Business analyst salary guide
A business analyst can fill different roles in different organizations, but generally speaking the job is thought of as a bridge between the business side of a company and the IT department. A full guide to business analyst trends, career development, required skills and qualifications, and future outlook can be viewed here. As the power of information becomes increasingly evident and is held in higher regard by today’s organizations, those with the knowledge and skills to translate data into sound business decisions have become more valuable. Business analyst salaries have been on the rise as a result up to now.
Business analyst salary overview
The average salary for business analysts is approximately $59,500 per year, according to PayScale.com. Bonuses, commissions and profit sharing can add about another $13,000 on average. Glassdoor.com puts the average business analyst salary at $69,000. Indeed.com calculates the average business analyst salary at $75,000, and SalaryList.com at $69,500.
Business analyst salary trends
Business analyst positions have become somewhat more difficult than average for employers to fill because these skills are in high demand. According to a research study done by Burning Glass Technologies, there were 2.35 million job listings for all positions categorized as data science and analytics (DSA) in 2015, and the prediction is that number will have increased to 2.72 million jobs by 2021. That’s an annual growth rate of 15% over 5 years. Within the broader DSA category, business analyst positions are expected to grow about 17% annually. The pressure that this staff demand puts on salaries is real, and employers are having to adapt their pay scales quickly.
Robert Half Technologies’ 2019 Salary Guide provides average beginning salaries for new hires in data analysis across different percentiles to indicate experience level of those new hires. This data shows the least experienced candidates hired were given an average annual starting salary in the $85,000 range. Those applicants with the most experience are being offered nearly $178,000 on average to start. This implies that employers are placing much more emphasis on hiring the most experienced business analysts rather than getting entry-level people to fill their staffing needs. In fact, Burning Glass found that 71% of new job openings for business analysts required at least three years experience.
Business analyst salaries as experience increases
Business analyst salaries are highly dependent upon the experience level of the job candidates, particularly in the first ten years of a professional’s career. PayScale.com reports that average salaries for candidates with five to nine years experience garner salaries on average about 20-25% higher than entry-level employees. On the other hand, the most veteran data analysts with 20+ years experience were being paid nearly the same salaries as workers with between five and nine years under their belts.
Specific skills that tend to increase compensation for data analysts include:
- Data analysis
- Business analysis
- Process improvement
- Microsoft Office
Industries most in need of business analysts
According to Burning Glass, there are three economic sectors employing 59% of all DSA employees. These industries are finance and insurance, professional services, and IT. For business analysts in particular, professional services companies hire 23% of the workforce, while finance and insurance companies hire 34%. Other important industries for business analysts are manufacturing and health care. The three highest paying industries for business analysts are professional services ($69,000 average), finance and insurance (average $72,000), and manufacturing (average $73,000).
Highest paying companies for business analysts
SalaryList.com lists some of the higher paying employers of data analysts to include:
- Integrated Resources Newark, NJ $110,000
- Yasme Soft Irving, TX $94,000
- Aptlus San Mateo, CA $95,000
- Pamlem New York, NY $125,000
Business analyst career paths and salary impact
Although business analysts don’t appear high on the corporate ladder, these are often key positions in companies that take business data and its potential to improve operations seriously, particularly smaller companies. And today, if a company doesn’t take full advantage of its data, it probably won’t be around for long. Because the role of a business analyst is often so integral to understanding the key aspects of any business, these positions can be, and usually are used as launching pads for much bigger things. Migrating to more advanced analytical roles is typical, as is moving up the corporate ladder into management roles.
The one caveat to the business analyst role in modern business is that technology is evolving so quickly, particularly in data mining and artificial intelligence, that the traditional business analyst may be at risk of becoming irrelevant. For as long as business analysts are still in high demand, and they still are, one bit of advice to entry-level analysts would be to advance their analytical and/or programming skills as quickly as possible. This will enable them to transition to more technically advanced roles with lower risks of long-term obsolescence, such as data science.