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Operations Research Analyst

Operations research analysts use mathematical modelling and information technology to develop decision support systems for decision-makers in public and private organizations.

Also Known As

Management Scientist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 2161.2: Statisticians

2006 NOC-S

  • C061: Mathematicians, Statisticians and Actuaries

2011 NOC

  • 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries

2016 NOC

  • 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries

2021 NOC

  • 21210: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries

2023 OaSIS

  • 21210.02: Statisticians
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Operations research analysts use analytical methods, mathematical modelling techniques and information technology to predict system performance. They can then compare outcomes of alternative strategies or ways of managing complex systems.

Operations research analysis can be applied to a wide variety of management problems. For example, it may be used by:

  • Emergency medical services to plan the deployment of ambulances
  • Governments to analyze the flow of patients through a health care system
  • Hospitals to design blood-banking systems or schedule staff and operating rooms
  • Police departments to devise shift schedules that minimize response time and meet budget and human resource needs
  • Municipalities to decide where a hazardous waste facility should be located
  • Railway companies to schedule and optimize the use of rolling stock
  • Airlines to develop pricing strategies, schedule crews and aircraft, and develop disaster recovery plans
  • Manufacturing companies to design or increase the efficiency of production systems
  • Oil companies to evaluate prospective oil or gas projects
  • Freight forwarders and transportation companies to develop and plan vehicle routes
  • Logistic companies to design long-term plans for warehouse location and consolidation
  • Service-intensive companies to schedule the most efficient worker allocation
  • Forestry companies to help decide how to manage large tracts of forest land
  • Investment firms to manage risk and optimize portfolios

In general, operations research analysts:

  • Meet with decision makers to identify problems and clarify management objectives
  • Observe the current system in operation, if necessary and possible
  • Manage and analyze large amounts of data that describe how systems operate and perform
  • Use scientific methods to develop mathematical models that can be used to predict how systems will behave if different courses of action are taken
  • Use computers to develop and run models and investigate the merits of alternate courses of action

Sometimes, operations research analysts work as part of interdisciplinary teams that include such diverse professionals as economists, engineers and managers.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Operations research analysts usually work in office environments in large organizations or consulting firms. Since the work is project oriented, some overtime may be required to meet project deadlines. However, hours of work are often flexible. Some travel may be required to study systems in operation.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.


2006 NOC: 2161.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in synthesizing information to extend knowledge on the mathematical basis of statistics, and to develop statistical methodologies


Interest in applying statistical theory and methods to provide information in scientific and other fields such as biological and agricultural sciences, business and economics, physical sciences and engineering, and the social sciences


Interest in consulting to advise on the applications of statistical methods and analyses

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Operations research analysts need:

  • Spatial perception
  • Math and analytical abilities
  • Modelling skills to solve complex problems
  • Communication skills, including listening and public speaking skills

They should enjoy synthesizing information to develop innovative solutions to complex problems, applying statistical theory and mathematical techniques, and advising others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

The minimum educational requirement to become an operations research analyst is a bachelor’s degree specializing in industrial engineering, operations management, computer science, applied mathematics, statistics or quantitative analysis. Computer skills related to data analysis and mathematical or statistical modelling are required. Those who have a related master’s degree have a definite advantage when seeking employment.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

In collaboration with several Canadian universities, the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS) offers a diploma to members who have completed post-secondary studies that cover operational research techniques, probability and statistics, computers and systems, and applications of operational research.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

The Analytics Certification Board (ACB) offers the voluntary Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) certification. For more information on eligibility requirements, visit the CAP website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Most operations research analysts are employed in the head offices of large process, manufacturing and service firms. Some are employed by:

  • Consulting firms
  • Universities
  • Logistic firms
  • Private research institutions
  • Government departments

Entry level operations research analysts start working on well-defined problems and progress to less clear-cut problems. Experienced analysts may start their own consulting businesses or move into other management positions.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group, 78.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 10% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Sep 29, 2022

Starting salaries for operations research analysts vary according to the employee’s qualifications and the nature of the position.

Operations research analysts are part of the larger 2016 National Occupational Classification 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries.

According to the 2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group earned on average from $38.83 to $51.54 an hour. The overall average was $46.51 an hour. For more information, see the Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries wage profile.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
  • Mathematics
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS) website:

Certified Analytics Professional Program website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 05, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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