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Management and Program Analysts

Significant Points

This series includes positions that primarily serve as analysts and advisors to management on the evaluation of the effectiveness of government programs and operations or the productivity and efficiency of the management of Federal agencies or both. Positions in this series require knowledge of: the substantive nature of agency programs and activities; agency missions, policies, and objectives; management principles and processes; and the analytical and evaluative methods and techniques for assessing program development or execution and improving organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Some positions also require an understanding of basic budgetary and financial management principles and techniques as they relate to long range planning of programs and objectives. The work requires skill in: application of factfinding and investigative techniques; oral and written communications; and development of presentations and reports.

Nature of the Work

This series includes positions formerly classified in the Management Analysis Series, GS-0343, and the Program Analysis Series, GS-0345. This new series combines in one occupation positions which perform similar duties and require many of the same, or closely related, knowledges and skills. The intent in establishing this series is to cover staff administrative analytical and evaluative work related to program operations, and management and organizational efficiency and productivity. Staff positions which require full competence in a particular specialized or subject-matter field for satisfactory performance of the work are excluded from this series.

The work of this occupation is typically performed in a staff capacity in that the results of the work support the accomplishment of the principal mission or line program(s) of the agency or organizational component in which the positions are located. In some cases, particularly in the larger agencies, the distinction may not always be readily apparent. For example, the mission or line work of an organizational component may be the development of staffing standards to be used throughout the agency. Positions involved in this work may be considered as performing the line work of the immediate organizational component. However, since the results of the work (i. e., the staffing standards) support accomplishment of the overall programs and mission of the agency, the positions are in fact performing staff work for the agency.

Positions in this series serve as staff analysts, evaluators, and advisors to management on the effectiveness and efficiency with which agencies and their components carry out their assigned programs and functions. Such positions may be found at any organizational level within Federal agencies. The primary purpose of the work is to provide line managers with objectively based information for making decisions on the administrative and programmatic aspects of agency operations and management. Positions in this series are concerned with a wide variety of assignments. Listed below are some illustrations of the nature of the work and the intended coverage of this series. This list should not be considered as a definitive catalog of all of the specific kinds or combinations of work performed by positions in this series.

  • analyzing and evaluating (on a quantitative or qualitative basis) the effectiveness of line program operations in meeting established goals and objectives;
  • developing life cycle cost analyses of projects or performing cost benefit or economic evaluations of current or projected programs;
  • advising on the distribution of work among positions and organizations and the appropriate staffing levels and skills mix;
  • advising on the potential benefits/uses of automation to improve the efficiency of administrative support or program operations;
  • evaluating and advising on the organization, methods, and procedures for providing administrative support systems such as records, communications, directives, forms, files, and documentation;
  • researching and investigating new or improved business and management practices for application to agency programs or operations;
  • analyzing management information requirements to develop program or administrative reporting systems including the systems specifications, data gathering and analytical techniques, and systems evaluation methodology;
  • analyzing new or proposed legislation or regulations to determine impact on program operations and management;
  • developing new or modified administrative program policies, regulations, goals, or objectives;
  • identifying data required for use in the management and direction of programs;
  • developing data required for use in the management and direction of programs;
  • developing management and/or program evaluation plans, procedures, and methodology;
  • conducting studies of employee/organizational efficiency and productivity and recommending changes or improvements in organization, staffing, work methods, and procedures;
  • developing procedures and systems for establishing, operating, and assessing the effectiveness of administrative control systems such as those designed to prevent waste, loss, unauthorized use, or misappropriation of assets;
  • performing management surveys to determine compliance with agency regulations, procedures, sound management practices, and effective utilization of staff;
  • developing workload based staffing standards to determine organizational manning levels;
  • analyzing and evaluating agency functions and activities being considered for conversion to contract operations;
  • identifying resources (staff, funding, equipment, of facilities) required to support varied levels of program operations;
  • reviewing administrative audit and investigative reports to determine appropriate changes or corrective action required;
  • analyzing and evaluating proposed changes in mission, operating procedures and delegations of authority.
  • Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

    Entry requirements for management analysts vary. For some entry-level positions, a bachelor's degree is sufficient. For others, a master's degree or specialized expertise is required.

    Education and training. Educational requirements for entry-level jobs in this field vary between private industry and government. Many employers in private industry generally seek individuals with a master's degree in business administration or a related discipline. Some employers also require additional years of experience in the field or industry in which the worker plans to consult. Other firms hire workers with a bachelor's degree as research analysts or associates and promote them to consultants after several years. Some government agencies require experience, graduate education, or both, but many also hire people with a bachelor's degree and little work experience for entry-level management analyst positions.

    Few universities or colleges offer formal programs in management consulting; however, many fields of study provide a suitable educational background for this occupation because of the wide range of areas addressed by management analysts. Common fields of study include business, management, accounting, marketing, economics, statistics, computer and information science, or engineering. Most analysts also have years of experience in management, human resources, information technology, or other specialties. Analysts also routinely attend conferences to keep abreast of current developments in their field.

    Other qualifications. Management analysts often work with minimal supervision, so they need to be self-motivated and disciplined. Analytical skills, the ability to get along with a wide range of people, strong oral and written communication skills, good judgment, time-management skills, and creativity are other desirable qualities. The ability to work in teams also is an important attribute as consulting teams become more common.

