Step 1: Refresh Your Math, Statistics and Excel Skills

Everyone will begin this project with different background skills in math, statistics and Excel. Let’s start by thinking about what it means to engage in quantitative processes and the role these skills play in this project.

Next, assess your current baseline by refreshing your skills in math, statistics, and Excel. You will choose how much you already know and where you need to concentrate more attention in order to complete this quantitative analysis project.

After this refresher, you will create your own spreadsheet based on the template provided in the next step.

Step 2: Set Up Your Spreadsheet

Now that you’ve assessed and refreshed these important skills, you’re ready to begin. First download the Excel template course file and use it to set up your spreadsheet. This step has you set up your basic view in preparation for the use of several tools.


Set up Your Spreadsheet

1. Begin opening the spreadsheet.

2. Save as, and re-name it: LASTNAME_Workforce_Composition_Analysis_Semester_Year

3. Format the spreadsheet for Landscape with Narrow Margins.

4. Enter your name, date, and page number in the Footer area of the sheet.

5. Format the entire spreadsheet for Verdana 11 font.

6. The gray box at the top of the spreadsheet indicates what cell formatting to use for each column. Format columns accordingly.

7. Bold the column heading titles.

8. Rename Tab 1: Data.


Note: There are three sections to the spreadsheet on Tab 1, separated by gray bands, titled: Section 1: Data, Section 2: Category Keys and Summary Tables, and Section 3: Data Analysis



Step 3: Add Data

With your spreadsheet set up and saved with your last name, you’re ready to add data. In Section 1 on the Data page, complete each column of the spreadsheet to arrive at the desired calculations.

Add Data

In Section 1 on the Data page, complete each column of the spreadsheet to arrive at the desired calculations. Use Excel formulas to demonstrate that you can perform the calculations in Excel. Remember, a cell address is the combination of a column and a row. For example, C11 refers to Column C, Row 11 in a spreadsheet.

Reminder: Occasionally in Excel, you will create an unintentional circular reference. This means that within a formula in a cell, you directly or indirectly referred to (back to) the cell. For example, while entering a formula in A3, you enter =A1+A2+A3. This is not correct and will result in an error. Excel allows you to remove or allow these references.

Hint: Another helpful feature in Excel is Paste Special. Mastering this feature allows you to copy and paste all elements of a cell, or just select elements like the formula, the value or the formatting.

“Names” are a way to define cells and ranges in your spreadsheet and can be used in formulas. For review and refresh, see the resources for Create Complex Formulas and Work with Functions.

Ready to Begin?

As a starting point, in cell D9, use Define a Name under the Formulas menu to create the name “Annual_Hrs.” When setting up the name, enter the constant =2080 in the box named “Refers to.” This is the number most often used in annual salary calculations based on full time, 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year.

In E11, create a formula that calculates the hourly rate for each employee, by referencing the employee’s salary in Column C, divided by the name you created for the annual hours of 2080. Complete the calculations for the remainder of Column E.

In Column F, calculate the number of years worked for each employee by creating a formula that incorporates cell F9 and demonstrates your understanding of relative and absolute cells in Excel.

In Column I, use an IF statement to flag with a “Yes” any employees who have been employed 10 years or more.

Using the function VLookup, use the Region Key located at F417:G420 to fill in the cells in Column N to identify the region in which the employee is located based on the state listed in Column M. (If this function is new to you – hang in there – this one is worth it!

There are some video resources available that address some common “hard spots” in this Excel assignment. Do not be confused if you see a data set that is different than yours – the principles are the same! Remember, if you have any questions, ask.


Step 4: Use Functions to Summarize the Data

With your data built, you are now ready to start using some tools to summarize the data, using Countif and the Sum function to do the math. In this step, you’ll begin to see patterns in the data and the story of the workforce.

Summarize the Data

You are now ready to move into Section 2 to prepare the data for future analysis, to include some simple statistical analyses and charts and graphs to present the data. To start, begin by presenting categories of data in summary tables and counting them, totaling them, and calculating percentages. This basic analysis helps you begin to describe patterns in the data and starts to form the story of the workforce.

Complete each table in Section 2. Use the Countif Function to count each item in each table. Use the Sum Function to total the tables when required. Calculate percentages for each table as required. Format cells appropriately. Remember to make smart use of reference cells in formulas (avoid typing in numbers or text into formulas – point to other cells) and use mixed and fixed cell references to make copying formulas easier/faster. Your supervisor will look for this!



Step 5: Analyze the Workforce

You’ve summarized the data, and next, you will employ descriptive or summary statistics to analyze the workforce. Your summary table described “how many.” Now you will calculate mean, median, and mode for the categories of data, and derive the deviation, variance, and dispersion, and distribution. This is where it gets interesting!

Descriptive or Summary Statistics Introduction

In this section, you will expand your analysis by employing descriptive statistics or summary statistics to further describe characteristics of the workforce. Your summary table described “how many” and also offered proportions in relation to the entire workforce, but through this analysis, you can describe much more. For each of the following: salary, hourly rate, years of service, education, and age, calculate the:

mean, median, mode – average, middle, and most frequent data points in a set.

standard deviation – how spread out individual data points are from the mean; if data points vary greatly, the result is a higher standard deviation and vice versa. It is referred to as a “measure of dispersion” calculated as the square root of the variance. (Note: standard deviations – when calculating manually in Excel, you might see a slight difference between the result you get manually and the result you get using the Analysis Toolpak, depending on whether your version of Excel requires you to use the function DSTDEV or STDEV.S).

variance – the average squared distance between the mean and each data value. It is also a measure of dispersion, which is used to calculate the standard deviation. It is always nonnegative because the calculated squares are positive or zero. A small variance means that the data points are very close to the mean and to each other; thus, a high variance tells us that the data points are very spread out from the mean and from each other.

range – the difference between the highest (MAX) and lowest (MIN) values in a data set.

skewness and kurtosis – numerical measures to describe the shape of a data set and how close it is to a normal distribution. Skewness describes how symmetrical the data is around the mean. Kurtosis describes height and sharpness of the central peak (its peakedness or flatness) in comparison to a normal curve.


Your data set in Tab 1 should now be built. Next, you’ll create Tab 2: Excel Summary Stats


Step 6: Use the Analysis Toolpak

With your data set built, you will now use the Analysis Toolpak to do those same functions. This is a handy feature to know. Remember that there may be some minor differences in the answers depending on the version.

Use the Analysis Toolpak

The steps you just followed enabled you to calculate descriptive statistics using individual Excel functions. Did you know that you can generate the same descriptive statistics in one easy step?

Excel features an add-in to work with statistics as follows:

First, make sure you have enabled the data analysis toolpak feature.

Calculate the statistics for salary, hourly rate, years of service, education level, and age. Hint: You can perform these calculations in one step by highlighting the adjacent columns of data in D10:H382. Place the output on a new sheet in the workbook. Label the tab “Excel Summary Stats.”

Compare your calculations using the data analysis feature to the results you obtained in the previous step, when you calculated the results manually with individual functions. How did you do?



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