles

Market research analysts share much in common with roles that also parse data and deliver strategic insights. 

Marketing analyst

Although market research analysts are sometimes confused—and even called— marketing analysts , the two roles differ slightly. Marketing analysts focus internally on a company’s marketing efforts, rather than externally on markets, but both roles use data to inform their recommendations. 

Business analyst

Another role that relies heavily on data, a business analyst analyzes large data sets in order to make recommendations that will strengthen a business’ processes and help it run more efficiently. 

Data analyst

A much broader role than the three previously described, a data analyst typically works with large, raw data sets that must first be cleaned in order to yield important insights. Data analysts apply their findings to an array of organizational and business needs.  

How to become a market research analyst 

1. look for a related entry-level role..

While there are some entry-level market research analyst roles, most employers tend to prefer at least two years of experience. If you’re interested in becoming a market research analyst, consider a related role to help you gain experience and grow more competitive. Working as a marketing assistant or data analyst can provide you with the experience necessary to move into market research analysis.  

2. Brush up on related technical skills.

Knowing that market research analysts use specific tools to gather and assess data about customers, markets, and competitors, it’s a good idea to research the most popular programs and refine your knowledge of them. Watch tutorials, use free trials, and familiarize yourself with the tools of the trade.

Develop your technical skills with one of these Guided Projects, designed to be completed in two hours or less:

Use SurveyMonkey to Create a Survey and Analyze Results  

Introduction to Relational Database and SQL

Create a Brand Awareness Survey in Qualtrics

Google Trends Analysis using R

3. Take a course. 

Taking courses that expose you to key strategies of market research can help introduce you to the work of a market research analyst. This Market Research Specialization from UC Davis , available on Coursera, might be a good place to start. Not only will you learn about what it takes to do market research and decide if it’s a good career option for you, but you’ll begin learning the necessary techniques to succeed in the field. Or consider deepening your knowledge with a skill-specific series of classes, like Data Visualization with Tableau Specialization .

A credential, like the Meta Marketing Analytics Professional Certificate , is designed for beginners with no prior market research experience. Get up to speed on the key tools and techniques used in the profession while learning from industry experts at Meta.

Article sources

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. " Occupational Outlook Handbook: Market Research Analyst , https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm." Accessed November 30, 2022.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. " Occupational Outlook Handbook: Market Research Analyst, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm#tab-5." Accessed November 30, 2022.

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Research Analyst Career Path: Roles, Salaries & Progression

From a broad perspective, the role of research analyst can be used to describe any individual who collects and interprets data, and presents their findings in a clear way to help guide any decisions that need to be made by an organization.

In the finance sector, research analysts are usually involved in creating market reports on assets, securities or other investment opportunities for use either internally, such as by an investment bank, or to provide to external clients. 

A range of titles are used such as investment analyst or perhaps more commonly equity research analyst, depending on the specific company and area of finance they work in. However most analysts are responsible for similar scopes of work, which is to gather data, analyze and present information that forms a foundation for their firm’s strategy and decision making.

Becoming a research analyst will provide professionals with a great deal of career flexibility. As these positions are also in high demand, recruiters are always looking for individuals who possess the talent and drive to ascend to the next level. 

Are you considering a research analyst career path? Here’s everything you need to know to decide if it is right for you.

data analysis stock market

Buy-side versus sell-side analysts

When talking about research analysts, an important distinction needs to be made. Those who take on the role of a research analyst will normally be provided with two possible career paths:

  • Sell-side analysts
  • Buy-side analysts

What are the differences between these two terms? 

Sell-side analysts are primarily concerned with industry-specific stocks and assets, and conduct their research in order to provide targeted investment advice. They can work in tandem with institutional investors, traders and wealth management specialists. This communication takes place via research reports and ratings in regard to the asset(s) in question.

Buy-side analysts are more directly involved with the investments themselves. Often working on the behalf of a company, their main goal is to provide opportunities for capital growth that is in accordance with the aims (and the portfolio) of the firm itself. This research is generally not offered to the public. Opportunities often involve asset classes such as mutual funds, private equity schemes and pensions.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the market for sell-side analysts has slightly dried up in recent years. This is primarily due to an increase in the number of regulations that have been put in place, such as MiFID II. While there are still opportunities available, a growing number of candidates tend to be more focused upon buy-side positions.

computer work settings

What does a research analyst do?

Although the exact responsibilities of a research analyst will vary depending upon the position and the company, some of the core duties are likely to include:

  • Keeping up to date with the latest news and data.
  • Performing quantitative and qualitative analyses in relation to this data, mainly building earnings models and valuations.
  • Monitor market conditions and anticipate the potential short and long term impact it has on an asset under coverage.
  • Communicating and presenting investment ideas with others such as managers, co-workers, and clients.

As an entry level associate or junior analyst, you’ll most likely report to a senior analyst and a typical day will be structured according to priorities set by managers. Hours can sometimes be long, with 12 hour days not unusual, or longer at busy periods such as financial results announcement season.

investment tracking portfolio data statistic

Why become a research analyst?

Those who progress through the ranks as an analyst can enjoy decent salaries, challenging, analytical work where everyday is different. While hours can sometimes be long, particularly for entry level roles, a career as an analyst can be financially rewarding.

In addition to a good compensation, another advantage associated with this career is the sheer level of expertise that an analyst is required to possess. Highly desirable by firms that hope to embrace a competitive edge, this enables experienced analysts to diversify into other similar fields as potential future exit opportunities.

