Graduate roles within statistical work are diverse. They range from assistant statistician roles to roles which incorporate statistics as a key requirement of the job. Entry to some professional statistician roles requires specific postgraduate study, although for undergraduates whose degree has entailed statistics, entry level roles within government and the pharmaceutical/financial sector may be possible. Opportunities exist both within the public and private sector - key recruiters being the government, manufacturing, scientific and service sectors. Relevant work experience will enhance prospects in this competitive career area.
For penultimate year students, paid internships (structured work experience opportunities where the tasks are similar to that required on a graduate scheme) are available with the large national/international graduate recruiters within the finance, pharmaceutical and commerce sectors. The length is usually between 2-10 weeks. Example employers include GlaxosmithKline, Pfizer, Astrazeneca, Unilever, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Tesco.
Any internship with employers which has a statistical element to the role would strengthen future applications for statistician graduate schemes. This could include internships within the insurance sector (e.g. financial risk analyst) and within economic and actuarial consultancies.
Other work experience opportunities
|The Government Statistical Service (GSS)||
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications are accepted from all undergraduate and postgraduate year groups.
|BDRC||Email contact: email@example.com|
|Bounty (UK) Ltd.||Email contact: CHudson@Bounty.com|
|Harris Interactive||Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|ICM Research||Email contact: email@example.com|
|Recom Research in Communications||Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org|
The Directory of Social Research Organisations is available within the Careers Advisory Service Information Room. This also has useful contact details to make speculative applications to.
Useful email list
The ALLSTAT mailing list is for the statistical community. Anyone can join at www.jiscmail.ac.uk (from here click "Groups" and then "A-Z list".
Any messages relevant to any area of statistics are welcome, including how to source work experience. It is a very useful resource for networking with professionals in a range of sectors. For those who are interested in gaining work experience is a specific area of statistics, it is possible to join specific discussion forums.
Medical and Environmental Statistics
It may be difficult to obtain structured work experience within these areas due to the high level of specialism preferred by employers (preference for graduate schemes is given to MSc Statistics candidates). However, it may be possible to source informal work experience by speculatively applying with a CB and covering letter to employers within these areas. Some possible sources for work experience are: the Medical Research Council, the Health Protection Agency and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The following websites are useful for finding graduate level roles.
|Royal Statistical Society||
|Natural Environment Research Council||
|Government Statistical Service||
Is it essential?
For those of you who have not completed an undergraduate degree which has a significant quantitative/numerical component, study at postgraduate MSc level with be essential for professional statistician roles. For those who do have a relevant undergraduate degree, although not essential, postgraduate study to MSc level in Medical Statistics is increasingly being favoured by employers of medical statisticians and employers in the pharmaceutical industry.
Other factors to take into account when deciding on a course:
- The NHS recent recruitment of statisticians whose undergraduate degree is not relevant, have come mainly from MSc candidates who have completed statistics/health informatics or medical statistics
- Market research statistical employers prefer MSc in applied statistics graduates (unless their undergraduate degree has a large amount of applied statistics
- For the Government Statistical Service, if your undergraduate degree is in a relevant subject then postgraduate study is not essential
- To be an environment statistician, an MSc in this subject area will greatly increase chances of entry
- To enter a career in academic research, study to PhD level will be required.
When searching for courses useful search terms include: statistics, applied statistics, health informatics, environmental statistics, medical statistics, applied social statistics, statistical science, biometrics.
Funding may be available from specific research councils depending on the area of statistical studies (for example, medical statistics would usually attract funding from the Medical Research Council). The National Institute for Health Research provides funding to some statistics MSc programmes for those seeking to obtain employment in the NHS (details of funding options will be stated on individual course provider websites). Internal scholarships may be available within specific institutions - check with admissions staff and check for deadlines as these may differ between institutions.
RSS accredited courses
The Royal Statistical Society accredits a number of postgraduate courses. The accreditation is based on the general depth, breadth, quality and foundation of a course and its statistical content. You can find details of these listed on their website.