21 Top Careers That Need Microsoft Excel Skills (with Salary Data)

Last updated on December 22, 2022 By Victor Chan

Today, having Excel skills is more critical than ever. Those who know how to use Excel are more likely to find higher-paying jobs. And get promoted faster.

A study of close to 27 million job listings was published by Burning Glass Technologies in 2017. It showed:

  • 78% of middle-skill positions need spreadsheet skills and/or word-processing skills.
  • On average, having Excel skills increased earning potential by 12%.

Other research by NovelAspect.com on Indeed.com job listings in the 50 most populous US cities look at the most in-demand software skills. They found that Microsoft Excel skills were #1.

If you want to sharpen your Excel skills, look at our list of top Excel courses.

You’ll realize it’s worth paying for the best Excel training when you see this list of top careers that need it.

What jobs use Excel?

Here is a list of 21 careers requiring Excel (alphabetical order) with median salary data from 2021 and 2022.

Accountants and Auditors

Median Pay 2021 (US): $77,250 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 6% (as fast as average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 1,449,800

Accountants and bookkeepers use Excel in their jobs all the time. They perform complex calculations, such as amortization tables and depreciation schedules. They also use it to compute product costs, allocate overhead, and perform budgeting.

Excel is a powerful tool for these professionals as it allows them to accurately handle large amounts of data. It also provides visualizations of the data, allowing for easier interpretation and understanding.

Furthermore, Excel can track multiple accounts and their associated transactions in one place. This allows accountants to manage their clients’ finances efficiently.

Auditors examine and evaluate financial records and systems of internal control.

Excel Pivot Tables are a valuable tool for auditors to analyze and filter data quickly and accurately. This tool allows auditors to create reports and gain insights into the underlying audit planning questions. It can identify discrepancies and help the auditor to work more efficiently.

Auditors can also use Excel to create charts and graphs that make it easier to visualize the data and draw conclusions from it. Using formula audit tools, auditors can review financial records with greater speed and accuracy.


Median Pay 2021 (US): $105,900 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 21% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 28,300

Actuaries are highly dependent on Excel. They use it for hundreds of tasks, including building calculators, reporting, and analyzing data.

Actuaries seldom look at individual pieces of data. Instead, they look for trends in the data and try to understand the big picture. Excel is one of the must-have tools to do this.

Actuaries use functions like SUM, AVERAGE, INDEX, MATCH, VLOOKUP, XLOOKUP, and INDIRECT. They often use nested functions to build longer formulas for required calculations.

With the help of Excel VBA, an actuary can perform automated validation on large datasets.

This is especially useful when carrying out validation on predefined rules regularly (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.). It’s more effective to set up a VBA macro to do the validation rather than doing it manually each time.

You can learn how to use VBA to automate your calculations, data analysis, and reporting in Excel Macros and VBA School.

Having a proficient knowledge of Excel is an absolute minimum. Familiarity with Excel VBA, R, SQL, and Tableau gives a competitive advantage.

Administrative Assistants

Median Pay 2021 (US): $39,680 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: -8% (Decline)

Number of Jobs 2021: 3,413,600

An Administrative Assistant is expected to have a working knowledge of Excel. They often use Excel for data entry and to filter out extraneous information onscreen or in printouts. And facilitate day-to-day tasks such as invoicing and record-keeping.

It helps to have a working knowledge of Microsoft Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word to succeed. Or their equivalents in Google Workspace.

Most job postings for administrative assistants list strong Excel skills as a requirement.

Business Analysts

Median Pay 2021 (US): $93,000 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 11% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 950,600

Business analysts use Excel for data analysis, performance reporting, forecasting, and operations management.

Companies expect their business analysts to be Excel experts. Given the ever-growing amount of data that flows through a business, the need for Excel proficiency will grow in the 21st century.

Excel provides powerful features that can help business analysts to analyze and interpret data. This includes pivot tables, data validation, and lookup formulas like VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP.

Business analysts who provide business intelligence often provide decision-makers with visualizations of data. This can be in the form of dashboards or slide shows.

This helps to identify trends that may otherwise go unnoticed. Excel’s plethora of charts includes scatter charts, radar charts, and stock charts.

Business analysts seldom use Excel alone. It’s most often the tool they use to take data from external business systems and analyze it. The flexibility and power of Excel make it the go-to tool for analysts everywhere.

