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Jobs Outlook: Statisticians




Employment of statisticians is projected to grow more slowly than average for all occupations over the 2004-14 period, because many jobs that require a degree in statistics will not carry the title “statistician.” However, job opportunities should remain favorable for individuals with a degree in statistics. For example, many jobs involve the analysis and interpretation of data from economics, biological science, psychology, computer software engineering, and other disciplines. Despite the limited number of jobs resulting from growth, a number of openings will become available as statisticians transfer to other occupations or retire or leave the workforce for other reasons.

The use of statistics is widespread and growing. Among graduates with a master’s degree in statistics, those with a strong background in an allied field, such as finance, biology, engineering, or computer science, should have the best prospects of finding jobs related to their field of study. Federal agencies will hire statisticians in many fields, including demography, agriculture, consumer and producer surveys, Social Security, health care, and environmental quality. Because the Federal Government is one of the few employers that considers a bachelor’s degree an adequate entry-level qualification, competition for entry-level positions in the Federal Government is expected to be strong for persons just meeting the minimum qualifications for statisticians. Those who meet State certification requirements may become high school statistics teachers. (For additional information, see the statement on teachers—preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary elsewhere in the Handbook.)

Manufacturing firms will hire statisticians with master’s and doctoral degrees for quality control of various products, including pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, aircraft, chemicals, and food. For example, pharmaceutical firms will employ statisticians to assess the effectiveness and safety of new drugs, to decide whether to market them, and to make sure they comply with federal standards. To address global product competition, motor vehicle manufacturers will need statisticians to improve the quality of automobiles, trucks, and their components by developing and testing new designs. Statisticians with knowledge of engineering and the physical sciences will find jobs in research and development, working with teams of scientists and engineers to help improve design and production processes to ensure consistent quality of newly developed products. Many statisticians also will find opportunities developing statistical software for computer software manufacturing firms.

Firms will rely heavily on workers with a background in statistics to forecast sales, analyze business conditions, and help to solve management problems to maximize profits. In addition, consulting firms increasingly will offer sophisticated statistical services to other businesses. Because of the widespread use of computers in this field and the growing number of widely used software packages, statisticians in all industries should have good computer programming skills and knowledge of statistical software.