The hard facts about a career in Quantitative Research

Are you interested in research jobs? If you have a love for numerical data and a flair for solving problems, quantitative research might be the right career for you.

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Today we take a closer look at the difference between qualitative and quantitative research, what these researcher jobs involve and some research jobs in South Africa that require quantitative researching knowledge and skills.

The difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative research can be described as research used to explore an issue or a problem. This type of research is used in order to gain a better insight into a problem, for example, and help to develop ideas or hypotheses.

Qualitative research jobs help us to uncover trends that occur in people’s opinions and ideas, helping researchers dig deeper. Methods used in this type of research are more unstructured than compared to those used in quantitative related research. Research methods here range to include focus groups as well as one-on-one interviews. This type of research will commonly include small sample sizes, with participants chosen according to a specific quota.

So, what is quantitative research? This is research that actually quantifies – or counts – the problem. This is achieved by generating numerical data or data that can be changed into statistics. This type of research is used to actually put a number (or quantify) behaviours, trends, problems and opinions, to name but a few examples.

This type of research employs data that can be measured (or counted or expressed in a numerical form) in order to come to a result, formulate factual conclusions and uncover certain patterns. More structured in nature, research collection here include longitudinal studies, systematic observations and online surveys (to name but a few examples) from a larger sample that is seen in qualitative research.

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Quantitative research is defined as a formal, systematic and objective process in which researchers use numerical data in order to get more information about a specific subject. It is a research method that is used in order to describe variables as well as the relationship between these variables. This research method is then also used in order to determine the cause-and-effect relationship between these variables.

Shortly summarised, this type of research asks specific questions in an unbiased fashion, collecting data and analysing this data using statistics.

Research jobs using quantitative methods

A number of industries and fields make use of quantitative researchers – from the marketing sectors to the financial sectors. This type of researcher can be found in a number in businesses and institutions, ranging to include research firms as well investment companies and banks.

If you have strong mathematical knowledge and pay great attention to detail, applying for these types of research jobs in South Africa might be the right career choice for you.

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The skills and knowledge required to enter quantitative related positions will depend on the industry you wish to enter. Pursuing researcher jobs in the financial field for example will require you to have an intimate knowledge and understanding of finance and economics.

Pursuing a career within marketing will require you to have an intimate knowledge of human behaviour and trends, while some careers within quantitative research require a knowledge and understanding of psychology.

In general, a quantitative researcher should have statistical and mathematical skills. A background in programming (C++) is also seen as an advantage in some cases, depending on the field. According to PayScale, a quantitative researcher in South Africa earns an average yearly salary of R 190 000.00.

Training for research jobs

Because quantitative research forms part of such a wide range of industries, a scientific, computer science, mathematical or engineering background will commonly be to your advantage. Some companies might also look for candidates that have a Statistics or Quantitative Psychology background.

If you are interested in pursuing this type of research jobs, the following study options include quantitative aspects and modules:

The University of Pretoria

Within its Economic and Management Science faculty you will find a number of study programmes that will entail the study of quantitative analyses. You can opt for the BCom (Econometrics) programme that offers core modules for the specialisation in mathematics, economic and mathematical statistics. Econometrics is commonly applied in validating and quantifying economic theories as well as real world human behaviours.

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Note that this particular discipline is also relevant to a number of different industries including transport, environmental protection, education, housing and health. A three year study programme, career opportunities after graduation range to include traders, consultants and researchers in both public and private sectors. Econometrics graduates commonly find employment at private and commercial banks, consultancies, within the government as well as a range of financial institutions.

Other study options from the University of Pretoria that include quantitative modules can be found in the Department of Informatics (in the form of a BIT – Bachelor of Information Technology – that includes quantitative mathematical studies) and in the Department of Insurance and Actuarial Science.

