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Job Analyst


Job analysts work in the human resources (HR) department conducting in-depth research about occupations and job descriptions. They focus on worker classification systems while studying the effects of industry and occupational trends upon worker relationships. They also provide management with descriptions of what each employee in the company does, so that human resources recruiters will know what to look for when hiring employees as well as understand the components of each job. The job analyst's role has become increasingly significant as companies and organizations realize the importance of hiring the most qualified employees according to their job descriptions thereby contributing to the profitability and success of any business. Job analysts often serve as the technical liaison between the firm and industry, government, and labor unions. They usually work for larger companies and organizations, as their skill is very specialized in the HR department.

Job analysts gather information about jobs through interviewing employees, observing performance of certain tasks, asking employees to fill out questionnaires and worksheets, and collecting information about a job from secondary sources. They know which questions to ask specific individuals and even which questions not to ask, such as personal religion or marital status questions. The job analysts will then write up their findings from the analysis and review them with management. The documentation is then presented to the senior manager supervisor for review. The supervisor may then act as an editor to add, delete or modify duties, knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics. A signed and dated job description is then prepared and the job description becomes the official company record for a particular job.

The employment analyst field comprises two differing roles -- job analysts and occupational analysts. The main difference between the two is that a job analyst looks directly at the worker whereas an occupational analyst studies how a particular worker fits into their career.
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Ashford University
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  Interests and Skills  
Job analysts must possess superior communication and interpersonal skills since a great deal of their work deals with interviewing people. They must possess sound judgment and problem-solving skills, be able to synthesize information, have the ability to understand a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds, manage time properly, and be well organized.

Job analysts should enjoy both working with people and working independently when writing job descriptions. They must be both analytical and possess superior writing skills. Finally, job analysts must try and understand the nature of each position they research and write about. They must be able to work well under pressure and adhere to deadlines. They must also be culturally sensitive in order to relate well to people of different ethnicities and backgrounds.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Research and prepare occupational classifications, job descriptions, salary scales and competency appraisal measures and systems
  • Coordinate employee performance and appraisal programs
  • Interview employees and administer questionnaires about their positions
  • Research job descriptions outside of an organization for cross-referencing
  • Travel to interview professionals around the country and beyond
  • Job analysts generally work regular office hours. They spend a great deal of time researching on computers and in books and manuals in order to compile accurate job descriptions. Duties away from the desk include interviewing professionals and traveling. Since interviews are usually conducted in person, job analysts may also travel out of town a few times during the year.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Job analysts are employed in both the public and private sectors. They often work for businesses and organizations such as universities, health care institutions, large retail stores, governments, manufacturing companies, and financial institutions (all places where there are many employees), act as private consultants to smaller companies looking to recruit and work for "headhunting" or employment agencies.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Job analysts have an opportunity for advancement within their field to become more specialized personnel professionals. With experience, advancement prospects may include opening up your own job analyst consulting firm, advancing to supervisory and executive management positions and switching careers to work in public relations, career counseling and motivation, social work or teaching.

Even entry-level positions today require some form of previous experience either through an internship or volunteer work. Junior workers often start off performing more administrative and research duties and then advance into positions with more responsibility with commensurate experience. It is hard to move right into a job analyst position straight out of university because people often lack the technical and practical experience of dealing with people, which can only be learned on the job through experience.

  Educational Paths  
There are no specific guidelines outlining the requirements needed to become a job analyst however most have an undergraduate degree and a master's degree. Some job analysts even have PhDs. The majority of job analysts have extensive education in industrial and organizational psychology. This field of psychology deals with how people perform work and how they interact at the workplace. Such programs focus on statistics and relate to other disciplines such as sociology, economics, and other branches of psychology.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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Ashford University
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Keiser University

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