What to Do With Your Economics Degree: Career Paths for An Economist
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.
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.
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/).
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/).
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:
- A Career in Economics
Additional Courses to Improve Your Prospects in a Career in Economics
If you're doing an economics degree and thinking about ways to maximise your career prospects once you graduate, there are lots of courses outside the realm of economics for you to choose from. From business to programming to statistics, there are plenty of areas which can help you improve your chances of getting a job and widen your skillset more generally, if you've got the money and time to enrol on one.
- Applying for a Conference
How to Write a Successful Motivation Letter for Economics Conferences
When you apply to present at an economics conference, you'll often be asked to provide a letter of motivation along with your abstract and CV. This is used to decide which applicants will be invited to give a talk or poster presentation at the conference. But what information should this letter of motivation contain, and what's the best way to increase your chances of being accepted to present?
The Pros and Cons of a Career in Research
Upon completion of a Master's degree or PhD, the big question arises: what next? Although it seems like natural progression to continue with further research, there are many other careers open to academics in business, education, or communication and journalism, to name but a few examples. So how do you know if research is the right career choice for you? A good way of figuring it out is weighing up the pros and cons. Browse our job listings for economics opportunities