Despite experienced research analysts having a significant amount of knowledge, this field is reasonably easy to get into, at an entry level at least, in comparison to some other financial careers . Therefore it can be a good option for those who are keen to get their career underway right out of university or college and who possess a degree in the right subject.

While the job can be demanding, for those who enjoy using their analytical and numerical skills to identify the best solutions, it can also be extremely satisfying and intellectually stimulating. Analysts can work and specialize in a variety of different industries and asset types and, which makes this career path quite dynamic.

Personality traits which will normally be associated with a good research associate or analyst candidate include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Strong communication skills
  • Logical reasoning
  • An attention to detail
  • A talent for maths and numbers in general

target goal career stepping stone

Research analyst hierarchy and progressing within the role

Assuming that you have decided to explore the role of a research analyst, how will your career progress in accordance with your experience? 

Unlike roles in investment banking which progression times are more ‘standard’, the exact time required to advance between stages in a research analyst career path is rather fluid. In other words, some individuals will ascend faster than others. That said, here are the typical 4 stage progression structure in a research role:

Research associate

Most associates will be accepted into an entry-level position after having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or a similar field. These individuals will be directly supervised by a senior or VP analyst; enabling them to further hone their skills while gaining real-world experience. It is not uncommon for new entrants to be shifted between different senior analysts during the first few months.

Once one has gained enough experience, he or she will be granted the title of “Analyst” as opposed to “Associate”. While this might seem like a minor change, analysts can hold a number of additional titles such as vice president of analytics. Additionally, there can be different levels of analysts in research analytics, meaning not everyone who is an analyst is operating at the same level within the hierarchy. 

Analysts will therefore oversee their junior associates while also communicating with their seniors. While they still perform a fair amount of basic tasks, the added responsibility will provide room to further improve existing skill sets.

Senior VP analyst

Senior analysts are heavily involved in the final interpretation of data before it is presented to stakeholders (such as institutional investors or company management). Thus, they represent the “face” of an organization more than an associate or a mid-level analyst. Some additional duties involve taking ownership of the covered sector coverage, build relationships with investor relations teams of covered companies, communicating with clients, and making well-informed recommendations. Due to the technical nature of this position, many senior analysts will seek to obtain a master’s degree.

Research director

This final stage generally represents the top of the food chain within the career of a research analyst. Directors are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a firm. The duties can vary in accordance with the exact position, but some core roles include:

  • Approving the onboarding of new employees.
  • Monitoring team performance.
  • Meeting with high-level clients and travelling when required.
  • Defining the overall mission statement of an organization.
  • Determining which asset classes/opportunities are in alignment with short- and long-term goals.

Due to the sheer number of responsibilities associated with a research director, up to 7 years of prior managerial experience may be required.

money salaries compensation pay

Research analyst salary

How much can you expect to earn as a research analyst? This will once again be based on experience and the exact role. Let’s compare typical average salaries of those working in financial centres in the UK and the US.

Expected research analyst salaries in London

Expected research analyst salaries in new york.

As this illustrates, research analysts in the US could generally expect to receive higher pay than those in the UK (and indeed the rest of Europe). It’s important to point out that salaries can range quite significantly between firms and location, with larger banks usually paying higher than smaller ones.

rocket start begin

How to become a research analyst

Most research analysts will require a formal university degree in subjects such as economics, business, finance, or accounting in order to join as an entry level associate. That said, obtaining a summer internship whilst still studying can certainly improve your odds to secure a full time role before graduating. 

From there, it’s a matter of performing well, gaining experience and keeping an eye out for opportunities. Research teams can often be smaller than in other financial roles like investment banking , which means opportunities to progress can be more limited. It may therefore be necessary to move between firms to rise up the ranks more quickly.

Those who wish to switch their careers from a different financial role , such as investment banking into equity research could do so given the high transferable skills. However, it may be still necessary to begin at an entry-level position. The primary difference is that those with prior experience will tend to ascend faster through the hierarchy.

What types of skills do recruiters look for when headhunting potential research analysts? While technical knowledge is certainly important, a handful of traits are just as critical, including:

  • A familiarity with financial analysis software and the ability to learn new programs.
  • An understanding of human behaviour and behavioural finance (important when identifying specific trends).
  • Superior levels of reading, writing, communication and data analysis.
  • The ability to maintain focus within individual and group settings.

Above all, analysts should always possess the ability to embrace new skills; the learning curve within this career never truly ends.

graduate graduation ceremony

What qualifications are useful as a research analyst?

The competitive nature of this field dictates that candidates who possess prior qualifications tend to be hired quicker than those with little knowledge other than a university degree. Thankfully, a number of the best finance certifications are available to those either already working as a research analyst, or hoping to do so, and each of these offers its own unique advantages.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Those who hold a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) distinction will already possess an advantage over their competitors. As perhaps the gold standard of financial qualifications, a CFA charter demonstrates real-world skills and knowledge that are highly relevant to anyone wanting to begin or already following a research analyst career path. There are nearly 170,000 CFA charterholders worldwide ( some of these being research analysts ) and this number is expected to grow into the future.

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)

A Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) certification is another useful “string to the bow” for research analysts. As a growing number of investors and organizations are interested in diversification and seeking higher returns, those who possess a working knowledge of alternative investment opportunities are now in high demand. More than 70,000 professionals are certified as CAIA charterholders and while narrower in scope when compared to the CFA, it is becoming extremely popular amongst a range of finance professionals.

Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) certifications

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns are becoming increasingly important topics in this day and age. This is particularly relevant when discussing buy-side analysts due to the amount of transparency that is now required. Those holding an ESG certification will be able to appreciate the environmental impacts of their recommendations while also being capable of assessing any potential risks that may be present.

As investment groups become even more concerned with potential compliance issues, ESG analysts are now more relevant than ever before, and qualifications like the CFA Institute’s Certificate in ESG Investing (and a whole range of ESG qualification options ) are designed to equip finance professionals with the skills to navigate this fast growing sector.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA (Master of Business Administration) certification is another possible option for those involved in the research analysis sector. This is generally something undertaken by those wanting to move into a senior analyst or director role, as they will be required to oversee the day-to-day operations of an organization as well as its subordinates.

An MBA is also an excellent way to increase one’s existing salary; some studies finding that annual pay rate may rise by up to 50%. Whether an MBA versus a CFA or other financially focused qualification is the best choice largely depends on the individual and the way in which they’re aiming to progress their career.

career goal target climbing ladder

Research analyst career outlook

Aside from strong data analysis skills, candidates will also need to possess a working knowledge of common financial software packages to handle bigger datasets. Some other notable observations include:

  • The ability to adapt to a hybrid work environment.
  • A greater focus upon ethical and sustainable investment opportunities.
  • Critical thinking is expected to gain more weight within the field.

However, it is prudent to highlight that the demand for sell side equity research analysts has somewhat dampened in recent years. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that employment of research analysts (both buy and sell side) is expected to grow 6% on average from 2020-2030 , about as fast as the average for all occupations. This may be the result of increased regulations and leaner business models associated with lower commissions.

Although there are still opportunities, some are not as attractive as they once were. This brings us to the next point.

going home exit quit leave

Research analyst exit options and opportunities

The good news is that those who have recently entered into the field of research analytics always have the opportunity to gain experience and to progress to higher professional levels. This is particularly the case for anyone who is a CFA charterholder or a similar certification.

What about potential exit opportunities? Assuming that you wish to change financial careers , numerous options may be available. For instance, the technical nature of this position may provide the ability to migrate into investment banking . Some other interesting alternatives include:

  • Portfolio management
  • Hedge funds
  • Corporate finance/development
  • Private equity
  • Wealth management

The exact career path will ultimately depend upon your experience, interest and career goals.

digital nomad working sunset

Is a research analyst a good career choice for you?

Would the role of a research analyst fulfil your professional goals? Not only is this position quite varied, good salary and work life balance (compared to investment banking), but it is unique in the fact that there are a variety of potential exit opportunities in the future.

Still, there are some possible downsides. These include:

  • The demand for sell-side analysts has diminished in recent times.
  • It is not normally possible to obtain an entry-level position without a university degree.

Ultimately, it is wise to balance these observations with all of the other metrics highlighted throughout this article. If you’re interested in a fast-paced, yet sustainable finance career with a strong focus on combining analytical and qualitative work to make an informed decision, it’s likely that research analyst career may be suitable for you.

We hope the guide above shed some light on a research analyst career. Do you think  this career path suits you ? Let us know in the comments below!

Meanwhile, here are related articles which you may find interesting:

  • Finance Career Quiz: Which Finance Career Fits Your Skills & Personality?
  • CFA Careers: What Are Typical Job Opportunities for CFA Charterholders?
  • Why is ESG Important and Which Careers Can Benefit From It?
  • Finance Career Change: Plan Your Finance Career Switch With Our Free Tool
  • Epic Career Path Guides:  Accounting  |  Investment Banking  |  Corporate Finance | Portfolio Management | Financial Planning  | Private Equity | Wealth Management | Risk Management | Hedge Funds | Fintech

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Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts study consumer preferences, business conditions, and other factors to assess potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.

Market research analysts typically do the following:

  • Monitor and forecast marketing and sales trends
  • Measure the effectiveness of marketing programs and strategies
  • Devise and evaluate methods for collecting data, such as surveys, questionnaires, and opinion polls
  • Gather data on consumers, competitors, and market conditions
  • Analyze data using statistical software
  • Convert data and findings into tables, graphs, and written reports
  • Prepare reports and present results to clients and management

Market research analysts gather data and study other information to help a company promote its products or services. They gather data on consumer buying habits, demographics, needs, and preferences. They collect data and information using a variety of methods, such as focus groups, interviews, literature reviews, market analysis surveys, public opinion polls, and questionnaires.

Analysts help determine a company’s position in the marketplace by researching their competitors and studying their marketing methods, prices, and sales. Using this information, analysts may determine potential markets, product demand, and pricing. Their knowledge of the targeted consumer enables analysts to develop advertising brochures and commercials, product promotions, and sales plans.

Market research analysts evaluate data using statistical techniques and software. They must interpret what the data mean for their client, and they may forecast future trends. They often make charts, graphs, infographics, and other visual aids to present the results of their research.

Workers who design and conduct surveys that market research analysts use are survey researchers.

Market research analysts held about 792,500 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of market research analysts were as follows:

Because most industries use market research, these analysts are employed throughout the economy.

Market research analysts work individually or as part of a team, collecting, analyzing, and presenting data. For example, some analysts work with graphic designers and artists to create charts, graphs, and infographics summarizing their research and findings.

Work Schedules

Most market research analysts work full time during regular business hours.

