An Economist uses economic theories, models and analytical techniques to study the economy to uncover trends and propose solutions that will aid in the decision making of individuals, companies and industries in general. The topics that economists study include; inflation, interest rates, imports, immigration, employment statistics and current market trends.
Day-to-day activities and responsibilities
There are different job sectors that an Economist could explore. These include working for the Government, financial institutions, banks, private companies or universities. Depending on the exact specifications of the job, the work could include:
- Producing in-depth research papers on economic trends and forecasts
- Presenting strategic reports to senior management, key decision makers, fellow economists, company directors and government officials in order to assist them in making medium to long-term decisions
- Analysing trends in the economy to create mathematical models to forecast and make useful predictions
- Performing in-depth research and trend analysis into major financial markets
- Examining growth rates, risk factors and forecasts on behalf of clients
- Preparing financial charts and tables for analysis and presentations
- Conducting detailed business feasibility studies
- Performing budget management and monitoring duties
- Advising on the potential economic impact of policies and ideas
- Developing methods to improve current policies
- Providing tailored research to clients on topics of their choosing
Workplace and working hours
The work of an Economist is office-based. Some travel may be required to attend conferences and meetings.
Typical working hours would be Monday to Friday from 9 AM – 5 PM, although some flexibility may be required when working in certain sectors.
Starting salaries for Economists can range between £25,000 and £35,000. Experienced economists can earn up to £50,000, depending on the location, the size of the employer and previous work experience.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
This particular industry is highly competitive and entry requirements may vary depending on the company.
Typical entry requirement for this role is an economics-related degree at 2:1 or above. Related degrees in finance and business will also be considered. Having relevant postgraduate qualifications will improve a candidate’s chances of securing a higher-paid position.
Relevant experience is also highly valued by employers and would support a strong application.
Skills and personal attributes
- Research and analytical skills: Ability to analyse statistic information, extract relevant information, observe trends in data, and paying attention to detail.
- Communication skills: Being able to communicate confidently with colleagues and clients. Conveying findings in a clear and concise manner to others.
- Writing skills: Economists are required to write long financial reports and therefore the successful candidate must have excellent writing skills in order to avoid making grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes in the reports.
- Time management skills: Economists tend to work on multiple projects simultaneously; it is, therefore, vital that the job holders can manage their own time and prioritise tasks accordingly.
Job likes and benefits
- Responsibility to develop ideas and help improve systems
- Travelling to attend conferences and meetings. This will allow one to network with other like-minded professionals in the finance, business, and banking sectors.
Job challenges and disadvantages
- Handling workload and working on tight schedules. This job requires one to prioritise tasks and be able to work under pressure.
- Working with technical data and information, in order to construct well-written reports and presentations. This forms a large part of the job and may not be suitable for those that do not enjoy working with raw data or statistics.
Job progression and career prospects
Job progression depends on the organisation. Through increased experience and good performance, it is common to be promoted, particularly in the private sector. Additionally, one can progress from this role to a variety of other roles including; Economics Advisor, Senior Economist or Senior Financial Advisor.
According to government statistics, jobs in this and closely-related roles are projected to grow by 7% over the period to 2024 (Source: LMI for All).
National Institute of Economic and Social Research