This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
a back-of-the-envelope calculation, comparing the
Though my comparison is based on only one
job postings in December 2007 to that of December
month of data, it does reflect that the job market has
2008, which showed the following:
been reasonably steady across various employment sec-
tors. It is also worthwhile to point out that several of
the nonpharmaceutical and government jobs require
master’s- and doctoral-level candidates.
Employment Sector December 2007 December 2008
So, in spite of the headlines shouting that the job
market is shrinking, it appears statisticians are on
Academia 87 71
steady ground. It is useful to point out that a statisti-
cian’s job cannot easily be outsourced, thanks to our
Industry primary responsibility to science and research. Even
if organizations are looking to outsource statistics-
Pharma 5 1
related activities, it is reasonable to assume these
organizations would keep the initial research and
Non-Pharma 5 8
design part of the study in-house, while contract-
ing out the analysis part. Again quoting Gmoser, “As
Government 11 7
companies look to outsource more and more, that
in turn has increased job opportunities in contract
research organizations (CROs).”
As I pointed out in this column in the June 2008
issue of Amstat News, CROs provide a viable option
for cost-effective resources while maintaining a strate-
gic partnership in drug development. At present, sev-
eral of the big pharmaceutical companies are moving
in this direction while keeping their full-time equiva-
Statistician Rated Third
lent counts constant.
The pundits and other talking heads have been
Best Job in the Nation
saying the current economic crisis is dire and will
certainly worsen. But, there are those such as former
General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who commented
in a recent issue of Business Week that though the cur-
A
statistician is rated as having one
rent crisis is painful, a necessary correction will result
of the nation’s 10 best jobs in the
in a healthier, deleveraged society with a renewed focus
new “2009 Jobs Rated Report,”
Best
on innovation and productivity.
an in-depth look at 200 jobs by
I think the need for statisticians will stay the same
1) Mathematician
CareerCast.com.
or continue to grow. For example, the manufactur-
The criteria used by CareerCast.com
2) Actuary
ing industry will hire statisticians with master’s and
researchers to determine the most—and
doctoral degrees for quality control and developing
3) Statistician least—appealing career opportunities
statistical software. What we bring to the table as stat-
4) Biologist
include environment, income, employ-
isticians and what we need to do to keep our heads
ment outlook, physical demands, sec u-
above water reminds me of “X-Files” Special Agent
Worst
rity, and stress. Each occupation is
Fox Mulder’s approach to science and research. In his
1) Lumberjack
ranked using data from such sources as
deadpan approach, Mulder states, “If we fail to antici-
the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of
2) Dairy Farmer
pate the unforeseen or expect the unexpected in a uni-
Labor Statistics, as well as information
verse of infinite possibilities, we may find ourselves at
3) Taxi Driver
provided by a range of trade associations
the mercy of anyone or anything that cannot be pro-
4) Seaman
and industry groups.
grammed, categorized, or easily referenced.” ■
The outcome: Secure, well-paying
office jobs, such as mathematician and
statistician, landed high. Physically
Did you know your ASA membership
demanding, high-risk jobs such as lum-
includes online access to the Journal of
berjack brought up the rear.
the American Statistical Association, Journal
Based on these factors, the nation’s of Business & Economic Statistics, and
four best and worst jobs are listed in the The American Statistician?
sidebar. To see the rankings of all 200
jobs, go to www.CareerCast.com/jobs.
Log in at MEMBERS ONLY today to access

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32 AMSTAT NEWS FEBRUARY 2009
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