Market research analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree. Some employers require or prefer that job candidates have a master’s degree. Strong research and analytical skills are essential.

Market research analysts typically need a bachelor's degree in market research or a related business, communications, or social science field.

Courses in statistics, research methods, and marketing are important for prospective analysts. Courses in communications and social sciences, such as economics or consumer behavior, are also helpful.

Some employers of market research analysts require or prefer a master’s degree. Several schools offer graduate programs in marketing research, but analysts may choose to complete a bachelor’s degree in another field, such as statistics and marketing, and earn a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). A master’s degree is often required for leadership positions or positions that perform more technical research.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Analysts may pursue certification, which is voluntary, to demonstrate a level of professional competency. The  Insights Association  offers several certifications for market research analysts, including the IPC Principal and the IPC Masters. Candidates qualify based on industry experience and passing an exam.

Other Experience

Completing an internship while in school may be helpful. Prospective analysts also may gain experience by volunteering for an organization and helping with market research or related projects.

Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have experience in other positions that require collecting and analyzing data or writing reports to summarize research. 

Market research analysts typically have an interest in the Thinking, Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Thinking or Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a market research analyst, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Market research analysts should also possess the following specific qualities:

Analytical skills. Market research analysts must be able to understand large amounts of data and information. 

Communication skills. Market research analysts need strong communication skills when gathering information, interpreting data, and presenting results to clients. 

Critical-thinking skills. Market research analysts must assess all available information to determine what marketing strategy would work best for a company.

Detail oriented. Market research analysts must be detail oriented because they often do precise data analysis.

The median annual wage for market research analysts was $63,920 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,570, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $128,320.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for market research analysts in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Employment of market research analysts is projected to grow 19 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 99,800 openings for market research analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 

Employment growth will be driven by an increasing use of data and market research across many industries. These workers will be needed to help understand the needs and wants of customers, measure the effectiveness of marketing and business strategies, and identify the factors affecting product demand.

The increase in the collection and analyses of big data—extremely large sets of information, such as social media comments or online product reviews—can provide insight on consumer behaviors and preferences. Businesses will need market research analysts to conduct analyses of the data and information.

For more information about market research analysts, visit

Insights Association

For resources and information about qualitative research, visit

Qualitative Research Consultants Association  (QRCA)

Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook . This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

I would like to cite this page for a report. Who is the author?

There is no published author for this page. Please use citation guidelines for webpages without an author available. 

I think I have found an error or inaccurate information on this page. Who should I contact?

This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at [email protected] .

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz .

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How to Become a Research Analyst? Description, Skills, and Salary

Table of Contents

Are you looking for a job that pays well? Do you want to work in a field guaranteed to be in high demand over the next decade? Becoming a research analyst may be right for you. 

Research analysts are professionals who help companies make informed decisions by deriving actionable data from market research. These experts have become indispensable in many organizations due to their ability to get the most out of their data. 

Over the next decade, there will be an increase in the demand for professionals who offer related services. These professionals are paid well above the national average. There are many reasons why you should explore how to become a research analyst. 

Here are some tips for becoming a research analyst.

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What Is a Research Analyst?

In Data Analytics , a research analyst works with businesses or organizations to understand their needs better, then uses data to solve them. 

They work closely with businesses and their clients to better understand their needs and what will bring them value. Then, they use this information to create reports that help companies decide how best to move forward with their products or services. 

The job requires strong analytical skills , solid communication skills , and an understanding of how different parts of a business work together.

Research Analyst Job Description

The job of a research analyst is to provide data insights that help organizations make strategic decisions. A research analyst may work at a large company, a small business, or even an individual. In either case, their work will involve collecting and analyzing data to help their organization make informed decisions about its operations.

To become a research analyst, you must have a bachelor’s degree in statistics, math, or another related field. You should also have experience in conducting financial analysis and predictive modeling. Presenting your findings effectively is also essential because you will often offer them to stakeholders who need to understand them.

Research analysts typically work full-time during regular business hours from Monday through Friday. Many analysts work overtime or weekends to complete projects on time for clients or managers within their organization.

Research Analyst Roles and Responsibilities

Research analysts spend most of their time analyzing data that other people or organizations have already collected. For example, they might look at sales records from a retail chain or customer surveys from a bank. 

Then they create reports that give executives an overview of what’s going on in their business so they can make informed decisions about how best to proceed. 

For example: if the sales figures show that there has been a decrease in demand for product X over the past six months, then the management team may decide to stop production on this product until further notice from upper management or shareholders due to low profits overtime period

Research Analyst Career Path

As a research analyst, you can expect to progress through 4 stages of experience.

First, you will start as a research associate. The role of a research associate requires that you perform extensive research and analysis on companies and industries. You will assist senior analysts in preparing investment recommendations for clients and be responsible for conducting primary research on behalf of your firm. 

Second, you will move into the VP analyst role, where you will manage teams of analysts and conduct independent analyses on companies or industries relevant to your firm's investment strategy. 

Third, you will become a senior VP analyst. Your responsibilities include managing junior analysts and serving as an expert in one or more areas of expertise, such as healthcare or technology. 

Finally, you successfully demonstrated exceptional leadership skills as a senior VP analyst. 

In that case, you may progress directly into a director position without becoming an associate and vice president before finally moving into this final stage of experience, where responsibilities include managing entire teams of analysts while continuing to produce independent research reports using proprietary methods.

How to Become a Research Analyst?

