By Scott Cawfield
Among the most sought-after skills in economics graduates are analytical skills, clarity, organization, research ability (especially in senior jobs), and quantitative skill. A knowledge of economics is often considered central to success in fields such as banking, financial analysis and advising, government research, and business management positions. What the employer often seeks is not just someone who can understand and explain economic concepts, but someone who can relate economic knowledge to an interdisciplinary environment, to explain economic factors to other professionals, and help the firm to profit as a result. Business is, in effect, an interdisciplinary activity involving marketing, communications, finance/economics, problem solving, and leadership skills.
The skills listed below are acquired from a study of economics; however, they are applicable in many occupational settings. A banker, a business analyst/writer, and an entrepreneur will all have to employ analytical skills on a daily basis to reach their particular goals, though often in different ways.
The study of economics gives you a wide range of occupational choices, notably in the banking/finance, business, education and communications, and government/public management career areas. Economists in the banking sector are frequently interviewed by the television news networks to give the latest spin on the statistics of the day, the current state of the market, or short-term prescriptions for policy action. In business, people with economics knowledge are frequently sought for executive training positions, and many senior-level managers have taken courses in economics and finance. The preferred educational route for senior-level positions in business is frequently an undergraduate degree in economics or economics and political science, topped off with a Master's degree in Business Administration. In teaching positions, usually the entry-level qualification is an M.B.A., M.A., or Ph.D. (the latter in hand or in progress is preferred). In communications positions related to the economy (e.g., an analyst on a television public affairs show), only an undergraduate course concentration in economics may be required. In government management positions, deputy ministers and senior-level management are often recruited on the basis of an undergraduate or graduate degree in economics, or combinations of economics and political science/public policy course concentrations.
The following careers frequently require economics training:
A 1996 Statistics
Canada study of the average annual earnings of government managers involved
in economic analysis showed that they earned $58,695 per year. Economists
and economic policy researchers and analysts made $58,578, while economic
development officers and marketing researchers earned $49,793. University
professors with tenure can expect to make $68,000 to $80,000 annually.
The average income for all occupations that year was $37,556.
If you already have an economics degree or specialization, you may want to visit careermosaic.com or monster.com during your job search. And, don't forget that the career counsellors at the university or college you graduated from will likely have some helpful suggestions, and possibly even have profiles of graduates who are employed in economics and related fields. You should ask if you can contact them for networking, as they may be able to help you find a job. If you want to branch out to other careers, a career services librarian or consultant will be able to help you identify key alternatives.