What to Do With Your Economics Degree: Career Paths for An Economist

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Career advice

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Career advice


What kind of jobs can you get with an economics degree? Today we're considering five possible careers for economics graduates and the pros and cons of each.

Researcher

One appealing job for economics students is working as a researcher, either in a university setting or for a private company. This career makes use of many of the skills that you will have developed as a student, particularly if you have done postgraduate study which involved independent research. The role is to gather data, analyse it, and write reports which sum up your findings. This is a good career choice for those who have solid quantitative data skills and a high level of written communication skills. However, a disadvantage is that such jobs can be very competitive and sometimes only available as short-term contracts.

You would find research jobs for economists with organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (https://www.imf.org/) or the National Bureau of Economic Research (http://www.nber.org/).

Teacher

If you have completed your economics degree, you could consider working as a teacher in a secondary school, or as a lecturer at a university. It's increasingly common for economics to be taught at schools, and it's important for young people to understand the way that the global financial system operates. Teaching this information can be personally rewarding as you are directly helping young people to have a more financially empowered life. The disadvantage of this type of work is that it is usually poorly compensated when compared to the other types of career which are open to economists.

You could find teaching jobs at local secondary schools in your area, or at local and state universities. For example, universities which are currently hiring for economics lecturers include the University of East Anglia in the UK (https://www.uea.ac.uk/) or Charles Darwin University in Australia (http://www.cdu.edu.au/).



Analyst

A common career path for economics graduates is working as an analyst. This career involves analysing data, creating new solutions, and communicating these solutions to others. This would include roles such as business analyst, policy analyst, financial analyst, or market research analyst. These roles are all in different settings, but include the same fundamental skill set which you will have gained as an economics student. These jobs tend to be well compensated depending on the field, however, the work itself may be less inherently interesting than in other careers.

You could work as an analyst at a consulting firm such as McKinsey & Company (http://www.mckinsey.com/).

Management Consultant

Another career path which offers excellent compensation is working as a management consultant. This role involves joining businesses for a short period to observe their functioning and then offering advice on how the business could be run more efficiently and successfully. For those who are full of new ideas and enjoy problem-solving challenges, this can be an ideal fit. Consultants often use quantitative analyses, so a high level of skill with statistics is desirable. Having a consulting job in which you only spend short amounts of time with a client business can be an advantage for some, but others will find it tiring to be constantly adjusting to new environments and meeting new people.

Jobs as a management consultant are available at specialist consultancy firms like A.T. Kearney (https://www.atkearney.com/) or IBM Global Business Services, the professional services arm of IBM (http://www.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/consulting/).

Business Reporter or Journalist

One career which you might not have considered as an economics graduate is working as a business reporter or journalist. The happenings in the world of business and economics have ramifications beyond just the field, so there is a need for reporting on these events for a general audience. If you are gifted at communicating complex ideas in a simple way, and you are able to grasp business events but also to portray these events in a way which would make sense to the public, then you could be a reporter or journalist. Such work can require long hours and making yourself comfortable in a non-economics environment, but if you can deal with that, then the career can be interesting and worthwhile for broader public education.

You can find journalist jobs at newspapers such as the Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/) or the Financial Times (https://www.ft.com/) and reporter jobs at media outlets such as NBC (http://www.nbcnews.com/business) or the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/).


For more careers advice for economists, see our other articles:

>> 10 Most Useful Apps for Economics Students 

>> Top 10 Economics Journals

>> Top Finance Podcasts

>> Top Economics Podcasts

>> 30 Top Twitter Feeds in Economics and Finance