Are you ready to become a research analyst?

Several paths can lead you to success in this field. The best one is by completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field. Work experience may also be necessary for higher-level positions. In addition, you can earn relevant certifications such as the Certified Research Analyst (CRA) to increase your marketability.

Earning a degree in one of these fields will help you start your journey as a research analyst: Marketing, Math, Statistics, Business Administration, Data Science , or Market Research. Most research analyst positions require candidates to have a degree in one of these fields.

But what if you need to gain experience? Don't worry! 

Employers prefer hiring professionals with job experience, internship programs, or entry-level research analyst roles that will allow you to prove yourself and make your resume stand out from the crowd.

If you want to advance your education through certifications, passing certification exams enable you to join an elite group of professionals who have demonstrated excellent research skills. It significantly increases your marketability;

Research Analyst Skills

A research analyst has to possess many different skills to be successful. These skills can vary based on the seniority of the position, but they all revolve around working with numbers and raw data to provide actionable insights.

Below are some of the most critical skills that a research analyst needs:

  • Statistical and mathematical modeling capabilities.
  • Accuracy and credibility in data collection and analysis results.
  • Communication skills for presenting findings.

Research Analyst Salary

Research analysts' salaries can vary depending on their experience and industry. According to the Indeed , research analysts earn a median income of $62,989 annually. It is very high considering that the average American's annual salary is around $44,000.

The highest-paying sectors for research analysts include banking and financial services organizations, healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing facilities, IT corporations, and even government agencies.

If you're looking for an opportunity to make more money as a research analyst, consider working for an IT company or a hospital. Glassdoor reports that an average research analyst's salary in India is 5,00,000 INR.

Research Analyst Job Outlook

Market research analysts are an essential part of our world. They're the ones who bring us the data that helps us make intelligent decisions—from how much we spend on new products to where we advertise our products to how we do business with other companies.

The demand for market research analysts is growing fast , and it will continue growing at a fast pace over the next decade. There will be nearly 100,000 openings per year: many will be due to old analysts retiring or transferring into different positions within their company, but there will also be some new hires due to increased demand for these positions.

If you have a keen eye for numbers and understand how they can be used to influence decisions in business, then becoming a market research analyst might be perfect for you!

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Financial Analyst vs. Research Analyst

research analyst working conditions

Financial Analyst vs. Research Analyst: An Overview

Financial analysts examine, collect, and interpret financial information to help companies make business decisions. Financial analysis is an umbrella term that covers several functions that financial analysts might perform.  

Some financial analysts analyze financial market trends to help with an investment decision while others examine financial statements of companies to help pinpoint a specific company's investment potential.

A research analyst is someone who typically performs investigative analysis, which can involve finding financial information, examining, interpreting, and reporting on the data collected. 

Research analyst roles can vary whereby an analyst might perform equity analysis for stock investing, market research for launching a new product line, or analyze and rate bonds or debt instruments. 

Below, we'll explore the differences between a financial analyst and a research analyst as well as the potential employment opportunities and salaries.

Key Takeaways

  • Financial analysts examine, collect, and interpret financial information to help companies make business decisions.
  • Financial analysts analyze financial market trends to help with an investment decision while others examine financial statements of companies to identify an investment's potential. 
  • A research analyst performs investigative analysis, which can involve finding financial information, examining, interpreting, and reporting on the data collected. 

Financial Analysts

A common role of financial analysts involves analyzing investments and their market performances. They rely on fundamental analysis to determine a company's value or its investment opportunity. The detailed process might include analyzing a company's profitability , revenue , earnings , sales, and outstanding debt.

Financial ratios are used to interpret the data, which helps compare a company's data to other companies within the same industry. Financial analysis involves the heavy use of accounting and many hours reviewing and interpreting a company's financial statements such as the balance sheet and income statement.

Financial analysts collect and analyze data but always within the context of a prior deductive understanding of how markets should function. Financial analysts must also understand economic principles and be able to create written reports of their interpretations and make recommendations. In short, financial analysts are usually behind-the-scenes experts.

Financial analysts are also employed outside the investment world. For example, banks provide credit to companies called commercial lending. Before a bank can lend money to a company, it must analyze a company's financial statements and its ability to pay back a loan. Financial analysts help to break down a company's financial situation and report on it to the underwriters making the credit decision. Although the thinking behind financial analysis is systemic, it's also subjective.

Financial analysts tend to be a more specialized role than research analysts, but that doesn't mean there isn't a huge variety of them as well. Almost all financial analysts start out with at least a bachelor's degree in finance, economics, mathematics, or accounting. Many employers prefer a candidate have some form of professional certification, such as a chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation or a master of business administration (MBA) .

If a financial analyst performs investment advisory services, such as recommending stocks, bonds, or insurance products, then the appropriate professional licenses will be necessary. These licenses can include the Series 7 or Series 65 exams or state exams for life insurance and health insurance licenses.

If a financial analyst is involved in corporate finance for a company, or in the banking industry, there may be additional training. For example, commercial credit training is typically needed for FAs to be able to analyze companies for credit approval at a major bank.

The 2021 median pay for financial analysts was $81,410, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS. Top financial analysts for major investment firms can earn certainly more than the stated average, while entry-level analysts for smaller companies can expect $45,000 to $50,000 in compensation.

Occupational Outlook

The BLS is bullish on future job prospects for financial analysts. It predicts a 6% growth in financial analyst jobs in the ten years from 2020 and 2030—on par with the financial industry as a whole and a little faster than expectations for the broader economy.

