How to Become a Forecast Analyst


A career as a forecast analyst could be a great fit for you if you want to play a pivotal role in helping a company become or remain profitable, and you’re not afraid to face frequent deadlines.


This field can offer great pay, a chance to put your skills in data analysis and knowledge in economics to use, as well as plenty of room for career advancement.


So, if you'd like to know more about the ins and outs of this field then read on; we’ll fill you in on what you would be doing for a living, how much you could earn, and what you’ll need to become a forecast analyst!



What is a Forecast Analyst?

A forecast analyst is an economics specialist who works to determine the optimal production levels and potential future sales of a company. 



Education Needed to Become One

Although there is no universal standard regarding the education you’ll need to break into this field, most employers prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree that touches on, or focuses on, Demand Planning or Demand Forecasting. Most business or economics degree programs will offer coursework in these areas.


Success Tip: A master’s degree in business or economics with a focus on demand planning would give you an excellent advantage over the competition. 





General Job Description

As a forecast analyst, your job is to help your company stay competitive in their market. Staying competitive involves optimizing production and distribution of your goods, as well as making the most of the market opportunities that exist for those goods.


So, the first key ingredient of staying competitive in your market will be to perform research regarding how to capitalize on existing and emerging industry trends. You’d then prepare reports on your findings and suggestions, and present them to the higher-ups.


The next ingredient to create market opportunity success, is to optimize production and distribution of your product. This is achieved by examining data on inventory levels, production speed, distribution channels, and overall sales, in order to find inefficiencies. 


And there you have it. If all goes well, your company should be able to capitalize profitably on current and future market trends.



Typical Job Duties & Responsibilities

Although your duties as a forecast analyst can vary from job to job, you would generally be responsible for:


• Working closely with other departments, such as Sales, Operations, Finance, and Product Development

• Maintaining and executing a forecast of manufacturing volume by product

• Make use of several types of measurement and financial modeling to make accurate predictions

• Identifying and reconciling forecasting variances within reporting systems

• Identifying and following market trends

• Researching historical sales and market data and identifying patterns

• Determining how historical patterns will affect current and future business

• Preparing and presenting reports to senior management that explore market factors in detail



Experience You’ll Need

Often, the best way to get ahead in this field is by accumulating relevant work experience. As you gain experience, you'll be able to get a better understanding of the industry as a whole.


Having a better understanding of your industry will help reduce your learning curve in this role, which will make you more effective at your job right out of the gate.


Because of the many advantages of experience, many employers will give you preference if you are able to show some on your resume.



How to Gain Relevant Work Experience

Of course, there’s the old catch-22; how to gain experience without a job, and how to get a job without experience. Well, worry not. Relevant experience can come in many forms.


It might involve working in the same industry in any type of position, or it might involves working in a similar position in any type of industry (even if the position is of lesser responsibility).


For example, having a background in sales is usually considered an asset, as is working in supervisory or management positions. 





Average Salary Level

The salary level you could earn as a forecast analyst can vary, depending on the following factors:


• Your level of education

• Your level of experience

• The size and type of your employer

• The industry in which you work

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties


Forecast Analyst Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the "Economists" occupational group is $104,340 per year.


Salary - Canada: According to the 2016 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the "Economists" occupational group earn an average salary of $92,846 per year, and according to the Province of British Columbia, those working as "Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts" in B.C. earn an annual provincial median salary of $80,662. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 23, 2019).



Is This Profession Right for You?

In order to survive the ups and downs of working in this field, you’ll need to have certain core competencies, personal traits, as well as professional interests, including:


• You have a keen interest in data analysis

• You have an interest in a moderately well-paying career, with room for advancement

• You enjoy taking a methodical approach to gathering information

• You enjoy preparing reports and providing recommendations

• You have a keen interest in looking out for market trends

• You’re willing to take accountability for the recommendations you make

• You can handle facing frequent deadlines

• You can translate objectives into actionable plans and results



Who Employs Forecast Analysts?

As a forecast analyst, you could work for virtually any medium or large organization that manufactures, distributes, or sells almost any kind of product.


Smaller organizations in these areas are usually not a viable option for employment, as they typically do not have the budget to employ such a specialized position.


You could also potentially find with marketing, sales or management consulting firms, who contract their services out to manufacturers, distributors and retailers. 



Forecast Analyst Jobs - Current Openings

Our job board below has "forecast analyst" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Work Environment

Setting: As a forecast analyst, you would primarily work in an office, although they you may be required to travel outside of the office to meet clients, or visit production facilities.


Hours: You would most likely work normal weekday working hours, of approximately 35-45 hours per week. You may be required to work overtime in order to meet deadlines, prepare reports, or perform other duties as required.


Conditions: You may face a great deal of pressure in your work from time to time, as you will be faced with frequent deadlines. You would spend the majority of your time split between analyzing data, preparing and presenting reports, and attending meetings. 



Career Advancement Possibilities

Displaying competence and a good work ethic can afford you plenty of career advancement options, including:


• Earning a higher salary

• Taking on bigger projects

• Moving into the role of team lead or manager

• Eventually moving into an executive role, even if it involves moving to a different company

• Moving into specialized areas, such as purchasing

• Taking on a similar role in another company, or moving to a smaller company that has better opportunities for advancement or ownership



Similar Occupations

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or be in the same sector of industry, as "forecast analyst":


Business Analyst

• Business Development Officer

• Cost Analyst


• Industrial Engineer

• Market Research Analyst

• Pricing Analyst




The salary information for this career guide was retrieved from the websites listed below. All other information has been compiled from actual job postings from various organizations.


Occupations in Alberta:Financial Analysts.” (March 30, 2017). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 26, 2019.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Economists.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 26, 2019.

Explore Careers:Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts.” (December 11, 2018) WorkBC website. Retrieved November 26, 2019.


Please Note: Much of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.



Scholarships for Becoming a Forecast Analyst

The scholarships in our system that are relevant for becoming a forecast analyst are all of those that can be found on our Economics Scholarships and Finance Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or are necessary) for getting started in this line of work:


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