Cost Estimators

Median Pay 2021 (US): $65,170 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: -2% (Decline)

Number of Jobs 2021: 212,100

A cost estimator can use Microsoft Excel to create accurate and detailed estimates of the cost of a project.

They can do this by dividing the project into various phases and then entering the estimated time taken for each phase into an Excel sheet.

Cost estimators can use specialized software inside Excel. Examples include GeneralCOST Estimator for Excel, which is excellent for construction projects.

This software can create many sorting fields to allow for detailed sorting of the estimates. It also provides for the export of work products that summarize the data from a Project Cost Estimate into Word and Excel.

Data Analysts (Data Scientists)

Median Pay 2021 (US):$100,910 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 36% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 113,300

Large companies often employ teams of data analysts to collect, organize, and analyze raw data. Then turn this into actionable business insights.

In recent years, data analysts have moved away from Excel as the primary tool for analysis. They have adopted Python, R, Power BI, and Tableau, to name the more popular options.

But that doesn’t mean data analysts don’t use Excel.

Excel continues to be super relevant, and it’s a great tool for learning about the data analysis process. It’s reliable and affordable. Plus, it is easier to use than most other analysis tools.

It’s also a fantastic tool for getting quick insights when playing around with data — for instance, looking at revenue patterns, marketing trends, and quality issues.

And when data analysts have completed the initial organization and visualization in Excel, they can move on to other tools. Excel provides a quick way to get your head into data and charts, even if it’s not highly scalable.

To put it another way, Excel helps data analysts get to grips with the analysis process. And it can be used to prototype data project designs quickly before going into a more robust data tool.


Median Pay 2021 (US): $105,630 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 6% (As fast as average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 16,900

Economists study and apply economic concepts to boost profits and create better public policies.

An economist has a wide range of skills they use in their job, one of the most important being their ability to use Excel.

Excel is a potent tool for analyzing, reporting, and managing financial data. It helps economists apply economic theories and concepts to their projects.

Economists can create models, forecast trends, and present information in easy-to-read formats. They can use detailed charts to convey complex information at a glance.

Specific use cases are investment analysis, financial planning, and land use analysis.

Ultimately, the ability to use Excel is invaluable for an economist. It helps them make informed decisions regarding economic data.

Read our reviews of top online Excel courses to find the one that’s best for you.

Financial Analysts

Median Pay 2021 (US): ($95,570 per year) | Job Growth 2021-31: 9% (Faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: (31,900)

Financial analysts spend a ton of time in Microsoft Excel. They use it to process financial formulas, assess financial statements, and create what-if scenarios.

As stand-alone software, nothing comes close to Excel’s popularity in FP&A circles. Excel is to financial analysts as the smartphone is to Tik Tok users.

Financial analysis includes the following:

  1. P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow
  2. Financial modeling and business valuations
  3. Budgeting and forecasting
  4. Account reconciliations

Excel is used in financial analysis because it’s easy to use and has an unmatched depth of financial functions. These include:

  1. PMT (payment)
  2. PV (present value)
  3. IRR (internal rate of return)
  4. MIRR (modified internal rate of return)

On the front end, you can create visual reports and dashboard summaries. On the back end, you can store data and clean it for calculations.

The majority of other software platforms support the Excel file format. This means you can import data from corporate systems and SaaS solutions into Excel for analysis.

Finally, Excel has powerful macros functionality. This enables financial analysts to automate their workflow and get the most out of their spreadsheets.

You can learn how to accelerate Excel using VBA Macros in our popular online course “Excel Macros & VBA School”.

Financial Managers

Median Pay 2021 (US): $131,710 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 17% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 730,800

Financial managers create financial reports and direct investment activities. They develop plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Data analysis is an integral component of financial management. Financial managers often use Excel to make complex data-driven decisions. This includes:

  1. Preparing financial statements and forecasts
  2. Supervising team members who do financial reporting and budgeting
  3. Reviewing financial reports and business activity reports
  4. Analyzing market trends to find new opportunities and maximize current lines of business

Financial managers spend much of their time analyzing data and advising senior managers on maximizing profits. They often work in teams with financial analysts and act as key advisors to executive management.

They often have financial analysts reporting to them. This means financial managers need extra Excel skills to ensure the accuracy of spreadsheets given to them. As well as guide analysts on how to best start new projects.