    Certification and advancement. As consultants gain experience, they often become solely responsible for specific projects, taking on more responsibility and managing their own hours. At the senior level, consultants may supervise teams working on more complex projects and become more involved in seeking out new business. Those with exceptional skills may eventually become partners in the firm and focus on attracting new clients and bringing in revenue. Senior consultants who leave their consulting firms often move to senior management positions at non-consulting firms. Others with entrepreneurial ambition may open their own firms.

    A high percentage of management consultants are self-employed, in part because business startup and overhead costs are low. Since many small consulting firms fail each year because of lack of managerial expertise and clients, persons interested in opening their own firm must have good organizational and marketing skills. Several years of consulting experience are also helpful.

    The Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. offers the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation to those who meet minimum levels of education and experience, submit client reviews, and pass an interview and exam covering the IMC USA's Code of Ethics. Management consultants with a CMC designation must be recertified every 3 years. Certification is not mandatory for management consultants, but it may give a jobseeker a competitive advantage.

    Job Outlook

    Employment of management analysts is expected to grow 24 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations. Despite projected rapid employment growth, keen competition is expected for jobs as management analysts because the independent and challenging nature of the work and the high earnings potential make this occupation attractive to many.

    Employment change. Employment of management analysts is expected to grow by 24 percent, much faster than the average, over the 2008-18 decade, as industry and government increasingly rely on outside expertise to improve the performance of their organizations. Job growth is projected in very large consulting firms with international expertise and in smaller consulting firms that specialize in specific areas, such as biotechnology, healthcare, information technology, human resources, engineering, and marketing. Growth in the number of individual practitioners may be hindered by increasing use of consulting teams that are often more versatile.

    Job growth for management analysts will be driven by a number of changes in the business environment that have forced firms to take a closer look at their operations. These changes include regulatory changes, developments in information technology, and the growth of electronic commerce. In addition, as firms try to solve regulatory changes due to the current economic credit and housing crisis, consultants will be hired to render advice on the recovery process. Firms will also hire information technology consultants who specialize in “green” or environmentally safe use of technology management consulting to help lower energy consumption and implement “green” initiatives. Traditional companies hire analysts to help design intranets, company Web sites, or to establish online businesses. New Internet startup companies hire analysts not only to design Web sites but also to advise them in traditional business practices, such as pricing strategies, marketing, and inventory and human resource management.

    To offer clients better quality and a wider variety of services, consulting firms are partnering with traditional computer software and technology firms. Also, many computer firms are developing consulting practices of their own to take advantage of this expanding market. Although information technology consulting should remain one of the fastest growing consulting areas, employment in the computer services industry can be volatile, and so the most successful management analysts may also consult in other business areas.

    The growth of international business will also contribute to an increase in demand for management analysts. As U.S. firms expand their business abroad, many will hire management analysts to help them form the right strategy for entering the market; to advise them on legal matters pertaining to specific countries; or to help them with organizational, administrative, and other issues, especially if the U.S. company is involved in a partnership or merger with a local firm. These trends provide management analysts with more opportunities to travel or work abroad but also require them to have a more comprehensive knowledge of international business and foreign cultures and languages. Just as globalization creates new opportunities for management analysts, it also allows U.S. firms to hire management analysts in other countries; however, because international work is expected to increase the total amount of work, this development is not expected to adversely affect employment in this occupation.

    Furthermore, as international and domestic markets become more competitive, firms will need to use resources more efficiently. Management analysts will be increasingly sought to help reduce costs, streamline operations, and develop marketing strategies. As this process expands and as businesses downsize, even more opportunities will be created for analysts to perform duties that were previously handled internally. Finally, more management analysts will also be needed in the public sector, as Federal, State, and local government agencies seek to improve efficiency.

    Job prospects. Despite rapid employment growth, keen competition is expected. The pool of applicants from which employers can draw is quite large, since analysts can have very diverse educational backgrounds and work experience. Furthermore, the independent and challenging nature of the work, combined with high earnings potential, makes this occupation attractive to many. Job opportunities are expected to be best for those with a graduate degree, specialized expertise, and a talent for salesmanship and public relations.

    Economic downturns can also have adverse effects on employment for some management consultants. In these times, businesses look to cut costs, and consultants may be considered an excess expense. On the other hand, some consultants might experience an increase in work during recessions because they advise businesses on how to cut costs and remain profitable.

    Earnings

    Salaries for management analysts vary widely by years of experience and education, geographic location, specific expertise, and size of employer. Generally, management analysts employed in large firms or in metropolitan areas have the highest salaries. Median annual wages of wage and salary management analysts in May 2008 were $73,570. The middle 50 percent earned between $54,890 and $99,700. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,910 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $133,850. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of management analysts were:

    Computer systems and design related services $82,090
    Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 81,670
    Federal Executive Branch 79,830
    Management of companies and enterprises 73,760
    State government 55,590

    Salaried management analysts usually receive common benefits, such as health and life insurance, a retirement plan, vacation, and sick leave, as well as less common benefits, such as profit sharing and bonuses for outstanding work. In addition, all travel expenses usually are reimbursed by the employer. Self-employed consultants have to maintain their own office and provide their own benefits.

    Information about career opportunities in management consulting is available from:

    • Association of Management Consulting Firms, 370 Lexington Ave., Suite 2209, New York, NY 10017. Internet: http://www.amcf.org

    Information about the Certified Management Consultant designation can be obtained from:

    • Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc., 2025 M St. NW., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036. Internet: http://www.imcusa.org

    Information on obtaining Management and Program Analyst positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at http://www.usajobs.gov or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.

    Sources:

    • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition; and
    • Office of Personnel Management, Position Classification Standards.

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