Becoming a Forecast Analyst: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of a forecast analyst career? Get real job descriptions, career outlooks and salary info to see if becoming a forecast analyst is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Being a Forecast Analyst

While being a forecast analyst can be a stressful and demanding career, you'll have the opportunity to help businesses analyze and monitor costs while figuring out the best ways to improve revenues. Check out these pros and cons to see if becoming a forecast analyst is a good fit for you.

Pros of Being a Forecast Analyst
Job outlook looks strong (estimated 19% percent growth in employment between 2014 and 2024 for market research analysts)*
Opportunity to help businesses thrive*
Well-paying career ($61,290 median annual salary)**
Allows you to stay in the loop on market and business trends, which can give you an edge*

Cons of Being a Forecast Analyst
Long hours and pressing deadlines common*
Need for a decent amount of schooling (at least a bachelor's degree)*
Demand for strong background in and understanding of business and finance*
Pressure to accurately forecast an industry's future*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com.

Career Info

Job Description

As a forecast analyst, you'll be responsible for coming up with research-based strategies that can help a business's bottom line. For instance, one of your duties may be to study a company's inventory levels and product demand, and then report your findings to the company's leaders. It's also common for you to forecast industry and business trends and how your company will be able to meet those projections. To do this, you'll likely rely on a strong understanding of business, finance, and mathematical models that can promote a company's cost effectiveness. Part of your job may also involve analyzing a company's budget and how future trends may affect the organization's growth.

Career Growth and Salary Stats

Demand for forecast analysts and similar careers should be very positive in the years to come. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finds that the employment of market research analysts, who perform a number of similar tasks to forecast analysts, will increase by 19% between 2014 and 2024. Similarly, the BLS projects that the employment of operations research analysts should grow by 30% from 2014-2024. In both situations, the BLS finds that companies will be looking for ways to cut costs while better understanding the needs of clients and the industry's future.

Forecast analysts are able to make a decent living. Salary.com reports that forecast analysts earned a median annual salary of about $57,000 as of February 2016. The most common salary range for forecast analysts is between $48,000 and $65,000.

Education Requirements

You'll most likely need to hold a bachelor's degree to find employment as a forecast analyst. The degree program is likely to last four years and many forecast analysts choose to study business or finance as part of their undergraduate program. As part of a bachelor's degree in business administration you'll learn about accounting, finance, economics, management and marketing. This education background may prove beneficial in your work as a forecast analyst because you'll be able to understand the business world and how your company fits in with the changing industry.

Depending on your career goals, you may also go on to earn a master's degree in business administration or finance. Furthering your educational pursuits and skills may allow you to enhance your job prospects as a forecast analyst.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Businesses across the country are hiring forecast analysts to help them grow and better meet the needs of clients. For the most part, employers prefer job candidates who have a bachelor's degree as well as professional experience. Check out these job openings from real employers posted on Monster.com in April 2012.

  • A private company in Wisconsin is looking for a forecast analyst who can work with the organization's sales, finance and marketing departments to gauge market trends and provide accurate company outlooks. You'll need a bachelor's degree, along with a year or two of experience to be considered for the position.
  • A private organization in Massachusetts seeks a forecast analyst who can provide weekly reports that track industry and market growth. The company prefers candidates who hold a bachelor's degree with up to six years of professional experience.
  • A company in Minnesota is looking for a full-time forecast analyst who can provide company forecasts that take into account historical trends, economic factors and the season. You'll need a bachelor's degree and up to three years of professional experience in forecasting to be considered.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

Often, the best way to get ahead in this field is through professional experience. As you gain experience, you'll be able to get a better grasp of the business industry and how to accurately provide forecasts. You may also want to consider earning a graduate degree as this will give you a deeper sense of the business world. According to the BLS, a master's degree in fields like marketing, business, and statistics may be required to gain leadership positions. In your classes, you'll be able to understand the latest trends in business, which can give you an edge over other job candidates when you seek work as a forecast analyst.

Alternative Career Paths

Operations Research Analyst

If becoming a forecast analyst doesn't seem like the right fit for you, consider becoming an operations research analyst. In this role, you'll be able to help a company problem solve and make crucial decisions that may affect the entire business or its clients. A bachelor's degree in a business-related field is often the basic requirement for work and demand looks good as the BLS projects a 15% growth in employment between 2010 and 2020.

Economist

If you're interested in researching economic trends, you might enjoy a career as an economist. You'll have a deep sense of economics and how it applies to supply and demand and the public. Economists need at least a bachelor's degree to find work, although advanced degrees are often more common. Economists also make a decent salary by earning a mean annual salary of about $100,000 as of May 2011, according to the BLS.

Survey Researcher

Another option is to become a survey researcher, which means you'll oversee and manage surveys and studies to understand a company's performance and outlook. Survey researchers work in a range of settings, whether it's a nonprofit organization or major corporation. The outlook is good with the BLS projecting that the employment of survey researchers should grow by 24% between 2010 and 2020. Despite the positive outlook, survey researchers generally make far less than economists and forecast analysts. The BLS finds that they made an annual salary of $48,000 in May 2011.

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Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance
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Kaplan University

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  • BSFIN Accelerated MS Finance
  • Associate: Accounting
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

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George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

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Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • MBA: Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

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Colorado State University Global

  • Master of Finance
  • BS - Accounting
  • Graduate Specialization - Accounting

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Northcentral University

  • PhD in Business Admin - Financial Management
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Financial Management
  • MBA - Financial Management
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

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