what is an analyst?

As an analyst, you gather and interpret data. You identify trends to decide what steps a business needs to take to maximise its profits. Analysts typically evaluate different topics to provide feedback to their clients or employer. You can work for public and private companies, investment banks, insurance companies and financial institutions.

To be good at your job, you have to work well with your peers, clients and superiors to communicate necessary information. You need to take your responsibilities seriously because a minor error or miscalculation can strongly impact anything, from stock prices to corporate strategies.

As an analyst, you need to be confident using spreadsheets and working with numbers to guarantee accuracy. Communicating your ideas precisely to save time and improve efficiency is also essential.

Analysts in businesses examine and study systems, processes and operations and oversee technology integration. These professionals also look at how organisations generate revenue. They help make decisions by gathering and interpreting data, allowing companies to predict future events accurately. Part of their job requires staying on top of market or industry trends and new regulations.

Would working as an analyst suit your critical thinking skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an analyst role.

analysts jobs

average salary of an analyst

According to ONS, an analyst receives an average salary of £38,009 per year in the UK. That means you earn £19.49 per hour on average. At an entry-level position, your salary is around £29,828 per year. Experienced analysts usually take home a salary of £55,462 annually. The industry and the employer largely influence the pay rate. That is why financial analysts earn more than market and business analysts. The average pay for financial analysts ranges from £54,000 to £78,750 per year. The high salary rates are because businesses rely on financial data for commercial decision-making.

how to increase your analyst salary

As an analyst, your salary depends on your qualifications and experience level. When you have a postgraduate qualification, your earnings are higher than someone with an undergraduate degree. Having entry-level experience attracts a trainee's salary, while those with five years of experience earn high-end salaries. Your specialisation can also influence your salary rates. That's why financial analysts receive better pay compared to general analysts.

Your location can influence your earning potential. Most large cities are financial hubs and have large businesses that rely on data analysts to make decisions. Therefore, analysts in cities have higher earning potential than those working in smaller towns.

smiling female looking away from computer that shows data
smiling female looking away from computer that shows data

types of analysts

There are many types of analysts in different industries. Each position is unique, with different job responsibilities. Some of the most common types of analysts include:

  • business analyst: as a business analyst, your focus is on generating reports and key performance index metrics. You report directly to VPs, directors and managers. Business analysts also meet with clients to discover problems and develop solutions.
  • research analyst: as a research analyst, you create investigative reports on assets or securities for a client or for in-house use. Research analysts have a high level of accuracy and the ability to recognise trends and patterns.
  • financial analysts: as a finance analyst, you review monetary and economic analyses for internal use or external clients. You offer insight and guidance to individuals or organisations making investment decisions.
  • marketing analyst: marketing analysts monitor and improve marketing efforts using different marketing tools. They often work for PR firms and communications groups.
  • support analyst: as a support analyst, you work in customer service operations and often handle refund policies, support help centres and deliver feedback on products.

working as an analyst

As an analyst, you collect and analyse information using various tools and help your employer make the right business decisions. Let's explore the roles and responsibilities of an analyst.



education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for analysts include:

  • university: to become an analyst, you need a degree in mathematics, statistics, economics or operational research. Pursuing a course with industry experience or work placements increases your chance of landing a job. You can also do a conversion postgraduate degree in a relevant field.
  • college: a T Level in digital business service is a great place to start your career as an analyst. It gives you the competencies and knowledge to land a trainee role in any company.
  • apprenticeship: start your career through a data technician advanced apprenticeship. When you finish, you can become a junior data analyst. If you want to specialise in data analytics, you will find data scientist degree apprenticeship programmes.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of an analyst include:

  • industry knowledge: as an analyst, you need specific industry knowledge to identify patterns and trends. For instance, if you want to work in finance or healthcare analytics, you require a background in the field. Familiarity with issues in the industry gives you an advantage.
  • problem-solving skills: an analyst needs exceptional problem-solving skills to handle challenges during analysis. Critical thinking skills are also important to allow you to focus on the appropriate data and identify gaps in your work.
  • communication skills: you make presentations to top-level executives and managers. You need exceptional speaking skills to communicate with stakeholders and managers. Written communication skills are also crucial for writing reports.
  • technical skills: as an analyst, you need knowledge of database languages, spreadsheets and data visualisation software. You also require skills in statistical methods to help you organise, gather and analyse data.
female and male colleagues talking while standing behind monitors showing data
female and male colleagues talking while standing behind monitors showing data


FAQs about working as an analyst

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