You need excellent Excel proficiency to be a Financial Manager. As well as a solid understanding of how your specific industry works.

HR Analysts (HR Specialists)

Median Pay 2021 (US): $62,290 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 8% (Faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 782,800

An HR Analyst is a crucial part of any business; their job is to collect, compile and analyze HR data, metrics and statistics.

Using Excel in this role is invaluable. An HR analyst can quickly import data from multiple HR systems into Excel. Then make sense of it using formulas, formatting, and charts.

Most large companies use HR management systems with advanced people analytics. But HR professionals can still use Excel as a great day-to-day tracking and ad-hoc reporting tool. It can be used to answer questions and make better people decisions.

Having Excel knowledge puts you on the road to becoming a data-driven HR professional. And it’s easier and faster than relying on IT for reporting requests.

Excel has many tools like the Data Analysis Toolpak, Power Query, and Pivot Tables. These help HR analysts deliver high-quality support to their organization’s operations.

Investment Bankers (and Securities Dealing)

Median Pay 2022 (US): $162,715 per year | Job Growth 2022: 12.2% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2022: 115,376

Investment banking is a highly sought-after career for many people. Excel skills are essential to excel in this field.

An analyst’s day is typically spent doing research and writing reports. Analysts working in Investment banking must become world-class experts in financial modeling. This means using Excel to forecast the financial performance of a company.

Excel is used to conduct quantitative analysis, such as return sensitivity and accretion/dilution math.

Peering into an investment banking Excel model might not look like what most Excel users expect. It is formatted precisely and uses color codes such as hardcoding in blue font.

Excel is of utmost importance to aspiring junior analysts and associates in investment banking. They need to get really good at Excel (and Powerpoint) if they want to avoid late

3 am grinds.

Logistics Managers (Logisticians)

Median Pay 2021 (US): $77,030 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 28% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 195,000

Logistics managers coordinate the supply chain activities involved in production and distribution. This is a critical function for our modern economy.

They can use Excel to help track and manage various steps of the materials handling process. They can also create inventory reports to measure KPIs for warehouse management.

With Excel’s FORECAST function, a logistics manager can predict inventory turnover. This can help with inventory tracking, demand planning, and reordering.

Furthermore, a logistics manager can use Excel to organize and find information on employee records, SKUs, and ID numbers.

Finally, Excel can produce reports that rank suppliers to assess attributes like lead time and product quality.

Management Consultants (Management Analysts)

Median Pay 2021 (US): $93,000 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 11% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 950,600

Management consultants have one tool they can’t live without… Excel! It’s the primary analytical tool that consultants use to analyze data.

Consultants use Excel in the following scenarios:

  1. Create business valuation models
  2. Conduct profitability analysis
  3. Analyze survey data

Consulting clients often need consultants to analyze data, develop models, and forecast cash flows. Excel is ideal for all these situations.

Excel features like Goalseek can be combined with formulas and charts to produce financial models.

Pivot tables and arrays are also widely used by management consultants. They help when analyzing large data sets, for instance, customer purchases.

Management consultants typically spend 3-5 hours a day crunching data and preparing reports in Excel. It makes a massive difference if they master Excel’s shortcuts and features.

Market Research Analysts

Median Pay 2021 (US): $63,920 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 19% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 792,500

A market research analyst handles tons of data. This could be sales, product pricing, customer feedback, or other buying insights.

Using Excel for data analysis is the key to converting all this market data into actionable insights.

A market research analyst can use pivot tables, apply formulas, and create charts. They can work with large data sets with sorting and filtering.

Senior market research analysts also use Excel for strategic planning and problem-solving.

The Excel solver add-in can be used to optimize product pricing. If the price elasticity for a product is unknown, the demand curve can be modeled.

The Excel data analysis toolpak can be used to forecast the impact of running ads on product demand. Or which product attributes drive sales for a particular product.

Finally, market analysts can create custom dashboards. For instance, these can track website conversion events and KPIs to help analyze user behavior. Including content acquisition channels, retention, and lifetime value.

Personal Financial Advisors

Median Pay 2021 (US): $94,170 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 15% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 330,300

Financial Advisors help to manage their clients’ finances. They provide financial advice to individuals and businesses by analyzing financial data.

Excel is hugely popular among the financial advisor community. Whether for financial planning, investment analysis, or ad hoc planning, Excel is used extensively.

