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Job Profile: Market Researcher

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description:

Market and survey researchers gather information about what people think. Market, or marketing, research analysts help companies understand what types of products people want and at what price. They also help companies market their products to the people most likely to buy them. Gathering statistical data on competitors and examining prices, sales, and methods of marketing and distribution, they analyze data on past sales to predict future sales.

Market research analysts devise methods and procedures for obtaining the data they need. Often, they design surveys to assess consumer preferences through Internet, telephone, or mail responses. They conduct some surveys as personal interviews, going door-to-door, leading focus group discussions, or setting up booths in public places such as shopping malls. Trained interviewers usually conduct the surveys under the market research analyst’s direction.

After compiling and evaluating the data, market research analysts make recommendations to their client or employer. They provide a company’s management with information needed to make decisions on the promotion, distribution, design, and pricing of products or services. The information also may be used to determine the advisability of adding new lines of merchandise, opening branches of the company in a new location, or otherwise diversifying the company’s operations. Market research analysts also might develop advertising brochures and commercials, sales plans, and product promotions such as rebates and giveaways.

National Median Salary:

May 2006 were $58,820. The middle 50 percent earned between $42,190 and $84,070. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $112,510.

Education Requirements:

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for many market and survey research jobs. However, a master’s degree may be required, especially for technical positions.

In addition to completing courses in business, marketing, and consumer behavior, prospective market and survey researchers should take other liberal arts and social science courses, including economics, psychology, English, and sociology. Because of the importance of quantitative skills to market and survey researchers, courses in mathematics, statistics, sampling theory and survey design, and computer science are extremely helpful. Market and survey researchers often earn advanced degrees in business administration, marketing, statistics, communications, or other closely related disciplines.

Job Outlook:

Market research national employment

2006: 234,000
2016 Projection: 281,000
Growth in ten years: 47,000 more positions, or a 20% growth