A planning analyst proposes ways to improve the overall efficiency of a company or organization. The planning analyst counsels managers on how to strengthen the profit margin of organizations through reduced costs, increased revenues, risk awareness and readiness.
A business professional in this kind of position must possess a thorough working knowledge of macro- and micro-economics related to the organization’s position in its industry. A big part of the job is to provide perspective related to events and market conditions both local and international.
What Does a Planning Analyst Do?
Because high-level executives make major decisions based on the information provided by planning analysts, the position requires a thorough knowledge of the organization’s structure, work flow, goals and resources. Relevant data is gathered through personal interviews, internal surveys, cost analyses, internal financial audits and any other source of information that can shed light on the level of efficiency in operations of an organization.
Depending on the size and scope of an organization, a planning analyst might report to a planning supervisor or another member of the senior leadership team. The duties might focus on a particular aspect of the business, or they might encompass a broader scope.
A planning analyst may have a variety of responsibilities, including but not limited to:
- Assisting in the development of long-term goals and strategic objectives
- Performing risk analyses to identify points of potential failure and mitigation strategies
- Maintaining the corporate business continuity program that addresses disaster recovery and business continuity
- Analyzing and reporting on implications of regulatory requirements and industry guidance on BCP/DR programs
- Working with IT departments to develop and maintain disaster recovery plans for critical systems and applications
- Planning and coordinating business continuity and user testing
- Identifying and analyzing any issues that affect profitability, growth and organization productivity
- Handling external corporate communications with industry analysts and the investment community
- Recommending strategic alternatives and developing and maintaining operational plans
Job Growth & Salary
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific data for the position of planning analyst, the position of operations research analyst entails similar duties. The BLS reports a median salary of $79,200 for that position as of May 2016.
Job availability and salaries vary based on factors such as geography and the current strength of the economy. All students and job candidates should conduct their own research to gain an accurate representation of the local job market.
How to Become a Planning Analyst
A planning analyst typically possesses excellent analytical skills, clear communication and interpersonal skills, superb math skills and an ability to employ critical thinking skills on demanding deadlines.
In most cases, the position of planning analyst requires at the minimum a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, accounting or another related field, as well as strong IT skills. Depending on the demands of a particular position, an employer might prefer applicants with an advanced degree and relevant licensing or certification.
Therefore, the key to advancing into a planning analyst specialty is an MBA or a master’s degree such as Jacksonville University’s Master of Science in Applied Business Analytics and their new MBA with a management concentration.