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Operational researcher Management scientist

Operational researchers analyse how organisations can improve the way they work.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £80,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need a degree in management science, operational research (OR), maths or another relevant subject like statistics.

You could also get into OR if you have industry experience, like in research and development or project management.

A postgraduate degree in OR or management science could also help you get into this career.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent maths and IT skills
  • the ability to analyse and prioritise complex information
  • excellent written and spoken communication skills
  • research skills
  • the ability to explain complex ideas

3. What you'll do

You'll use advanced mathematical and business theories to help your organisation work more effectively. OR work can range from air traffic control scheduling to measuring player performance in a professional sports team.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • observing staff and managers, and interviewing them about their jobs
  • collecting and analysing data, using mathematical and statistical methods
  • applying business theories
  • identifying areas for improvement and recommending changes
  • advising managers on making changes
  • checking to see how changes are working
  • setting up and testing solutions to problems, using statistical and computer forecasting
  • presenting findings to the organisation

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £28,000

Experienced: £35,000 to £60,000

Highly Experienced: £80,000 (senior managers or consultants)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work around 37 to 40 hours a week.

You could work in an office or work from home. You'll need to travel to visit clients.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could become a project or team leader, then manager of an OR department.

You could also become self-employed as a management consultant.

Joining a professional body like the Operational Research Society may improve your career prospects.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017