How to Find a Career in Economics


Not everyone loves numbers and the study of economics, but for the many that do, the study of production and consumption could not be more invigorating. In fact, considering the fascinating insight economics can provide into the human psyche ― how economics works to disassemble and understand human behavior to predict particular buying and selling habits ― it might be said that all economics suffers from is poor marketing. Indeed, for some, learning economics isn’t boring in the slightest; unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the job search.

Economics majors can easily find work after graduation ― but that doesn’t mean they will find work doing what they love. Even with a bachelor degree in economics, it isn’t easy to access a career that requires actual knowledge and experience in the field. As a result, most economics majors find themselves post-graduation in positions that only barely relate to the theories and practices they eagerly studied in school. The truth is that most employers are eager to hire true economists, but many don’t know how to find the work they feel passion for. This guide can help budding economists confidently obtain the complex and important work they crave without settling for a boring job in middle management.

Obtain Advanced Economics Education

Economics Education

Typically, advanced degrees aren’t necessary for employment at most companies. In fact, millions of people find jobs with barely a high school education. However, for those who are eager to work within economics, the standards are notably higher. With a bachelor degree, job hunters can secure positions that have tangential relation to their chosen field of study, like accounting or finance. If one wishes to land higher in the industry they must return to school to pursue a master’s degree in economics .

Though undergraduate economics students may feel their workload is impossible, the truth is few bachelor programs push beyond the foundations of the science. Therefore, it is only at the graduate level that students have the opportunity to learn the complexities of the field and perform their own studies, which is the experience necessary to develop a career in economics.

Understand Applications of Economics

It is possible to study economics simply for the love of it, but to build a successful career, students must understand the science’s practical applications. During the course of study, economists learn all sorts of hard and soft skills that are unendingly useful in industry, but many must learn how to discuss these skills without using economic jargon. For example, job-hunting economists can describe their skills to laymen using the following terms:

  • Manipulating data
  • Finding relationships
  • Developing useful statistics
  • Understanding new business models
  • Researching new industries
  • Exploring new product possibilities

Though these skills are specialized in certain capacities for the study of economics, stripping them down to easily digested descriptions helps economists better describe their potential roles within businesses.

Don’t Look for Expected Job Titles

There is a widespread misunderstanding about what economics actually is and what economists actually do ― even among noteworthy economists. Hiring managers around the world associate economists with complex government jobs, particularly those associated with policy for the Federal Reserve, but as economics students should know from their studies, economics is applicable to any industry. Therefore, aspiring economists can search nearly anywhere for related job opportunities ― but they need to know what to look for, first.

job searchRarely will a job board advertise open positions with titles that include the term “economist” ― and those that do likely won’t relate to the field whatsoever. Instead, economists should use their understanding of the applications of economics to decipher job descriptions and find interesting and pertinent opportunities. Often, the most economics-heavy jobs will include the word “analyst” in almost any capacity.

Search All Industries for Openings

After obtaining sufficient advanced education, it is essential to gain a few years of experience in the field before either returning to academia or attempting to secure more prestigious jobs (perhaps at the Federal Reserve). Because every industry can benefit from the skills and enthusiasm of a dedicated economist, most job seekers can find work in any industry. Still, it is wise to research industry information and company data before signing up for the first available job. Then, economists will never find the work they do boring and they’ll enjoy every day (or most, anyway).

About the Author: Cher Zavala contributes content on a variety of subjects to a number of high-quality websites.