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Jobs Outlook: Operations Research Analysts




Employment of operations research analysts is expected to grow more slowly than average for all occupations through 2014, reflecting slow growth in the number of jobs with the title “operations research analyst.” Job opportunities in operations research should be good, however, because organizations throughout the economy will strive to improve their productivity, effectiveness, and competitiveness and because of the extensive availability of data, computers, and software. Many jobs in operations research have other titles, such as operations analyst, management analyst, systems analyst, and computer scientist. Individuals who hold a master’s or Ph.D. degree in operations research, management science, or a closely related field should find good job opportunities because the number of openings generated by employment growth and the need to replace those leaving the occupation is expected to exceed the number of persons graduating with these credentials.

Organizations face pressure today from growing domestic and international competition and must work to make their operations as effective as possible. As a result, businesses increasingly will rely on operations research analysts to optimize profits by improving productivity and reducing costs. As new technology is introduced into the marketplace, operations research analysts will be needed to determine how to utilize the technology in the best way.

Opportunities for operations research analysts exist in almost every industry because of the diversity of applications for their work. As businesses and government agencies continue to contract out jobs to cut costs, opportunities for operations research analysts will be best in management, scientific, and technical consulting firms. Opportunities in the military will exist as well, but will depend on the size of future military budgets. Military leaders will rely on operations research analysts to test and evaluate the accuracy and effectiveness of new weapons systems and strategies. (See the Handbook statement on job opportunities in the Armed Forces.)