Economics is an expansive field, and it is usual to graduate from your economics degree with a broad set of transferable skills that will put you in good employment stead – whether you want to pursue specific economics careers or take a broader approach. While being a professional economist might be the number one choice for those most passionate about the subject, there are several other economics-related and economics-friendly careers to choose from.
An economist is someone who researches and analyzes economic trends, issues and data and produces forecasts and reports from an economic perspective. They may then use this information as a basis for advising clients such as companies, financial institutions and public bodies so they can form economic policies or strategies. As an economist you will spend your days collecting and interpreting data, spotting and forecasting trends and creating reports to showcase the data. You are likely to use specialist software and advanced methods in statistical analysis. Most professional economist jobs require at least a master’s level degree.
Economic consultancy careers
Although similar to the role of an economist, economic consultancy careers are based on providing advice to individual businesses and organizations. Consultants are hired on a case-by-case basis to analyze the organization’s economic status and propose plans to help improve and change their existing programs.
As an economic consultant you may be a member of a consultancy firm, work independently on a freelance basis, or perhaps have the opportunity to offer your expertise within your own organization. You may also work for international organizations such as the United Nations, aid agencies and non-governmental organizations, think tanks or policy institutes. Many management and social research consultancies may also employ specialists able to focus on economic analysis.
Financial analyst careers
A variety of different roles fall within the category of financial analyst careers, all based on being able to research and analyze financial information and present this information to help various clients and managers make decisions.
Investment analysts help clients manage investment portfolios, while financial analysts gather research on financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies. Meanwhile, a financial risk analyst will identify and analyze areas of potential risk that threaten the assets, earning capacity or success of organizations (also called risk managers, technicians or surveyors).
Each of these roles is likely to involve spending time keeping up with financial press, using online sources, designing spreadsheet-based models, liaising with clients and managing the research project from conception to delivery.
The knowledge gained from an economics degree could also be transferred into a range of accountancy careers. Chartered accountants provide trustworthy information about financial records, provide professional advice and ultimately maximize profitability for their clients. Chartered certified accountants do a similar job, but with a more business-focused view, contributing to their client’s business strategy.
Chartered public finance accountants also do a similar job, but their clients are within public sector organizations such as local and central government. As such, they aim to ensure public services are provided as effectively as possible with the limited resources available. The role also varies widely from general financial administration to management consulting.
Accountancy careers involve financial reporting, taxation, auditing, financial accounting, corporate finance, business recovery and insolvency and accounting systems and processes.
If you enjoyed your mathematics modules, you might be interested in statistician careers. You’ll use mathematical techniques and software to collect, analyze and interpret data and communicate the results to your client. You’ll have to make sure that the complex statistical concepts you will be working with are explained in a way the client can understand and advise them on their strategy.
Working in a range of sectors such as health, education, government, finance, environment, transportation and market research, you will often be working in teams, usually including professionals from other disciplines and will need strong analytical, IT, interpersonal and communication skills.
Other economics careers
Other economics careers you might consider include roles in many interrelated sectors, such as actuaries (business professionals who deals with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty, providing an assessment of financial security systems); stockbrokers (look after the investment portfolios of their clients, buying and selling shares on the stock exchange for maximum return); and bankers (helping with the financial requirements of individuals and businesses, providing advice and financial services).
Other career paths include roles in auditing, business intelligence, economic planning, insurance, international development, management, market research, poverty reduction, retail merchandising, statistics, social research, tax, human resource management, IT, journalism, law, PR, politics, sales or entrepreneurship.
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