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 consider 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.
What is a Pricing Analyst?
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. Also known as cost estimators, 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.
Why Pricing Analysis Matters
Every company needs to realize a profit. Pricing analysis helps businesses do this by increasing the efficiency of supply chain management operations 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.
A skilled pricing analyst can directly impact a company’s bottom line in several ways. These professionals may 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.
Pricing analysts may also advise other departments on how to run operations more efficiently and meet their business objectives. Companies that work with government agencies also rely on pricing analysts to ensure compliance with purchasing and contracting regulations in order to avoid errors and fines.
Where Can I Find Jobs as a Pricing Analyst?
Pricing analysts may be employed across the spectrum of industries for multinational corporations, regional firms and local businesses. Their expertise is sought by manufacturers and distributors, pharmaceutical companies, utilities providers, aerospace and defense contractors, and information technology firms.
Pricing Analyst Education Preparation
The path to a pricing analyst career can begin with researching the educational and training requirements common among employers in this field. While specific requirements will vary, pricing analyst jobs often require at least a college degree.
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. Career advancement will likely require a bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor’s Degree: Employers recruiting for pricing analyst positions may 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 generally require an advanced degree and additional work experience.
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.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Pricing Analysts
Completing a degree program is a significant step in 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. Employers may call for 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:
- Strong organizational skills
- The ability to work independently or on a team
- The ability to simultaneously manage multiple projects and stakeholders on a deadline
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Advancing as a pricing analyst is often dependent upon work experience and additional education. Employer-provided tuition assistance and reimbursement programs may be available to professionals seeking a bachelor’s or master’s degree while remaining employed with their company.
Potential Salary for Pricing Analyst Positions
The average annual wage for employees listed in the job classification of cost estimators was $66,620 as of May 2016, according to a national survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Because salary potential may vary depending on industry type, size and location, and a candidate’s education and experience, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.
Are You a Good Fit For a Pricing Analyst Career?
If you thrive in a fast-paced environment and enjoy math, business and data analysis, you may be a candidate for a career as a pricing analyst. Start by planning your educational path according to your personal interests, and the degrees and skills sought by employers.