Particular use cases are:

  1. Evaluating internal rates of return to choose between a pension or lump sum
  2. Performing TVM (time value of money) calculations to project the value of wealth accumulation or make career decisions
  3. Determining the age at which a client should claim Social Security using NPV

Leveraging Excel can make a financial planning firm more efficient and organized. Despite the choice of other financial planning software, Excel remains incredibly popular. This is due to its inherent power, flexibility, and familiarity.

Procurement Managers

Median Pay 2021 (US): $75,410 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: -6% (Decline)

Number of Jobs 2021: 532,500

Procurement managers use Excel to make the best purchasing decisions for their organizations.

With tabular data in Excel, it is easy to monitor buying from suppliers and ensure that their organization gets the best value for their money.

In addition, they can use the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) to gain timely and accurate insights into the health of the global economy.

This data can help them make informed purchasing decisions based on pricing, inventory levels, and other factors.

With Excel, purchasing managers have a powerful tool to help them optimize their organization’s buying power. This ensures that they always have the resources they need.

Project Managers

Median Pay 2021 (US): $94,500 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 7% (As fast as average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 781,400

A Project Manager typically uses Excel to create a visual timeline chart and map out the project schedule and project phases.

Excel can be a great project management tool for small and mid-sized projects. It can help to visualize, plan, and track progress.

A project manager can plan each task with the help of task lists, owners, and start and end dates.

One of the most popular tools in project management is the Gantt chart. This maps tasks based on duration and completion due dates.

Excel can be used to create timelines and Gantt charts and is robust enough for many project managers. It’s often a quicker and more flexible alternative to purpose-built project management software.

Project management templates make the job of a project manager much more straightforward. For instance, take this excellent Excel timeline template. It’s been purchased by over 1,700 project managers.

Sales Managers

Median Pay 2021 (US): $127,490 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 5% (As fast as average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 469,800

Sales Managers use Excel as one of many tools to help them in their jobs. They can use it to monitor sales metrics and manage the entire sales process.

Excel is an incredibly valuable tool that can streamline workflows and improve efficiencies. It has a vast array of features and functions. These help sales managers analyze data, create reports, and forecast future sales trends.

They can use formulas and functions such as SUM, AVERAGE, and MAX. These help to calculate important metrics, such as average sales per customer or total sales for a specific product.

Sales managers collaborate with various other business roles using Excel. For example, working with Business Intelligence (BI) to help manage budgets and financial forecasts. And working with Retail Managers to find actual numbers and avoid making decisions based on estimates.

Sales managers can also use graphs and charts to visualize sales data, which can help spot trends and identify areas for improvement.

Excel is also a great tool for creating reports. These can be for presenting sales data to a sales team, boss, or client. The layout and formatting options in Excel can make your reports look clean and polished. There are countless templates to help.

With Excel’s built-in forecasting tools, a sales manager can predict how sales are likely to change over time based on past performance. This can be especially useful for planning and budgeting, as it allows more informed decisions about sales strategy.

Sales managers can also use Excel to manage training and administration. It’s a good tool for scheduling and organizing small teams, as well as tracking costs and timestamps.

Finally, one more useful feature of Excel for sales managers is its ability to automate tasks. With Excel VBA, you can create custom functions and macros that can save you time and effort by automating repetitive tasks.

For example, you could create a macro that automatically generates a sales report every week. Or one that updates your sales database whenever you have new information.

Software Developers and Quality Assurance Analysts

Median Pay 2021 (US): $109,020 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 25% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 1,622,200

As a software developer, you may not immediately think of Microsoft Excel as a crucial tool in your day-to-day work.

But trust me, improving your Excel skills can greatly benefit your career and make your job easier in a number of ways!

First and foremost, Excel is a handy tool for organizing and analyzing data.

As a software developer or quality tester, you may be working with large sets of data. This could be in the form of user data, error codes, performance metrics, or something else entirely.

Excel allows you to easily manipulate and visualize this data, making it much easier to understand and draw insights from. It’s a lot easier to play around with small to medium size data sets in Excel than using custom code.

One common use case for Excel in software development is for creating project management spreadsheets.

You can use Excel to track the progress of tasks, assign team members, set deadlines, and more. This can be especially helpful when working on small to mid-size projects with multiple team members. Excel is lightweight and easy to customize.

