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
Specific salary data for data analysts is not tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of January 2023. However, the BLS lists the median salary range for data scientists as between $59,430 and $167,040. Given that data scientist is often a higher role than data analyst, the average salary for a data analyst may fall closer to the entry-level end of the scope. Bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing may increase this number.
Data analyst salary trends
Data analysts are in high demand. According to a research study done by Burning Glass Technologies in 2017, 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.
Burning Glass’ research report states that in 2015, 76% of data analyst job postings requested candidates with at least three years of experience. 6% requested applicants with a master’s degree or higher. Burning Glass also found that at the time, DSA jobs openings came with an average annual salary of just over $80,000.
These findings become more intriguing when compared with the BLS’s May 2021 employment survey. By their estimations, the median salary for data scientists and related occupations has reached $100,910 on a national level. On top of that, they list a bachelor’s degree as the level of education often needed to acquire an entry-level position.
So it appears as if the average annual salary for data analysts 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. That may make gaining experience and earning more advanced degrees important to the careers of budding data analysts across the country.
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
Given that the BLS expects data science employment to grow by 36% through 2031, new data analysts may be entering a competitive job market. Acquiring new skills and building dynamic resumes can give them leverage in the constantly evolving world of data analytics.
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.
In 2021, the BLS found that while insurance was still a top data analyst and data scientist employer, four other industries were jumping on the recruitment bandwagon:
- Computer systems design
- Company and enterprise management firms
- Scientific, technical, and management consulting firms
- Research and development services
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 — one that may lead a data analyst closer to the high end of the BLS’s data scientist salary range. Similarly, climbing the corporate ladder to manage a whole data analytics department could open new professional and financial opportunities.
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for data scientists reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2023.