Academic journal article The Journal of Business Forecasting Methods & Systems

Benchmarking Forecasters' Background

Academic journal article The Journal of Business Forecasting Methods & Systems

Benchmarking Forecasters' Background

Article excerpt

Wenever a company looks for a person to hire, it specifies qualifications and responsibilities. Hiring a person for the position of forecasting is no different. Since forecasting is a fairly young function, companies that are starting out this function for the first time may want to know what kind of background they should be looking for in a forecaster. The survey results provide an answer.

OVERALL BACKGROUND OF FORECASTERS

The background of a forecaster can be categorized into two: (1) Academic and (2) Business. To get a handle on the academic background, we asked participants to check any one or more of the six majors: (i) Business, (ii) Engineering, (iii) Liberal Arts, (iv) Medical, (v) Sciences and (vi) Others. What was not covered by the first five was lumped under Others.' The survey shows that most of the practicing forecasters (51.01%) majored in business. Then comes engineering (14.77%) and sciences (13.42%). (See Figure 1) This may be because people majored in engineering and sciences are generally very good in math/statistics, which is very important in forecasting.

To find out about their business background, participants were asked to check any one or more of 8 attributes that best reflected their background: (1) Product/Market Knowledge, (2) Production/ Distribution/Logistics, (3) Statistics/Math, (4) Accounting/Finance, (5) Sales, (6) Marketing Research, (7) Information System/Technology, and (8) Others. Again, what was not covered by the first seven was lumped under 'Others.' From the survey it appears that there is no concentration in any one particular area. The largest percentage of forecasters has a background in Production/Distribution/ Logistics (19.75%), followed by Product/ Market Knowledge (19.55%) and Statistics/Math (14.74%). (See Figure 2)

BACKGROUND OF FORECASTERS BY INDUSTRY

With respect to the background of business forecasters, the pattern within industries is very similar to the overall pattern. This is true with both academic and business backgrounds. Of course, there are a few exceptions here and there. …

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