Industrial Organizational Psychologist

Woman industrial organizational psychologist discusses a strategy or problem with fellow workers in a company office

What you need to know


Industrial organizational psychologists apply psychology to the workplace by using psychological principles and research methods to solve problems and improve the quality of work-life. They study issues such as workplace productivity, management or employee working styles, and employee morale.

What is an industrial organizational psychologist?

Industrial organizational psychologists hold approximately 1,100 jobs in the US. They work in a variety of industries, and often work closely with human resources and leadership within an organization.

Some of the things an industrial organizational psychologist might do:

  • Assist management management with policy planning and organizational development
  • Observe, interview, and survey individuals within the organization
  • Facilitate or make presentations at meetings
  • Oversee testing and selection of employees
  • Implement employee training and development programs
  • Develop strategies to organize the work setting to improve worker productivity
What skills are needed?
  • Analytical skills: Industrial organizational psychologists must examine the information they collect and draw logical conclusions.
  • Communication skills: Industrial organizational psychologists must have strong communication skills because they spend much of their time listening to and speaking with organization members.
  • Integrity: Industrial organizational psychologists must keep employee information confidential, and earn the trust of coworkers.
  • Interpersonal skills: Industrial organizational psychologists must be able to work well with leadership and all workers in an organization to be effective.
  • Observational skills: Industrial organizational psychologists study attitude and behavior. They must understand the possible meanings of facial expressions, body positions, actions, and interactions.
  • Patience: Industrial organizational psychologists must demonstrate patience, because conducting research and implementing may take a long time.
  • Problem-solving skills: Industrial organizational psychologists need problem-solving skills to collect information, design research, and evaluate programs in the workplace.
What is the pay?

The average pay for industrial organizational psychologists in the United States is $105,310 as of May 2021.

The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

Overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow 2 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Organizations will continue to use industrial organizational psychologists to help select and retain employees, increase organizational productivity and efficiency, and improve office morale.



What education is required to become an industrial organizational psychologist?

Industrial organizational psychologists typically need a master’s degree, usually including courses in industrial organizational psychology, statistics, and research design.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Psychology.