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Understanding of job market

  1. Jan 19, 2013 #1
    Hi everyone,

    Help me please to understand what to do - I'm really confused. Sorry for maybe stupid questions - I just don't know where to go to find out this information...
    A bit about myself. I live in Canada (Ontario) and now I'm doing my Masters in Stats. I have good mathematical background, I have some programming skills (Stats software, sql, c++, matlab). I don't have any work experience, except Graduate Assistant position in my university ( for 1 year).

    I try to understand job market which is opened to me with this background, with statistical degree. I'm not a scientific person and I definitely don't want to do phd and I don't want to have scientific-oriented job. I would prefer to work in finance.

    I don't have finance background but maybe I can find an entry-level job where I can get it. Are there such opportunities? What exactly should I looking for in job search? How can I be hired without finance background? I want to plan my career path and I don't know how to start.

    Maybe firstly I should find something where I will need my programming skills? In what industry? What positions are the best for me?

    Maybe you could tell me some options I have...

    I'm totally confused with everything.. Maybe you know some websites which could be helpful for me. It would be great.

    But I've been at thousands numbers of websites and I still have a lot of misunderstanding.

    Thank you in advance! I hope a lot that somebody could help me here.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2013 #2
    Why restrict yourself to finance? Stats is such a broad field with so many applications - have you considered data mining, business intelligence, marketing, and other roles where your skills would be useful?

    In finance, you have a solid background for actuarial work, but unfortunately the field is very competitive in Canada and you would need several exams before I think you'd have a shot. Probably not a bad thing to keep in the back of your mind.

    Financial roles that use stats could be lower level analyst roles. I know there's work on Wall St that utilizes time series analysis. You could swing by quantnet or Wilmott and try to get a feel for whether you have some qualifications that are needed.
  4. Jan 20, 2013 #3


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    I really suggest the book "A Career in Statistics" by Gerald Hahn. It geared towards US readers, but I think it'll really help open your eyes to what you can really do with your degree. While, I understand finance may be your goal, I'm going to tell you that, the pay is good, but the hours not so much. I took a finance job my first year after my masters, I was completely unhappy, even though it was my goal to get the job. So with that said, try to be open minded and explore what you can do and the kind of company that you want to work for.
  5. Jan 20, 2013 #4


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    To follow up on what both Locrian and MarneMath has stated, there are numerous opportunities open to you with a Masters in statistics, not simply in finance. Even within the narrow field of finance, there are numerous areas where employers will value your skills -- for example, in credit risk modelling, fraud detection, etc. Of course, many financial firms have specific departments that specialize in data mining, business intelligence or market research that employs many statisticians.

    I suggest that you set up a profile on LinkedIn, outlining your skills, education and experience -- it's a great resource to network with various professionals in numerous businesses, and also for recruiters to notice you. LinkedIn also has a job search engine which could help identify which jobs you may be interested in.

    Also check out websites such as Workopolis or Monster if you haven't done so already.
  6. Jan 20, 2013 #5
    Sorry to slightly derail the thread - hopefully this is relevant to the OP - but MarneMath, would you mind saying a little about why you were completely unhappy in your finance job? Or was it simply the long hours?

    I am finishing my first year/starting my second year in an undergrad in mathematics and statistics but I am in my late 20s, studying part time, have no savings and big student debt from two previous degrees (was planning to go into academia), so higher-salaried stat jobs are of increasing importance to my career plans. Thankyou.
  7. Jan 20, 2013 #6
    Thank you for your replies!

    I will find this book and set up a profile on this LinkedIn website. It should be really useful.

    As regards field, you're right. I don't want to restrict myself. I read a lot about actuarial and found out that this sphere is very competitive in Canada. It's crucial thing for me cause I need to find a job as soon as possible .

    1) Data mining, business intelligence, marketing - sounds very interesting to me. And how can I start without experience say in marketing? What do I need to find job somewhere in these fields? What skills, what experience? If I need experience - how can I get it? Is it normal to find entry-level job in these spheres after graduation with Statistics degree?

    2) Locrian, you said "data mining, business intelligence, marketing, and other roles". What other? Where can I find information about such things?

    You know, when I'm trying to find something in the internet I see a lot of stuff like "Statisticians are employed by government, universities, business companies, medical companies and others". It's too general.

    3) A lot of job searching websites asks about industry. Obviously, it's important to know it. Should I choose exact one industry or I could look for several while searching for a job?

    I tried to use his website http://www5.hrsdc.gc.ca, open "example titles" using my NOC (2161) and then search for these titles in job searching websites. I've done a long search and I did't find answers to my questions.

    Thank you for help!
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  8. Jan 22, 2013 #7
    You’re going to run into the same problem in almost every job area: entry level jobs appear rare, in part because they are often not well advertised, and in part because no one wants an entry level candidate. They want experience, but experience can’t always be had, so they might take an entry level candidate instead if nothing else pans out. Getting your foot in the door can be the toughest part of starting a career. The best I can offer is that you need to network; you need to try and be a part of the culture.

    I know that’s vague, and I’m not good at it either. But I’ve seen it work. You’d be surprised how receptive people can be if you just call and ask for an informational interview. We get students in our office now and then because they were brave enough to walk up to one of our officers that was visiting their school and ask to see what we do. It is possible to burn bridges or make mistakes, but it’s harder than you think. Just be respectful of people’s time and you may be surprised how helpful they are. Remarks like “VkStat? Oh yea, I’ve talked to them several times on the phone. Seems like someone I would be willing to work with” can mean a lot in some departments.

    Finally, note that some of the best networking is internal networking. I think it’s entirely reasonable to work a job you are ho-hum about for a couple of years to get real world experience. Getting a job within the company can sometimes be easier than from outside. Note that people often disagree with me on this point, for a variety of reasons. I think they’re wrong , but whatever you decide, it’s important you do it well.

    By the way, I would think business intelligence jobs could certainly be had with only a BS (from job adds I see regularly), but data mining may require a masters, or at least an understanding of the field.

    IMHO, that’s the advantage of your degree – statisticians can be valuable wherever there is data to analyze, which is everywhere these days. So look in lots of industries.

    What about web companies evaluating consumer behavior? Government statistics? I just did a search in the US gov’t job listings and even after some narrowing to try and fit an entry level job, I think there may be more than seventy-five openings across just about every area of government work. That doesn’t do you any good practically, but I think it illustrates the diversity of options available to you.

    One way or another, you’re going to have to talk to people. If you were looking for actuarial work in the US, then you should be looking through the SOA & CAS lists for people you can email (and following up with me, as you already have been doing). How about recruiters? They’re unlikely to be much help finding a job, but they may have advice concerning your resume, or ideas on where jobs can be had. I hate to volunteer him, but StatGuy2000 has been tremendously helpful on this forum, and has at least a couple of things in common with you. Internet forums have a big drawback because people don’t always like to give away real life details to anyone, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be great resources.

    Questions you could be asking: Who in the area in which you work is hiring? Who is laying people off? Where do you see growth in the future? If you had to find a job right now, where would you look? If you were entry level like me, where then?

    You only need one job at a time, after all. Try everything to get it. Nobody ever says “Yea I have a great job, but unfortunately I had to send out forty emails and do six interviews, so it doesn’t really count.”

    Best of luck and keep us updated as to how things go.
  9. Jan 23, 2013 #8
    Oh, thank you very much for such detailed answer!! Thank you a lot! Really, it was a big pleasure to read this! It is so important for me right now. To begin with something. Thank you again. Now I want to think all this through...

    P.S. I set up an account in LinkedIn!
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