Career Advice for Economists

Organizations of all types are increasingly relying on economists to analyze economic trends and markets, with the demand expected to continue to grow. That need becomes particularly acute during a recession, for example, with small businesses and other organizations faced with a lot of uncertainty about their future in the short- and long-term. Having an expert analyze economic damages can be the key to moving forward successfully.

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that between 2018 and 2028, the job outlook for economists is projected to grow 8 percent – that’s faster than average for any occupation. Those who earn a master’s degree or Ph.D. will have even better prospects for a high paying career in this field.

Transitioning From New Grad to New Employee

If you haven’t graduated yet and you’re studying economics but aren’t sure what you want to do with that degree, there’s no reason to worry as many people who are still in college, and even after, are still trying to figure out what their ideal career path will be. While you don’t have to make an immediate decision, you should begin learning about all the possible opportunities that will be available to you.

Begin with some self-exploration by identifying your passions. For example, if you enjoy learning about how legislation affects the market, you might want to pursue a career in policy. If you love crunching numbers and identifying data trends, you’ll probably be well-suited for fields like statistics or data science. Consider which type of working environment you’re best suited for too, based on your work style and personality.

If you have a passion for serving the public, a career in government may be worth pursuing, but if you’re hoping to make a big impact and move up the ladder quickly, working for a small startup is a good option.

Skill Sets to Develop

An economics major automatically has a leg up on others when finding work as hiring managers know you have to be smart to be an economics major. Anyone who works outside of the field typically finds economics to be rather mysterious and believes that it requires a high level of intelligence. Whether or not it’s true, of course, isn’t something that’s been proven, but it’s certainly useful to econ majors.

Some of the most important skills to develop include math skills as the most well-paying jobs will involve data analysis and require an excellent working knowledge of numbers. Many positions also require the ability to frame problems and pinpoint solutions, which means it’s a must to pay close attention to math exercises and know how to solve problems when studying economics. Learning a programming language and/or software is also a must, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Knowing how to analyze and manage data is an incredibly valuable skill for any economics major. If you can master spreadsheets and other statistical software, you’ll be a much better candidate for the job.

Build Your Resume Early

Start building your resume as early as possible by developing skills and taking part in marketable experiences. An internship is the very best way to gain hands-on work experience, and it can also lead to a job offer. Or, at a minimum, it’s a great way to explore possible careers without committing to one.

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