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Occupation Details

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Operations Research Analyst

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

Related Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience plus specialist training to be able to do their job.

Job Training
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. They may also require very specialist skills. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

€25k > 65
Operational Researcher
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€25 - 65
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

Employment growth was strong for this occupation and there is evidence that employers are finding it difficult to find suitable candidates in the available labour market. Demand appears to relate primarily to the IT and financial sectors.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category

Consultants, Business Analysts & Project Managers

Also included in this category:

Business and management consultants; financial risk analysts; project managers; research support officers.

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 11%
Male / Female: 50 / 50%
Non-Nationals: 17%
With Third Level: 94%
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At a Glance... header image

Uses scientific and mathematical methods to analyse management problems.

Videos & Interviews header image

The Work header image

Operational researchers look closely at how organisations work. They use their findings to help managers improve systems and processes, and solve any problems. Researchers use a logical, scientific approach to their work. They may deal with long-term plans for an organisation, or help with more immediate decisions.  
Operational researchers use their skills in many different situations. For example, they may help a supermarket to decide where to locate a new superstore, forecast demand for a new airline, or help a manufacturing company to decide how many people it needs to recruit. They may plan how to re-route a bus service or change stock control procedures.  
The researchers' main tasks are to define problems, set out their aims and expectations, collect and examine as much information as possible, and then come up with clear, practical solutions.  
First, a researcher may carry out a survey or study to examine the problem from every angle. Then, they produce one or more plans, helping managers to see the advantages and disadvantages of each one. Researchers often use mathematics, statistics or computing to arrive at their solutions. A typical technique is to convert the organisation's system into a mathematical model. Researchers often use computers to test solutions against data.  
Operational researchers work with people at all levels throughout the organisation, interviewing them to find out their needs, concerns and opinions.  
At the end of the survey, operational researchers present their reports to company directors or senior managers; they recommend any changes. Operational researchers can also play a very important role in putting into practice the ideas and solutions they have suggested.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Formulate mathematical or simulation models of problems, relating constants and variables, restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters.


Collaborate with senior managers and decision makers to identify and solve a variety of problems and to clarify management objectives.


Collaborate with others in the organization to ensure successful implementation of chosen problem solutions.


Prepare management reports defining and evaluating problems and recommending solutions.


Study and analyze information about alternative courses of action to determine which plan will offer the best outcomes.


Specify manipulative or computational methods to be applied to models.


Perform validation and testing of models to ensure adequacy and reformulate models as necessary.


Define data requirements and gather and validate information, applying judgment and statistical tests.


Analyze information obtained from management to conceptualize and define operational problems.


Observe the current system in operation and gather and analyze information about each of the parts of component problems, using a variety of sources.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Provide Consultation and Advice to Others: Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.


Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.


Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


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.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.


English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.


Production and Processing: Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Operations Analysis: Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.


Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.


Systems Evaluation: Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Systems Analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

You should enjoy solving problems, and have a logical, methodical and analytical mind. You'll also need to be creative and imaginative, to think up several solutions to a problem.  
Operational researchers need strong mathematical skills and the ability to use computers to construct models, combined with a good awareness of how business and industry work.  
Good communication skills will help you to work closely with people at all levels throughout an organisation, and to present your findings and proposals to management teams. These skills should include the ability to write clear, concise reports.  
You'll need negotiating skills and persuasive abilities to present the case for your suggestions.  
Operational researchers should be able to cope with pressure, as they often work to deadlines.

Entry Routesheader image

A wide range of Level 8 degree subjects may be acceptable for this job role, in particular -  maths, statistics, economics, engineering, computer studies, and business studies. Certain 'numerate' social sciences, such as psychology are also valued.  
Operational research courses are sometimes offered as options within other degrees, especially computing, mathematics/statistics and production management.   
Postgraduate programmes which include operational researchare available, such as MSc in Management of Operations (DCU) MSc in Business Analytics (UCD).  
Some employers have graduate training schemes, which may include the opportunity to study towards an MSc on a part-time basis. On the job training is common with most employers in this area.

Last Updated: October, 2014

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Operational Researcher - from: N.C.S. [UK]

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Contactsheader image


Organisation: Management Science Society of Ireland
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