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Operational researcher

Alternative titles for this job include Management scientist

Operational researchers analyse how organisations can improve the way they work.

Average salary (a year)

£23,000 Starter


£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an operational researcher

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You'll usually need a degree in operational research, maths or other relevant subject, for example:

  • statistics
  • computing
  • economics
  • management science

Some employers may prefer you to have a postgraduate qualification in operational research or management science.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You could do an operational research specialist higher apprenticeship.

This apprenticeship typically takes 24 months to complete.

Most trainee operational researchers are graduates with strong maths and analytical skills.

Entry requirements

Most people following this route have:

  • a degree in a relevant subject

More Information

Direct Application

You may be able to get into operational research if you've got related experience from industry, for example in research and development, or project or change management.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

Joining a professional body like The Operational Research Society may improve your career prospects.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in operational research from The Operational Research Society.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • maths skills
  • business management skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day tasks you may:

  • observe staff and managers, and interview them about their jobs
  • collect and analyse data, using mathematical and statistical methods
  • apply business theories
  • identify areas for improvement and recommend changes
  • advise managers on making changes
  • check to see how changes are working
  • set up and test solutions to problems, using statistical and computer forecasting
  • present findings to an organisation

Working environment

You could work in an office or from home.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could become a project or team leader, then manager of an operational research department.

You could also become self-employed as a management consultant.

Current opportunities

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Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an operational researcher right now.

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Courses In England

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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