Are you looking for a career that allows you to work independently in a challenging and fast-paced setting where every project is different and results equal success? If this sounds like the type of work you would enjoy, then you might be a great fit for a career as a pricing analyst. Here, you can learn more about the job opportunities for pricing analysts, along with potential salary, job duties and the education and training required to pursue this occupation.
Pricing analysts help their employers achieve the best possible bottom line by utilizing data to make sound decisions on purchases, manufacturing operations and sales activities. These professionals spend their days crunching numbers while gathering and analyzing data to determine the best possible price for selling and buying goods, without going below or above profitable levels.
Pricing analysts use statistical processes and analytics to develop prices, margins and market share. They might work with data supplied by the sales or marketing team, competitor information and other data sources. Pricing analysts are often called upon to create reports and detailed analyses of product sales and margins, and to identify opportunities to increase them.
Every company needs to realize a profit. Pricing analysis helps businesses do this by increasing supply chain management efficiencies and helping stakeholders make informed decisions. Pricing analysts use their specialized skills to review past performance, analyze current operations and recommend alternative courses of action.
In a typical day, a skilled pricing analyst can make a direct impact on a company’s bottom line in several ways. He or she might create forecasts that demonstrate alternative, money-saving methods of buying materials, manufacturing products or distributing goods. Pricing analysts often recommend new markets to break into or demonstrate that current customers are willing to pay a higher price for the company’s products.
Along with their own number crunching and reporting, pricing analysts often show other departments how to run more efficiently and meet their business objectives. Companies that work with government agencies rely on pricing analysts to ensure they are in compliance with purchasing and contracting regulations – thus, avoiding expensive errors and fines.
Pricing analysts are employed by the world’s largest companies, medium sized businesses as well as small, local businesses in every corner of the globe. Pricing analysts are often recruited by manufacturers and distributors, pharmaceutical companies, utilities providers, aerospace and defense contractors and information technology firms.
The path to a supply chain pricing analyst career starts when you determine the education you’ll need to land your first job in the field. Of course, it’s important to know what education and training employers seek in their candidates. While specific requirements will vary, most pricing analyst jobs will require a college degree at minimum.
Associate’s Degree: Entry-level pricing analyst jobs may be attainable with a two-year associate’s degree, plus demonstrated technical skills and knowledge of databases and statistical and data-mining software. Any career advancement will likely require a bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor’s Degree: Most employers recruiting for pricing analyst positions will require at least a four-year bachelor’s degree, typically with a focus on finance, marketing, supply chain management, information systems, mathematics or economics. Senior and executive level positions typically require an advanced degree, additional work experience, or both.
Master’s Degree: For management positions, employers often show preference to candidates with a Master of Science in Supply Chain Management. These advanced degrees typically take an additional one to two years beyond the bachelor’s level.
It can also be beneficial to have knowledge about an employer’s industry. Individuals fluent in a foreign language typically have increased job opportunities with international companies.
Completing a degree program is the first big step to preparing for a pricing analyst position. Employers, however, will also be assessing your experience, technical skills and other abilities to ensure you’ll add value to the company.
A pricing analyst needs to be able to manipulate, validate and creatively analyze large sets of data. They need systems analysis skills and the aptitude to learn new software applications quickly. Many employers prefer those who have experience with statistical spreadsheet and database packages, as well. Pricing analysts often work closely with other teams, such as marketing, finance, sales, corporate strategy and business development, making interpersonal skills very important.
In addition, employers hiring pricing analysts often list the following requirements:
Advancing as a supply chain pricing analyst is often dependent upon work experience, additional education, or both. Some employers may offer tuition assistance that could enable you to study for a bachelor’s or master’s degree while you remain employed with the company.
A 2012 national survey by the U.S. Department of Labor indicated the median annual salary for pricing analysts was $58,760. Because salary potential may vary depending on location, education and experience, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.
If you thrive in a fast-paced environment and enjoy math, business and data analysis, you could have a bright future as a pricing analyst. Start by planning your educational path, according to your personal interests and the degrees and skills employers are currently seeking.