The University of the Witwatersrand

If you are interested in a career as a quantitative analyst or data analyst, the University of the Witwatersrand offers a three year BSc. degree in Mathematics of Finance. Involving a major in a mathematical or computational field (which includes mathematics, computer science or applied mathematics) and a major in an economics or financial field (corporate finance and investments or economics), you will walk away with a mathematical, computer and financial literacy that will allow you to pursue a number of career options.

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Graduating, you will be equipped to apply for positions in a number of corporate environments including portfolio managers, financial mathematicians and quantitative analysts, to name but a few examples.

University of KwaZulu-Natal

At the University of KwaZulu-Natal you have the opportunity to take Economics as a major when completing your undergraduate degree. The third year of your studies will involve a Quantitative Economics core third year module which involves both lectures as well as sessions that involve hands-on computer modelling. Your third year of studies will also involve research assignments as well as examinations.

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With Quantitative Economics in your third year, an introduction to Econometrics, you will focus on statistical as well as mathematical techniques, enabling you to build predictive models. Successful graduates often find research jobs and other employment opportunities in a number of industries ranging to include education, management positions, the finance sector as well as the public sectors. Exciting careers are also available where economics and mainstream social sciences intersect (such as seen in environmental sciences and social sciences, to name but a couple of examples).

UNISA

UNISA offers an undergraduate degree in the form of a BCOM in Quantitative Management. A three year long study programme, your subjects during your studies range to include Mathematical Programming, Applied Statistics, Economics and Accounting Reporting, to name but a few examples.

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The University of South Africa also offers a Master of Commerce in Quantitative Management. In order to enrol for this study programme you will need a fitting bachelor honours degree, a relevant postgraduate diploma or a bachelor’s degree with 480 credits (with a minimum of 96 NQF Level 8 credits in Quantitative Management).

University of Johannesburg

Offering an honours degree aimed at quantitative and risk management in the financial industry, this postgraduate degree from the University of Johannesburg is aimed at producing Quantitative Analysts and Risk Managers.

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Found in the Department of Finance and Investment Management, this BCom Honours in Quantitative Finance was launched in October of 2014 and features moderators and lecturers that are active within the field of quantitative finance, risk management and investments.

Researcher jobs on Job Mail

Already qualified in the field of quantitative research and looking for exciting, new opportunities. Job Mail boasts a range of quantitative researcher jobs, including:

Wealth and Investment Analyst

A position is available in the insurance industry for a Wealth and Investment Analyst in Gauteng. If you have a relevant financial degree with a CFA qualification, your responsibilities will range to include performing due diligence on quantitative analysis and current investments.

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Investment Analyst

If you have a BCom or relevant quantitative degree with one to two years of experience in business consulting, this position for an Investment Analyst in Cape Town might be for you.

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New Business Incubator

If you have quantitative skills – be it in finance mathematics or statistics –and strong interpersonal skills, this position in the Southern Suburbs might be for you. If you have an entrepreneurial flair and a strong drive to learn and build a personal brand, this position in the finance and accounting industry might be for you.

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Now that you know the difference between qualitative and quantitative research, why not start applying for relevant research jobs in your area? Register your CV on Job Mail now and find your dream job – from quantitative research positions to market research jobs in South Africa, you are sure to find a vacancy that matches your skills and experience.

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Annabel Schoeman

SEO Engineer
SEO'er, blogger and lover all things weird, wacky and interesting.

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2 Responses

  1. Kgomotso says:

    If you have completed your first year of studies towards a bcom in quantitative management and have an science and engineering related qualification (National Diploma Mine Surveying) are investment, insurance and banking institutions interested in offering entry level or internship level opportunities?

    • Jani Grey says:

      Hi Kgomotso,

      Thank you for the question. A suggestion we can make is for you to directly contact the companies you are interested in working for and request information about possible internships or entry level positions. If there are none currently available, ask them to keep you CV on file for any future openings.

      Thank you for using Job Mail, we hope you find either an internship or employment soon.

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