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Operational researcher

Alternative titles for this job include Management scientist

Operational researchers analyse problems and find ways to help organisations make better decisions and improve the way they work.

Average salary (a year)

£26,000 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 Operational researcher

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a government graduate training scheme


You'll usually need a degree in maths and operational research, or a related subject that contains a high proportion of maths, for example:

  • statistics
  • computing
  • economics
  • management science
  • physics

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 apply to do an Operational Research Specialist Level 7 Degree Apprenticeship.

This apprenticeship typically takes 2 years 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

Other Routes

You could apply for a place on the Government Operational Research Service Fast Stream scheme.

To be eligible, you'll need a degree in maths, or a combined degree or degree apprenticeship that has a high maths content. A postgraduate award in a maths related subject may also be acceptable.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join The Operational Research Society for professional development opportunities.

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
  • analytical thinking skills
  • business management skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • active listening skills
  • excellent verbal communication 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

As an operational researcher, you'll:

  • speak to staff and managers to learn about what they do and how they work
  • collect and analyse data, using mathematical and statistical methods
  • create computer models to test solutions to problems
  • identify areas for improvement and recommend changes
  • present findings to senior management teams
  • monitor changes to make sure they are working

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 research team leader or project manager, then move on to managing an operational research department within a large organisation.

You can find work and career development opportunities in the public and private sector, including:

  • the health service
  • government departments
  • the defence industry
  • retail, financial services and higher education

You could also become self-employed and work as a business or management consultant.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

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

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England


  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Nantwich


  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Manchester

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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