Demand Forecast Manager Careers: Salary & Job Description

About this article
A demand forecast manager's median annual salary is around $85,780, but is it worth the education requirements? Get the truth about the job descriptions and career prospects to decide if it's the right career for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career in Demand Forecast Management

A demand forecast manager predicts sales trends by analyzing market conditions. Check out the pros and cons associated with becoming a demand forecast manager before making an important decision about your career.

Pros of Becoming a Demand Forecast Manager
Can work in a variety of industries since many need demand forecast managers*
Variety of bachelor's degree programs can prepare you for the career (i.e. business, statistics, engineering, business or math)*
Accurate forecasting can increase your career prospects*
Full-time employment during regular work hours*

Cons of Becoming a Demand Forecast Manager
A bachelor's degree is typically the minimum education requirement**
May have to work overtime if tight deadlines are approaching*
May have serious effects on the business if forecast is wrong (i.e. too much or too little inventory)*
Have to work with a variety of department managers*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Multiple job posts from April 2012.

Essential Career Information

Job Description

A demand forecast manager predicts the projected inventory requirements and expected demand for the services of a company. In the case of forecasting the demand for a product, you might be responsible for a particular brand or a certain type of product. These professionals monitor the forecast trends and make changes if needed, comparing current sales with historical information. You'll use a variety of tools and software packages to help you analyze data and convert the information into charts, tables or graphs. You might even devise ways to acquire the information you need, which could include making a survey or taking a poll.

Salary Info

PayScale.com found that most demand forecast managers made from about $62,597-$127,514, which included bonuses and profit sharing, as of January 2016. Salaries were influenced by job location and level of experience.

What Are the Requirements?

Employers typically require a candidate to have a bachelor's degree in supply chain management, logistics, accounting, business administration or a related field. Some employers may want you to have a Master of Business Administration (especially if you want to move into upper-management positions), as well as experience in forecasting for their particular industry. You'll need strong analytical, numerical, math, statistical and computer skills. A manager may need experience in using software for statistical forecasting or software for demand planning as well.

What Employers Are Looking For

Employers are generally looking for applicants who have experience forecasting in their particular industry. Moreover, candidates must have excellent analytical and math or statistics skills, which are essential for performing the job properly. Since you probably won't be proficient in all of the applications a particular company uses, you'll need to be able to adapt and quickly learn the company's software once hired. Here's a sample of job posts that were live in April 2012, posted by employers looking for a demand forecast manager:

  • An engineering and materials science company in Florida advertised for a demand planning manager with a bachelor's degree in supply chain management, science, engineering or business. Applicant must have experience in Microsoft Office, Statistical Analysis Plan and Advanced Planner & Optimizer plus knowledge of SIX SIGMA and lean manufacturing.
  • An automobile manufacturing company in Michigan was seeking a forecasting and demand planning analyst to help with inventory planning and service parts forecasting. Candidates need a bachelor's degree in supply chain management, business, industrial engineering, statistics or material logistics. The preferred applicant would have skills in using Easytrieve, Visual Basic and SQL.
  • A fluids system manufacturer in Ohio advertised for a forecasting analyst to make monthly sales forecasts and analyze the methods used to make improvement recommendations. Requirements include a bachelor's degree, preferably with a focus on math or statistics, plus experience with using spreadsheets for analysis.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Get Certified

The Association for Operations Management offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and the Certified Production and Inventory Management designations (CPIM), which could be beneficial to demand forecast managers. PayScale.com found that most demand planning managers with CPIM certification earned between approximately $55,000 and $102,000, while managers with CSCP certification earned between about $62,000 and $90,000 as of April 2012. The particular certification that would be best for you depends on which industry you work in.

Complete an Internship

While in school, pick a program that allows you to complete an internship. You may not be able to find an internship in just demand forecasting or demand planning, but an internship that allows you to get some experience in the industry you wish to work in can give you a major advantage when you graduate. Keep an eye out for an internship that gives you the opportunity to work in logistics, handle supply management or plan for inventory demands, since these experiences should give you the most relevant training for becoming a demand forecast manager.

Improve Your Computer Skills

Take courses to learn advanced skills in the present version of Microsoft Office, especially Excel, since you'll probably be working with spreadsheets and tables. Employers use Excel to analyze data and generally request that candidates know how to model a problem, manipulate and design a Pivot Table and create reports. If your school offers any other courses that cover software programs commonly used in the industry you want to work in, you can fill an elective and gain valuable knowledge at the same time.

Alternative Career Paths

If becoming a demand forecast manager is just not quite the ideal job for you, take a look at becoming a purchasing manager. A career as a purchasing manager does not require as much analytical and mathematical know-how as a demand forecast management career. Purchasing managers buy products for their company to resell or use. They check products' quality and negotiate contracts with suppliers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), purchasing managers earned a median salary of approximately $97,000 in 2011. However, keep in mind you might face competition for jobs, as the BLS predicted that purchasing managers would only see a 7% increase in employment opportunities from 2010-2020.

Perhaps you're interesting in a similar line of work but you're interested in handling multiple aspects of a particular product. In that case, you might want to look into a career as a logistician. These professionals figure out how to acquire a product, where to distribute it and how to deliver it. The BLS reported that logisticians earned a median yearly income of about $72,000 as of 2011. This field also has solid job prospects; the BLS estimated that logisticians would experience a 26% increase in jobs during the decade of 2010-2020.

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Featured Schools

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Applied Economics

What is your highest level of education?

Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization
  • Master of Business Administration - International Business Concentration
  • Master of Business Administration - International Business Specialization

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Finance
  • BSBA - Investment
  • Associate: Business Admin.

Which subject are you interested in?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Global Consulting
  • Master of Business Administration - Economics
  • Bachelor of Science in Business - Economics

What is your highest level of education completed?

American National University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Business Administration Management - Associate
  • Business Administration - Diploma

What is your education level?

South College

  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

South University

  • Business Administration (DBA)
  • Business Administration (MBA)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Notre Dame de Namur University

  • Masters in Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?