Data analyst salary guide
The data analyst position has been called the “swiss army knife” of data science. Depending on the employer, data analysts are asked to bring sense and direction to accumulated data in just about every form and for just about every end purpose. It’s a key foundational position in data science, and one that is currently in tremendous demand. A full guide to data analyst trends, career development, required skills and qualifications, and future outlook can be viewed here. Because of the tremendous need for data analysis, how much data analysts can add to a company’s bottom line by directing more intelligent business decisions, and the shortage of job candidates as compared to the current and expected demand, data analyst salaries are strong and continuing to escalate.
Data analyst salary overview
The average salary for data analysts is approximately $59,500 per year, according to PayScale.com. Bonuses, commissions and profit sharing can add about another $10,400 on average. SalaryList.com shows data analyst average salary at $72,000, ranging from $30,000 to $625,000. And Salary.com calculates average annual salary for data analysts at about $75,000. Glassdoor.com puts the average data analyst salary at $67,000.
Data analyst salary trends
Data analysts 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. The company’s research leads them to predict that number will have increased to 2.72 million jobs by 2021. That’s a rate of increase of 15% per annum over 5 years. The fastest growing specialties within the broader DSA category are data scientists and advanced analysts. 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 were being given an average annual salary in the $80,000 range. Those applicants with the most experience are being offered nearly $140,000 on average. This indicates that, despite demand for data analysts growing more quickly than availability, employers are increasingly looking for more experienced new hires. Burning Glass’ Quant Crunch research report states that in 2015, 76% of data analyst job postings requested candidates with at least three years of experience, and 6% requested applicants with a master’s degree or higher. The average annual salary is increasing rapidly, but the numbers are being skewed by changes in experience demands. Apparently, entry-level data analysts are not being requested as often, contributing to the increase in average salaries.
Data analyst salaries as experience increases
Data 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 24% higher than entry-level employees. On the other hand, the most veteran data analysts with 20+ years experience were only enjoying about 6% more income than workers with between five and nine years under their belts.
Specific skills that tend to increase compensation for data analysts include:
- Data analysis
- Database management and reporting
- Statistical analysis
Industries most in need of data 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. These are the industries that drive big data demand in the economy, so it’s not surprising this where data analysts are being utilized most. For data analysts in particular, professional services companies hire 34% of the workforce, while finance and insurance companies hire 25%. The three highest paying industries for data analysts are professional services ($75,000 average), finance and insurance (average $83,000), and manufacturing (average $73,000).
Geographic variations in data analyst salaries
General cost of living and economic conditions vary across the United States, from state to state and city to city. These variations have a consistent impact on pay scales in nearly all career categories, with few exceptions. These exceptions tend to be in newer job types, or in industries that are experiencing major disruptions of some sort, whether temporary or more cyclical in nature. While the data science industry in general, and data analysts in particular, are increasingly experiencing labor shortages, salaries for data analysts at present tend to fluctuate geographically in near lockstep to average salaries across all job descriptions. National cost of living changes by geography can be viewed at moneygeek.com.
Highest paying companies for data analysts
SalaryList.com lists some of the higher paying employers of data analysts to include:
- Microsoft Redmond, WA $125,000-$134,000
- Exzac New York, NY $118,000
- Hallmark Global Technologies Hauppauge, NY $102,000
- Nicholis State University Wichita, KS $120,000
- Pure Storage Mountain View, CA $120,000
- Ulab Chicago, IL $91,000-$100,000
This view is, of course, skewed by sample sizes, as four of the six companies listed included only one or two hires in the data. Those select positions were almost certainly filled by highly experienced and skilled candidates deserving of high compensation.
Data analyst career paths and salary impact
One of the big advantages of a career in data analysis is that there are so many different directions a data analyst professional can migrate from this base. Moving into specific types of data analytics in specific industries is an easy progression. Popular specialties today are social media data analytics, insurance underwriting and actuarial analytics, business product analytics, and fraud, credit or sales analytics.
One lucrative option is to leverage data analyst skills into more technically sophisticated roles. Learning to conceptualize, design and write the programs that create the data pools data analysts massage will give a data analyst career a significant financial boost. Data scientists and advanced analysts, for instance, have been found by Burning Glass to make about 25%-35% more than data analysts.
Climbing straight up the corporate ladder, to data analytics management positions, is an even more lucrative career path for data analysts. Burning Glass reported that data analytics managers tended to be paid in the range of 50% more than data analysts, and often considerably more.