Operations Research Analyst

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Job Outlook:
Much faster than average
Growth % to 2032: 22.5 %
Education: Bachelor's degree
High: $149,640.00
Average: $95,820.00
Average: $46.07

What they do:

Formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decisionmaking, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. May collect and analyze data and develop decision support software, services, or products. May develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation.

On the job, you would:

  • Formulate mathematical or simulation models of problems, relating constants and variables, restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters.
  • Perform validation and testing of models to ensure adequacy, and reformulate models, as necessary.
  • Collaborate with senior managers and decision makers to identify and solve a variety of problems and to clarify management objectives.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Operations research analysts use a range of methods, including forecasting and data mining, to examine and interpret data.

Communication skills. Operations research analysts write memos, reports, and other documents and often present their data and conclusions to managers and other executives. They must be able to convey technical information in a way that is understandable to nontechnical audiences.

Critical-thinking skills. Operations research analysts must be able to organize information and make connections between ideas and facts.

Interpersonal skills. Operations research analysts typically work on teams. They also need to be able to persuade managers and executives to accept their recommendations.

Math skills. The models and methods used by operations research analysts are rooted in statistics, calculus, linear algebra, and other mathematics disciplines.

Problem-solving skills. Operations research analysts need to be able to diagnose problems and study relevant information to solve them.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

100% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
89% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
88% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
84% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
84% Innovation  -  Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
83% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
83% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
81% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
77% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
75% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
71% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
65% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
A3 Your Strengths Importance


89% Investigative  -  Work involves studying and researching non-living objects, living organisms, disease or other forms of impairment, or human behavior. Investigative occupations are often associated with physical, life, medical, or social sciences, and can be found in the fields of humanities, mathematics/statistics, information technology, or health care service.
72% Conventional  -  Work involves following procedures and regulations to organize information or data, typically in a business setting. Conventional occupations are often associated with office work, accounting, mathematics/statistics, information technology, finance, or human resources.
61% Enterprising  -  Work involves managing, negotiating, marketing, or selling, typically in a business setting, or leading or advising people in political and legal situations. Enterprising occupations are often associated with business initiatives, sales, marketing/advertising, finance, management/administration, professional advising, public speaking, politics, or law.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

83% Achievement  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
78% Independence  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
70% Working Conditions  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
67% Recognition  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

94% Mathematical Reasoning  -  The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
81% Number Facility  -  The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
81% Inductive Reasoning  -  The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
81% Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
78% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
78% Deductive Reasoning  -  The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
75% Written Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
75% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
72% Information Ordering  -  The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
69% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
69% Fluency of Ideas  -  The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
69% Originality  -  The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
69% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Skills | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

68% Mathematics  -  Using mathematics to solve problems.

Job Details

Present research results to others.
Train others on work processes.
Develop scientific or mathematical models.
Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues.
Analyze data to identify or resolve operational problems.
Develop scientific or mathematical models.
Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues.
Evaluate data quality.
Apply mathematical principles or statistical approaches to solve problems in scientific or applied fields.
Determine appropriate methods for data analysis.
Analyze project data to determine specifications or requirements.
Document operational activities.
Apply mathematical principles or statistical approaches to solve problems in scientific or applied fields.
Analyze data to identify trends or relationships among variables.
Determine appropriate methods for data analysis.
Conduct research to gain information about products or processes.
Troubleshoot issues with computer applications or systems.
Design computer modeling or simulation programs.
Develop detailed project plans.
Manage budgets for appropriate resource allocation.
Apply information technology to solve business or other applied problems.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

100% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
100% Indoors, Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
94% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
91% Spend Time Sitting  -  How much does this job require sitting?
90% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
89% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
86% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
84% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
83% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
79% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
67% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
87% Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

98% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
96% Analyzing Data or Information  -  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
94% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
90% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
89% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
85% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
83% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
83% Thinking Creatively  -  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
79% Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others  -  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
75% Providing Consultation and Advice to Others  -  Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
71% Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information  -  Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
70% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
70% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
68% Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships  -  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

What Operations Research Analysts Do

Operations research analysts
Operations research analysts advise managers and other decision makers on the appropriate course of action to solve a problem.

Operations research analysts use mathematics and logic to help organizations make informed decisions and solve problems.


Operations research analysts typically do the following:

  • Identify problems in areas such as business, logistics, healthcare, or other fields
  • Collect and organize information from a variety of sources, such as databases, sales histories, and customer feedback
  • Gather input from workers or subject-matter experts
  • Analyze collected data and extract information relevant to the problem being addressed
  • Develop and test quantitative models, support software, and analytical tools
  • Write memos, reports, and other documents explaining their findings and recommendations for managers, executives, and other officials

Operations research analysts may be involved in many aspects of an organization. For example, they may help managers decide how to allocate resources, develop production schedules, oversee the supply chain, and set prices.

To begin a project, analysts first identify the problem to be solved or the processes to be improved. They typically collect data and interview clients, workers, or others involved in the business processes being examined.

Analysts then break down the problem into its various parts using statistical and database software and analytical techniques, such as forecasting and data mining. They also study the effect that different changes and circumstances would have on each of these parts. For example, to help an airline schedule flights and set ticket prices, analysts may take into account the cities involved, the amount and cost of fuel required, the expected number of passengers, the pilots’ schedules, and the maintenance costs.

Operations research analysts provide alternatives to pursuing different actions and may assist in achieving a consensus on how to proceed. They weigh the costs and benefits of alternative solutions or approaches in their recommendations to managers.

Work Environment

Operations research analysts held about 109,900 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of operations research analysts were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services 25%
Finance and insurance 24
Management of companies and enterprises 9
Federal government 5
Manufacturing 5

Some operations research analysts in the federal government work for the Department of Defense, which also employs analysts through private consulting firms.

Operations research analysts spend much of their time in office settings. They may travel to gather information, observe business processes, work with clients, or attend conferences.

Work Schedules

Most operations research analysts work full time.

Getting Started

Entry Level Education:
Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation:
On The Job Training:
Master's Degree
Bachelor's Degree

How to Become an Operations Research Analyst

Operations research analysts
Operations research analysts typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation.

Operations research analysts typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. Some employers require or prefer that applicants have a master’s degree. Analysts may need a degree in operations research or a related field, such as applied mathematics.


Operations research analysts typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, but some jobs require a master’s degree. Fields of degree may include operations research or a related field, such as business, mathematics, engineering, or computer science.

Because operations research is based on quantitative analysis, students need extensive coursework in mathematics. Coursework in computer science is important because analysts rely on statistical and database software to assess and model data.

Other Experience

Some operations research analysts are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Certain positions may require applicants to undergo a background check in order to obtain a security clearance.

Job Outlook

Employment of operations research analysts is projected to grow 23 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 9,800 openings for operations research analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


As technology advances and companies and government agencies seek efficiency and cost savings, demand for operations research analysis should continue to grow. In addition, increasing demand should occur for these workers in the field of analytics to improve business planning and decision making.

Technological advances have made it faster and easier for organizations to get data. Operations research analysts manage and evaluate data to improve business operations, supply chains, pricing models, and marketing. In addition, improvements in analytical software have made operations research more affordable and applicable to a wider range of areas. More companies are expected to employ operations research analysts to help them turn data into information that managers use to make decisions about all aspects of their business.

Contacts for More Information

For more information about operations research analysts, visit

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

Military Operations Research Society

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Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.