Research Analysts

Research analysts tend to be more data crunchers than financial analysts. Research analysts can also be used in determining an investment's valuation or the value of an asset. These analysts can work on market research to spot trends but can also work as equity analysts to prepare reports for buy or sell recommendations.

Research analysts tend to focus more on mathematical models to produce objective answers about historical data. A research analyst can take a series of inputs, and calculate the most efficient way to maximize output. Research analysts are used to help improve a company's operations through advanced mathematical and analytical methods. These analysts help businesses investigate and solve complex problems, and allow the companies to make better business decisions.

A subset of research analysts is the market research analyst, who breaks down what consumer data says about a product, service, or the market. Market research analysts often examine the potential market for a product's success. They interpret client data and customer trends with the goal of helping companies understand what consumers are buying, at what price, and what they're not buying.

Also, market research analysts are employed in the investment industry to analyze the overall financial market trends for equity and bond markets. As a result, the role can require a great deal of statistical knowledge, computer skills, and a solid understanding of economics.

Research analysts can be found everywhere and in any industry, not just the financial sector. Nearly any academic background could viably serve a prospective researcher, as long as the researcher has the requisite technical, mathematical, and analytical skills.

The 2021 median pay for operations research analysts, which is more of a mathematical role, was $82,360 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS. The median salary for market research analysts, which is more of a product and sales role, was $63,920 per year in 2021.

Investment research analysts can earn more than $100,000 at major banks, but more representative salaries for other research analysts tend to fall between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.

Research analysts can take on a variety of roles working for corporations, investment banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, and brokerages.

BLS job outlook statistics are even rosier for research analysts than financial analysts. The agency projected growth from 2021 to 2031 to be 19% for market research analysts and 23% for operations research analysts.

Special Considerations: Work-Life Balance

Finding a proper work-life balance can be difficult in any industry, but the financial industry has had a reputation of making employees work late and miss family time, particularly for those who work on Wall Street.

A 2021 Goldman Sachs study suggests that financial analysts report working an average of 98 hours per week, and sometimes 105 hours. Market research analysts work similar hours, if not fewer.

These jobs aren't as demanding (and don't pay as much) as private equity jobs or investment banking jobs. It's standard for an analyst to receive 20 or more days a year in paid time off, at least one day off on weekends, and time out of the office on holidays.

Work hours tend to increase as an analyst's work draws closer and closer to New York, London, or Tokyo. Investment bankers and other high-level financial professionals rely on analysts for support.

While the expected growth rate for research analyst positions appears to be higher, financial analysts start out making a higher median salary and might have more room to advance within the financial world. Both roles involve the analysis and interpretation of data, trends, and a sound understanding of math and finance.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. " Financial Analysts: Pay ."

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. " Financial Analysts ."

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. " Operations Research Analysts ."

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. " Market Research Analysts ."

Salary.com. " Investment Analyst Salary ."

Payscale. " Average Research Analyst Salary ."

Goldman Sachs. " Working Conditions Survey ."

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11 Research Analyst Skills: Definition and Examples

In order to be a successful research analyst, there are a few key skills that you will need to possess. This article will provide definitions for 12 of those skills, including: critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, research, writing, presentation, and more. With a strong understanding of these skills, you will be well on your way to a successful career as a research analyst.

Research Analyst Resume Example

Research Analyst Skills

Critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, interpretation, communication, organizational, time management.

Analytical skills are important for research analysts because they need to be able to understand and interpret data. They also need to be able to identify patterns and trends in data sets.

The ability to conduct research is an important skill for any analyst. This involves being able to find and use relevant data, as well as being able to critically evaluate that data. This skill is important in order to be able to produce accurate and reliable analysis.

The ability to write clearly, concisely, and persuasively is essential for research analysts. They need to be able to communicate their findings and recommendations in writing, both in reports and presentations. This skill is important because it allows research analysts to present their work in a way that is easily understood by others.

Critical thinking is a skill that allows you to analyze information and make reasoned decisions. It is important for research analysts because it allows them to evaluate data and come to sound conclusions.

Problem solving is a skill that is essential for research analysts. They need to be able to identify problems and then find ways to solve them. This requires both analytical and creative thinking.

Data analysis is the process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modeling data with the goal of discovering useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision-making.

As a research analyst, you will need to be skilled in data analysis in order to make sense of the large amounts of data that you will be working with. Data analysis skills will allow you to identify trends, patterns, and relationships in data sets in order to draw conclusions and make recommendations.

The ability to interpret data is a key skill for research analysts. They need to be able to understand what the data means and how it can be used to inform decision-making. This requires both analytical and critical thinking skills.

The ability to communicate effectively is essential for research analysts. They need to be able to explain their findings to clients and colleagues, and present data in a clear and concise manner. Strong communication skills will also help research analysts build relationships with clients and stakeholders, and persuade others of their recommendations.

Organizational skills are important for research analysts because they need to be able to keep track of large amounts of information and be able to work with a variety of people. They also need to be able to plan and execute research projects.

Time management is the ability to use your time effectively and efficiently. It is an important skill for research analysts because they often have to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines. Time management can help you prioritize your work, avoid procrastination, and get more done in less time.

A research analyst needs to be proficient in using computers in order to efficiently gather and analyze data. This skill is important in order to be able to quickly find and interpret information that can help inform decision making.

