Market Research Analyst
The market for products and services is constantly changing. Now more than ever, businesses use increased access to data to better understand consumers. Market research analysts study the needs and wants of customers, interpreting data and understanding how it affects their company.
Market research analysts work across all industries for all kinds of companies. The position involves extensive use of math and analytical skills for the completion of market research. It requires use of foundational business skills to understand consumers and how business strategies affect performance.
Market research analysts may have different duties, but they likely do some of the following:
- Gather data on consumers, competitors and other market trends to understand market positioning in pricing, sales and other metrics
- Observe and predict current and future marketing and sales trends using data
- Compile consumer data using a variety of methods including surveys, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, opinion polls and more
- Analyze data using statistical software to find trends and identify potential customer bases to target
- Create approachable tables, graphs and other reports to disseminate findings
- Advise clients and management on how to use findings to their advantage
With an increased reliance on data collection and analysis across the marketplace, the need for market research analysts continues to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects jobs to grow 19 percent by 2024, nearly three times the national average for all occupations. Market research will continue to prove useful in helping to cut costs and improve sales. Market research analysts will be well-positioned to have many employment opportunities for the foreseeable future.
The BLS reports that market research analysts earn a median annual wage of $61,290. The top 10 percent earn more than $116,740 annually, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $33,460. The industries that employ the highest-paid market research analysts are manufacturing at $68,650 and finance and insurance at $67,750.
With the highly analytical nature of market research roles, a bachelor’s degree is needed to enter the field. While there are many education paths, a degree in psychology helps with understanding both statistics and consumer behavior. Top market research positions may require a master’s degree, and many market research analysts pursue an MBA to gain further business understanding.
Unlike other careers, certification for market research analysts is voluntary. However, pursuing certification such as the Professional Researcher Certification can help demonstrate competency in the field.
Public Relations Specialist
Public relations specialists are responsible for maintaining a positive public image for organizations. They work to create a favorable public perception and raise awareness of a company’s work and positive outcomes. Important job duties for public relations specialists include writing press releases, designing media kits and crafting other media-facing information. They evaluate advertising strategies and campaigns to ensure that the right message is sent to the public and will be received well. Depending on the type of organization, they may draft speeches for executives to use at press conferences and other public appearances. Though not traditionally the responsibility of public relations specialists, many are now responsible for managing social media accounts.
Professionals in this role may also be referred to as communications specialists and media specialists. When working in a government setting, they may be called press secretaries. In this case, they are responsible for keeping the public informed about government matters. Other job duties for public relations specialists include contacting the media about material they wish to be publicized, responding to social media concerns and managing the creation of radio reports, news stories and magazine articles about their organization. It is important to note that public relations specialists differ from advertising professionals because they work with the media to release information, rather than purchasing ad space and creating sponsored content.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), public relations specialists can expect to see 6 percent job growth through 2024, a rate that is as fast as the average for all occupations. Because community outreach and public perception continue to be important components for success, organizations of all types rely on public relations specialists to craft their image. With the rise of social media and widespread smartphone use, this has only become more clear. Information posted on the Internet can quickly sway public opinion, and public relations specialists are responsible for keeping such situations in check.
An increase in online media outlets will contribute to continued growth in public relations because organizations need to “appeal to consumers and the public in new ways,” the BLS explains. Public relations specialists are a key asset to companies as they navigate such new media channels effectively.
The median annual salary for public relations specialists is $55,680. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $31,190 and the highest 10 percent earn more than $105,720. Industries that garner high salaries for public relations specialists include:
- Professional, scientific and technical services
- State and local government
- Religious, grant-making, civic, professional and similar organizations
To become a public relations specialist, individuals generally need to earn a bachelor’s degree in public relations, communications, psychology or a related field. Some choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology due to the importance of understanding how people communicate with one another and relate to society. Internships at public relations firms or other businesses can be helpful in terms of employment.
Salary estimations are based on national average. Historically, salary ranges for the Northeast are higher due to higher cost of living.