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Green Jobs: what does a Data Analyst do?

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5 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
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A Data Analyst might not be the first role that comes to mind when you think of green jobs in the food and drinks industry. The job can help various sectors, from agriculture to food delivery services, work more sustainably in far more ways than you might think.

Data Analysts could be collecting data on consumer spending to find out how consumer demand and behaviour is changing. Understanding the data about consumers can allow retailers and producers create accurate profiles of their customers, and help them understand their needs and demands.

For instance, analysts could also help agtech companies who are looking for more information on crop growth, or who want to analyse the environmental impact of the use of pesticides.

They could also be key to helping companies monitor their own levels of carbon emissions, if they are aiming to reach a net zero target by a certain date, which is becoming more common in large-scale food and drink organisations these days, such as major supermarkets.

Data analytics is also key for improving transparency in the food and drinks industry as it can be used to help businesses tell their customers where their products are sourced, and how sustainable their suppliers are.

Another major role the job can play which helps to encourage greener food systems is how it can be used to tackle food waste.

What are the job responsibilities?

What the job involves very much depends on the employer. Some key aspects of the role however involve:

  • Preparing summary reports for internal and external clients
  • Liaising with clients both inside and outside the company the on the data collected
  • Analysing big datasets usually using data mining (finding raw rata and turning it into something useful for the company to use)
  • Designing and conducting surveys and analysing the data collected
  • Using collected data to create data visualisation to explain changes and developments to the company
  • Assisting with data-driven projects

Who might your employers be?

A huge range of organisations in the food and drinks industry hire data analysts. These include:

– Agtech organisations

  • Food delivery services such as Gorillas and Just Eat

– Supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and Tesco

– Retail analyst firms

  • Major food manufacturers including Smithfield Foods, Kerry or PepsiCo

What qualifications do you need?

A particular degree isn’t always necessary for this role, but having a background in any of the following would prove beneficial:

–       Mathematics

–       Statistics

–       Economics

–       Computer Science

–       Information Management

–       Environmental Science

While you can normally enter this role with any degree, you need to be able to show you have the skills needed to succeed. Some of these include: high-quality numeracy, understanding of data analysis and tools used to conduct the analysis such as Excel, knowledge of problems with data protection, an ability to create data visualisations including graphs, charts and maps.

What is the salary like?

An entry-level Data Analyst is expected to earn a salary of between £23,000-£25,000, depending on the company they’re working for and its size. Some larger companies offer graduate training schemes for prospective Data Analysts which can have a larger starting salary of £25,000-£30,000.

With more experience, a Data Analyst can expect to earn at least £60,000.

Where will you be working?

A Data Analyst’s working environment is usually office-based, but this can depend on the type of company you work for.

What’s the career progression like?

A higher position could lead to a Head of Analytics, a Lead Analyst or Data Manager role.

This job title can occasionally be confused with the job of a Data Scientist. While both careers involve working together with data, a Data Scientist is more likely to work with more complicated datasets. A Data Scientist also tends to not gather data together to find solutions or answers to questions, but works out what the best data is to collect and tries to figure out new ways to gather it. Becoming a Data Scientist generally requires a higher degree than a bachelor’s degree in subjects such as Mathematics, Statistics or Data Science itself. Saying that, it isn’t impossible to make the jump from being a Data Analyst to a Data Scientist and it can be a great way to progress in a career. While the salary at entry level for this role is fairly similar to a Data Analyst, more experience could lead to a higher-paid role such as a Lead Data Scientist which can earn as much as £100,000 according to latest salary research.

Is there demand for this job?

With data analytics being key to making many positive and green developments in the food and drinks industry, if organisations want to continue to operate in a greener manner, the demand for a Data Analyst – whether this be from retailers, small food producers to agtech companies – will remain significant.


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