How to improve research analyst skills

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the skills required to be a successful research analyst vary depending on the specific industry and type of research being conducted. However, there are some general tips that can help improve the skills of any research analyst.

First and foremost, it is important to be able to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing. This includes being able to clearly explain complex concepts to those who may not be familiar with them, as well as being able to write concise and accurate reports. Strong communication skills are essential in order to be able to effectively collaborate with other members of a research team, as well as to present findings to clients or senior management.

It is also important to have strong analytical skills in order to be able to effectively analyze data and draw conclusions from it. This includes being able to use statistical software packages such as SPSS or SAS, as well as being able to understand and interpret complex data sets.

Organizational skills are also important, as research analysts often have to manage large amounts of information and keep track of multiple projects at the same time. Being able to prioritize and stay organized is essential in order to meet deadlines and keep everything running smoothly.

Finally, it is also important for research analysts to be lifelong learners. As the field of research is constantly changing and evolving, it is important to be able to keep up with new developments and trends. This can be done by reading industry-specific publications, attending conferences or seminars, or taking courses or workshops on relevant topics.

How to highlight research analyst skills

To highlight your skills as a Research Analyst, you should focus on your ability to collect and analyze data, as well as your communication and presentation skills. You should also highlight your ability to use research tools and software, as well as your knowledge of statistical methods.

On a resume

To highlight your skills as a Research Analyst on your resume, you should include your experience conducting research, analyzing data, and writing reports. You should also highlight any software or programming skills you have that would be relevant to the position. Finally, you should list any relevant coursework or training you have in research methods and data analysis.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, be sure to highlight your skills as a research analyst. Include your experience conducting research, analyzing data, and writing reports. Detail your ability to identify trends, develop hypotheses, and make recommendations based on your findings. Emphasize your strong communication skills and your ability to work independently and as part of a team. Be sure to mention any relevant coursework or training in research methods and statistical analysis.

During an interview

When you are interviewed for a research analyst position, be sure to highlight your skills in data analysis and interpretation. Discuss how you are able to take complex data sets and break them down into actionable insights. Share examples of times when you have identified key trends or patterns in data that have led to successful outcomes. Demonstrate your ability to think critically and solve problems, as this is a key skill for research analysts. Finally, make sure to emphasize your communication skills, as you will need to be able to present your findings clearly and concisely to clients or senior management.

Related Career Skills

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  • Published: 08 February 2023

Quality research needs good working conditions

  • Rima-Maria Rahal   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-1404-0471 1 ,
  • Susann Fiedler 2 ,
  • Adeyemi Adetula   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9344-576X 3 , 4 ,
  • Ronnie P.-A. Berntsson   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6848-322X 5 , 6 ,
  • Ulrich Dirnagl 7 ,
  • Gordon B. Feld   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-1238-9493 8 ,
  • Christian J. Fiebach   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0827-1721 9 ,
  • Samsad Afrin Himi   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6955-1757 10 ,
  • Aidan J. Horner   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0882-9756 11 , 12 ,
  • Tina B. Lonsdorf   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1501-4846 13 ,
  • Felix Schönbrodt   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-8282-3910 14 ,
  • Miguel Alejandro A. Silan   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7480-3661 15 , 16 ,
  • Michael Wenzler   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-5248-2660 17 &
  • Flávio Azevedo   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9000-8513 18  

Nature Human Behaviour volume  7 ,  pages 164–167 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

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High-quality research requires appropriate employment and working conditions for researchers. However, many academic systems rely on short-term employment contracts, biased selection procedures and misaligned incentives, which hinder research quality and progress. We discuss ways to redesign academic systems, emphasizing the role of permanent employment.

Across disciplines, research quality benefits from transparency and openness, as well as efforts to replicate and reproduce. In recent years there has been a surge in open scholarship thanks to efforts towards promoting robust research grounded in the principles of good research practice, sparked primarily by individuals and grassroots approaches. Yet this movement is up against an academic structure with a high proportion of short-term contracts, precarious working conditions, misaligned incentives and unpaid labour, all of which pose barriers to high-quality research.

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research analyst working conditions

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Acknowledgements

This work was conceived in the scope of the German Reproducibility Network ( https://reproducibilitynetwork.de ). We thank F. Henninger for his helpful comments, and L. Wagner and B. Heling for their help with formatting the document.

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Behavioral Law & Economics, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany

Rima-Maria Rahal

Department Strategy & Innovation, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria

Susann Fiedler

Department of Psychology, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Abakaliki, Nigeria

Adeyemi Adetula

Laboratoire Interuniversitaire de Psychologie, Personnalité, Cognition, Changement Social, Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Ronnie P.-A. Berntsson

Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

QUEST Center for Responsible Research, Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany

Ulrich Dirnagl

Central Institute of Mental Health, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany

Gordon B. Feld

Department of Psychology, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Christian J. Fiebach

Department of Psychology, Jagannath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Samsad Afrin Himi

Department of Psychology, University of York, York, UK

Aidan J. Horner

York Biomedical Research Institute, University of York, York, UK

Department of Systems Neuroscience, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

Tina B. Lonsdorf

Department of Psychology, LMU Munich, München, Germany

Felix Schönbrodt

Development, Individual, Process, Handicap, Education (DIPHE) Research Unit, Université Lumière Lyon 2, Lyon, France

Miguel Alejandro A. Silan

Annecy Behavioral Science Lab, Menthon-Saint-Bernard, France

Tübingen, Germany

Michael Wenzler

Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Flávio Azevedo

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Contributions

R.M.R., S.F., U.D. and C.J.F. conceived the work. R.M.R. wrote the original draft, and R.M.R., S.F., F.A., G.B.F., U.D., C.J.F., F.S., T.B.L., M.W., A.J.H., A.A., M.A.A.S., S.A.H. and R.P.A.B. reviewed and edited the Comment.

