Statistical Consultant Job Profile

Statistical consultants are experts at gathering, analysis and uses of data. They're the "engineers" of statistics and data management. This is a very diverse field, generally based on statistical and demographic principles, but often highly specialized, working in specific areas of industry.

The Career Environment

Statistical consultancy in its modern form is a development of the original role of the statistician and demographer. The career mode of this work overlaps all these major fields of information management. Career options apply across all three areas, but career advancement tends to be across particular forms of consultancy and types of industry.

The Work Environment

A statistical consultancy may be a private agency or part of an academic institution, operating on a commercial basis as a consulting agency. These agencies act as advisory consultancies in many ways, but are also concerned with the  fundamental processes of data management and quality. Like engineers, they design many of the data management systems and the methods of gathering and using data.

The work is often concerned with problem solving  in data management as statistical analysis. Much of a statistical consultant's role is organizing surveys to obtain information for the client. That's a very simple definition. The raw data must be made useful and well organized for proper analysis. This is the statistical consultant's role, and it's often far from easy. The consultancy process with the client starts by defining:

  • The client's information needs
  • The client's data issues
  • The technical issues in data gathering, modeling, and the operational requirements for data usage.

The statistical consultant has to plan and organize:

  • Sampling methods: Obtaining information from representative samples in the target sector.
  • Information requirements: Defining what information is required.
  • Demography: The sector analytical categories.
  • Sampling schematics: Literally, how the data is assembled, sampled, and used.
  • Data systems: How to manage the data. Large number crunching exercises require excellent data systems and may involve unique types of information which require special methods of management.
  • Data analysis: Establishing methods of analysis. There may be multiple forms of analysis required to deal with different data sets, and correlate information effectively.
  • Data quality: Ensuring data is being correctly sampled.
  • Reporting functions: Creating an efficient reporting system to produce meaningful information.

The end product of the survey must meet all information requirements of the client. Some statistical consultants even provide tools for forecasting issues based on their data management systems, and training for client staff.

Salary and Hours

The salary of a statistical consultant ranges from $85,000 to $113,000. However, the variations will be much much wider for independent consultants. They usually work standard hours but the hours can increase due to client commitments, contracts, and workloads.