As a statistician or data analyst, you would collect and analyse numerical information, and
present your results in the form of graphs, charts, diagrams, tables and reports. It would
be your job to identify trends and create models in order to forecast or estimate what
might happen in the future.
Your work as a statistician could be used in a number of areas, including:
local and national government
business, finance and insurance
crime analysis and forensics
In the public sector you could work for government agencies, research councils, and
universities. Working for the government, for example, you might collect, analyse and
publish information on population trends, the economy, the labour market, transport and
crime. The information you produce would then be used to advise ministers and inform the
press and the wider population.
In other industries or sectors, you might be involved in:
looking for trends and patterns to help companies make business decisions
analysing market research and trends in consumer feedback
predicting demand for services or goods
checking quality control standards in areas such as drug and food testing.
For most jobs in statistics you will need a degree in statistics, mathematics or another
numerate subject such as economics, operational research, psychology or a medical
To get on to a maths-based degree course, you will usually need five GCSEs (A-C) plus
at least two A levels including maths. Check with colleges or universities for exact entry
requirements. You can search for degree courses through the Universities and Colleges
Admissions Service (UCAS) website.
Universities and Colleges Admissions Service
Some four-year, 'sandwich' degree courses include a year in the workplace. The
experience you gain during this time could give you an advantage when applying for work.
The Civil Service website includes further advice on work experience and sandwich
As an alternative to a degree, you could take a qualification such as the Royal Statistical
Society (RSS) Graduate Diploma in Statistics.
Royal Statistical Society
Some employers may also prefer you to have a postgraduate qualification (such as a
Masters degree or PhD) and knowledge of statistical software packages (for example,
Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS)).
Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
The Government Statistical Service (GSS) runs a Fast-Stream Assistant Statistician
recruitment scheme for high calibre graduates with a first or second class honours degree
in a numerate subject. The GSS also recruits graduates (and those with equivalent and
relevant experience) into the roles of statistical officer and temporary statistical officer,
which can be a route into a permanent job in statistics. See the GSS website for more
details on recruitment criteria.
Government Statistical Service
Your work would typically be office-based but might involve travelling to other locations to
collect data. You would generally work around 40 hours a week, and occasionally longer
to meet project deadlines.
Skills and Knowledge
a high level of mathematical ability
good IT skills
the ability to analyse and interpret data
strong problem solving skills
a methodical and logical approach
the ability to plan work and meet deadlines
a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
good interpersonal skills to work as part of a team
excellent written and spoken communication skills.
Training and Development
As a new statistician, you would typically receive on-the-job training from your employer
and work under the supervision of experienced staff in preparation for taking on your own
projects and more responsibility.
You may also be encouraged to work towards Royal Statistical Society (RSS)
qualifications, which are available at three levels: Ordinary Certificate, Higher Certificate
and Graduate Diploma.
The RSS also awards Chartered Statistician (CStat) status to people with an honours
degree or higher degree in statistics, plus at least four years' practical experience. See the
RSS website for details.
If you do not already have a postgraduate qualification, you could study on a part-time
basis towards a relevant Masters degree or PhD.
Royal Statistical Society (RSS)
12 Errol Street
Tel: 020 7638 8998
The Government Statistical Services (GSS) is the biggest recruiter of statisticians in the
UK, with over 1,000 staff in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and other government
Note: the UK Statistics Authority website, that deals with recruitment on behalf of the
GSS, states the only recruitment scheme taking place within the GSS is for Fast-Stream
Assistant Statisticians. There is a complete recruitment ban for Statistical Officers for the
UK Statistics Authority
You may be able to find opportunities in universities, research institutes, the NHS, the
pharmaceutical industry and in business.
Outside the GSS, companies are likely to employ only a few statisticians, so you may
need to change employers to further your career.
With experience, you could progress into management, move into academic research, or
choose to work as a freelance consultant.
You may find the following useful for job vacancies and further reading: (links open in new
RSS (job vacancy links)
ONS (job vacancy page)
UK Statistics Authority (GSS Recruitment pages)
We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.
Starting salaries for assistant statisticians can be between £20,000 and £27,000 a
With experience this can rise to around £40,000 to £53,000.
Chief statisticians can earn up to £70,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
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