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Rahal, RM., Fiedler, S., Adetula, A. et al. Quality research needs good working conditions. Nat Hum Behav 7 , 164–167 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-022-01508-2

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research analyst working conditions

Market Research Analysts

research analyst working conditions

Market Research Analysts - Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, market research analysts:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a moderate level of social interaction. They work with clients, focus group members, and coworkers. However, they also spend time alone while analyzing data.
  • Are responsible for work outcomes and results of other workers.
  • Communicate with coworkers and clients daily by telephone, e-mail, or in person.
  • Write letters and memos on a weekly basis.
  • Work in a group or as part of a team.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Work indoors in offices.
  • Work with other people, sometimes sharing office space.

Work Performance

  • Must be exact in their work in order to provide accurate information.
  • Must repeat the same mental activities, such as analyzing data.
  • Rarely consult with a supervisor before making a decision. They rarely consult with a supervisor before setting tasks and goals for the day.
  • Are moderately competitive with coworkers.
  • Must meet strict deadlines on a weekly basis.

Hours/Travel

  • Generally have a set schedule each week.
  • Usually work a standard 40-hour week.
  • May work overtime to meet project deadlines.

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  1. Research Analyst Job Description [Updated for 2023]

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  2. Research Analyst

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    There are many different analysts: research, financial, investment banking, and risk analysts. All of these positions are different and fulfill specific roles in their firms. For example, an investment banking analyst may work on M&A deals for their firm. Research analysts can make a wide range of different salaries based on their experience level.

  4. What Is a Research Analyst? What They Do and Qualifications

    Research Analyst: A research analyst is a person who prepares investigative reports on securities or assets for in-house or client use. Other names for this function include financial analyst ...

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    For example, a research analyst working in the oil and gas industry could benefit from knowledge about energy and climate policy. Research Analyst Careers. ... Market research analysts work for various types of organizations, examining market conditions and helping determine opportunities to grow sales of products or services.

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    Working as a market research analyst typically doesn't require the use of high levels of intelligence in daily tasks. Can I learn to become a market research analyst? Intrinsic Talent Acquired Talent

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    Research analyst roles are typically broken into two camps: Buy-side research roles. Sell-side research roles. Focus areas can include fixed income, equities, hedge funds, quantitative investing, multi-asset investing, real estate, private equity, and more. Analytical roles vary significantly based on the area of focus and the organization.

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    The main role of a research analyst is to study previous and existing market conditions to derive actionable insights to be used in formulating strategies for the future. Most of these professionals work in management, finance, insurance, and wholesale trade companies. Research Analyst Job Description

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    Market intelligence is a combination of research and consultancy, helping businesses to make decisions and set priorities. As a research analyst your job is to become an expert in a very specific ...

  10. Market Research Analysts

    Job Outlook Employment of market research analysts is projected to grow 13 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 94,600 openings for market research analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

  11. What Is a Market Research Analyst? 2024 Guide

    Customers Primary and secondary customer research—everything from demographics to opinions—helps a company develop more targeted marketing and align its products and services with customers' differing needs. Market research analysts may also identify how companies find, acquire, and retain customers while avoiding churn—or customer loss.

  12. Research Analyst Career Path: Roles, Salaries & Progression

    Analysts can work and specialize in a variety of different industries and asset types and, which makes this career path quite dynamic. Personality traits which will normally be associated with a good research associate or analyst candidate include: Critical thinking. Strong communication skills. Logical reasoning.

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    Introduction A research analyst plays a pivotal role in organizations across various industries, offering insights that drive informed decisions. They are the data detectives, uncovering valuable information and transforming it into actionable intelligence. But how can you embark on this exciting career path?

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    Full-time jobs Remote jobs Urgently needed jobs View more jobs on Indeed What is a research analyst? A research analyst is a finance professional responsible for gathering, analysing, interpreting data and preparing research reports on assets, stocks and securities.

  15. Market Research Analyst

    Market research analysts study consumer preferences, business conditions, and other factors to assess potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price. ... Market research analysts work individually or as part of a team, collecting, analyzing, and presenting ...

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    Home Career Explorer Research Analyst What does a Research Analyst do? Research analysts, or security analysts, prepare investigative reports on securities and other assets. They examine and revise information used by financial institutions or external clients.

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    To become a research analyst, you must have a bachelor's degree in statistics, math, or another related field. You should also have experience in conducting financial analysis and predictive modeling. Presenting your findings effectively is also essential because you will often offer them to stakeholders who need to understand them.

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  20. Quality research needs good working conditions

    8 Citations 943 Altmetric Metrics High-quality research requires appropriate employment and working conditions for researchers. However, many academic systems rely on short-term employment...

  21. Market Research Analysts

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  23. How to become a research analyst (with steps)

    When looking for your ideal research analyst job, it's important to think carefully about what you aim to achieve in the role. Consider the following tips when searching for a position in this sector: 1. Determine the industry you want to work in. While many research analysts work in the financial sector, there are numerous roles in other ...