How to become a research analyst

Image of man and woman discussing documents and ideas
Image of man and woman discussing documents and ideas

Traditionally, most research analysts were employed in the financial services sector. But with the explosion of data that is now available to all industries, data analytics professionals like research analysts are in hot demand.  

A recent Australian Government report identified that 5 out of the top 25 emerging occupations in the country involve data analytics. National Skills Commissioner Adam Boyton said, “Data and digital skills are the fastest-growing emerging skills that employers are seeking.” 

To help you take advantage of this increased demand for data professionals, here’s our guide on how to become a research analyst in Australia. 

What does a research analyst do? 

Research analysts help ensure businesses and other organisations have all the information they need to make informed decisions. They do this by: 

  • identifying and measuring trends in data, such as the cost of goods, trends in markets or customer needs 
  • analysing the data trends 
  • preparing and presenting a report outlining how the organisation could use their insights to improve strategies and decisions 

A research analyst can provide significant value in a business landscape where change and the unexpected have become the norm. How? 

Research analysts use mathematical and statistical models to: 

  • identify potential business opportunities 
  • identify potential business threats  
  • guide investment decisions 
  • direct improvements in business processes 

As you can see, technical skills are a crucial part of the profession.  

Technical skills 

According to insights from a number of employment websites, research analysts need the following technical skills to generate investment strategies and make investment decisions for your company or clients: 

  • Strong mathematical and analytical skills 
  • Knowledge of analytical software and data analytics technologies 
  • Business intelligence and reporting software 
  • Recognition of patterns and trends 
  • Knowledge of database querying languages 
  • Survey/query software skills 
  • Data mining, data visualisation and database design skills   
  • Accounting knowledge 
  • Financial management skills 

Emotional intelligence skills 

While the technical aspects of the role are essential, the job isn’t purely number crunching and analysis. You’ll need the following emotional intelligence skills to be able to communicate your findings effectively:  

  • Communication skills 
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Critical thinking skills 
  • Exceptional attention to detail 
  • Time management skills 
  • Collaboration skills 

Typical tasks and responsibilities  

A research analyst must fulfil a variety of tasks and responsibilities. According to recruitment platform Betterteam, here are the most essential tasks: 

  • Trend-spotting and forecasting to improve business operations 
  • Undertaking market research to identify problems, opportunities, or efficiencies 
  • Making data-driven recommendations for critical business decisions  
  • Analysing data to develop and review pricing models  
  • Presenting recommendations visually to decision-makers 
  • Data storage and organisation  
  • Evaluation and improvement of procedures, policies, and protocols 

For those working in market research analytics, a more marketing-focused subset of research analytics, Betterteam notes that key tasks and responsibilities include: 

  • Trend monitoring and forecasting in marketing and sales 
  • Developing marketing plans in collaboration with the marketing team 
  • Market conditions research 
  • Conducting market research to understand consumer preferences to inform pricing strategies and the potential impacts of marketing and distribution strategies 
  • Monitoring marketing programs' effectiveness 
  • Designing and evaluating methods to collect data 
  • Using data analytics and statistical software to identify relevant findings 
  • Creating graphs, charts and other visual aids to make complex data easier to understand 
  • Internal and external reporting 

research analyst

How to become a research analyst 

According to Glassdoor, research analysts typically used to work in the financial services sector. However, now that data is widely available in every industry, the term ‘research analyst’ is more akin to what was traditionally known as a ‘data analyst’.  

Demand for data analysts in Australia is strong. According to recruitment website SEEK, the projected job growth for data analysts is 27.5 per cent in the next five years.  

Salary-wise, the typical Australian research analyst is paid $85k per year. For those interested in consumer research jobs, Australia’s typical market research analyst salary ranges between $60k and $90k per year.  

Given the growing importance of research and data analytics, becoming a research analyst in Australia is a strategic career decision. If you want to work in an in-demand profession with solid growth prospects, here are the steps to becoming a research analyst.  

  1. Obtain a high-quality, relevant tertiary qualification. Most research analysts hold a minimum of an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, such as: 
  • Mathematics 
  • Economics 
  • Business  
  • Statistics 
  • Computer science 
  • Information technology 

If you plan to work in the financial services sector, you may consider holding an undergraduate degree with coursework in: 

  • Finance 
  • Business administration  
  • Economics 
  • Accounting 
  • Data science 

If you plan to work as a market research analyst, you may consider holding an undergraduate degree in: 

  • Marketing 
  • Business Administration 
  • Commerce 
  • Psychology 
  1. Get experience in the workplace. On-the-job experience is invaluable to growing your knowledge and skills. It can also help give you a competitive edge to secure entry-level research analyst roles
  2. Consider getting a master's degree or a relevant certification. Once you have enough work experience and wish to progress in your career, you might consider earning qualifications pertinent to your industry.  

For example, if you’re a research analyst working in the financial services sector, you might consider one of the following: 

  • Studying a master’s degree, such as an MBA or a Master of Business Analytics 
  • Pursuing a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential through the CFA Institute 

Go further with UTS Online’s Master of Business Analytics 

If you’re interested in advancing to a senior research analyst position, having a postgraduate qualification will add value to your career.  

Studying a Master of Business Analytics is an excellent choice if you want to: 

  • Develop more specialist analytics skills in your current role 
  • Advance or broaden your career opportunities 
  • Gain a competitive edge by developing expert technical analytics capabilities 

Various degrees and certifications are available to help you enter or advance a research analytics career. But UTS Online’s Master of Business Analytics is an ideal course for gaining experience, skills and networks in this profession.  

Why study business analytics? Because UTS Online’s Master of Business Analytics provides the technical analytical skills you’ll need to thrive as a research analyst who can harness the power of technology.  

For example, machine learning is increasingly used in market research to generate consumer insights. A key learning area of the UTS Online Master of Business Analytics is technical business analytical skills. This makes it an attractive postgraduate market research analyst degree option for those wanting to advance further in their careers.   

As part of this degree, you’ll learn: 

  • Software and data processing. Subjects covering data processing using R, Python and SAS will help you to build a foundation in analytics technology knowledge. You’ll also learn software basics, including programming constructs, packages and object-oriented programming. 
  • Customer analytics. You'll discover how to use customer data to inform business decisions via segmentation, market basket analysis, CRM and marketing mix optimisation.  
  • Financial analytics. You’ll build the skills to assess an organisation’s financial health and plan for its future financial performance.  

A significant benefit of this course is that it can widen your career horizons to other highly sought-after data analytics roles, such as: 

  • Business analyst 
  • Operations analyst 
  • Financial analyst 
  • Senior digital marketing analyst 

Advance your research analytics career 

Take the next step in your research analytics career by studying a Master of Business Analytics at UTS Online

The course is 100 per cent online with no on-campus commitments. That means you’ll have the flexibility to study whenever and wherever works best for you. 

And for ongoing support throughout your study journey, you’ll always have access to a dedicated Student Support Advisor. 

Apply to enrol today at UTS Online.