Project templates make the job of project management much easier. Check out this easy-to-use Excel timeline template. It’s been bought by over 1,700 project managers.

Another way that software developers can use Excel is to create charts and graphs to visualize data. Excel has a wide range of chart types to choose from, including bar charts, line charts, scatter plots, and more.

Excel charts can be incredibly helpful for understanding trends and patterns in your data. And they can be used to communicate your findings to others in a clear and visually appealing way.

Even though we now have tools like Tableau and R, it can often be easier to run a quick analysis in Excel. Having Excel skills is a valuable asset, even for programmers and quality testers!


Median Pay 2021 (US): $96,280 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 31% (Much faster than average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 36,100

Statisticians use excel as an incredibly useful tool. It can significantly improve efficiency and productivity on the job.

One of the primary uses of excel for statisticians is working with and manipulating data. Excel has a wide range of features to work with large data sets, create reports, and analyze data.

Excel has many functions specifically designed for statistical analysis. These include mean, median, mode, and standard deviation. Using these functions, it is possible to analyze data quickly to get a better understanding of trends and patterns.

Statisticians can use Excel’s wide range of charting tools to help visualize data. This includes making simple line charts, bar charts, or more complex scatterplots and bubble charts.

Excel’s powerful pivot tables and pivot charts allow you to quickly and easily summarize and present data in a clear and concise manner.

Excel is also an excellent tool for creating reports and presentations. Its formatting and layout options make it easy to create visually appealing documents that are easy to read and understand.

Another key use of Excel for statisticians is data modeling. Excel’s built-in solver tool allows you to create and solve complex mathematical models. These can be used to predict future trends and outcomes based on historical data.

Finally, Excel is an excellent tool for collaboration and teamwork. Its ability to share and collaborate on documents in the cloud in real-time makes it easy to work with colleagues and clients.

With Excel 365, you can easily share and review data, charts, and reports with team members, and make changes and see updates in real-time.

Training and Development Managers

Median Pay 2021 (US): $120,130 per year | Job Growth 2021-31: 7% (As fast as average)

Number of Jobs 2021: 38,100

Training and Development Managers are highly valued in the business world. They are responsible for teaching and training employees on various skills, including the use of Microsoft Excel.

Excel is a powerful tool that can help Training and Development Managers streamline their work, analyze data, and create visually appealing presentations.

It is an essential skill for professionals in this field, and learning how to use it effectively can set you apart from your peers.

One of the primary ways that Training and Development Managers use Excel is to create and maintain training records and reports.

These training trackers include key information to monitor training programs. This includes the number of employees trained, the types of training they received, and the results of their training.

With Excel, you can easily organize and sort this data, creating pivot tables to analyze and summarize it. This can help you identify trends and areas for improvement in your training programs.

Excel is also useful for creating training schedules and budgeting for training programs.

You can use it to track the cost of materials, instructors, and other expenses, as well as to monitor progress against your budget.

With Excel’s built-in formula capabilities, you can quickly calculate totals and create professional charts and graphs to visualize your data. All of this means that Training and Development Managers can elevate their careers by mastering Excel.

How can you improve your Excel skills?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Start by getting familiar with the basic functions and features of Excel. This includes learning how to enter data, create and format cells, and use basic formulas and functions.
  2. Practice using Excel on a regular basis. The more you use it, the more comfortable you will become with its features and capabilities.
  3. Take an online course or attend a workshop to learn more advanced Excel techniques. There are many resources available, including tutorials and video courses, that can help you learn more about pivot tables, macros, and other advanced features.
  4. Stay up-to-date with the latest Excel features and techniques. Microsoft regularly updates Excel with new tools and features, so it’s essential to stay current and learn how to use them to your advantage.

Improving your Excel skills can help you be more efficient and effective in all the jobs listed on this page. By mastering this powerful tool, you can create professional-quality reports and presentations, analyze data more effectively, manage projects, and create interactive learning resources for your team.

Check out our reviews of top online Excel courses

Are you keen to improve your Excel skills? Considering all the jobs that need Excel, it’s worth mastering it to take your career to the next level!

So don’t wait – check out our reviews of online Excel courses to find the one that’s best for you.

And read about the Top 15 Benefits to mastering Excel if you need to convince your company to pay for training.

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Hey, I'm Victor Chan

Are you struggling with complex Excel tasks? Feeling overwhelmed by spreadsheets that are hard to use?

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