5 Careers for Economics Graduates
- Government Worker
Economics is a wide ranging discipline that studies wealth and other resources and how they are created, used, circulated, and exchanged. It encompasses behavioral economics, which studies how individuals react to economic conditions and incentives, as well as macroeconomics, which considers the wealth of entire nations. Students of economics develop a wide range of analytical, critical, and mathematical skills applicable to a variety of jobs in business, government, and the nonprofit sector. Some of these jobs actually bear the title "economist" but others may include words such as "analyst" or "consultant" or other descriptive terms.
1. Government Worker
Many government agencies hire graduates with degrees in economics. Economics graduates who know foreign languages or have expertise in international politics can work in the Foreign Service or with development or foreign aid agencies. The Federal Trade Commission, Department of Labor, and Federal Reserve Board employ people trained in economics. Many elected officials need economists on their staffs to give advice about the economic impacts of legislation.
Among the many well-paid jobs available to people with degrees in economics are positions in management consulting. In these positions, one usually works with a firm such as one of the "Big Three" (McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company) or smaller equivalents on projects for various clients who are trying to improve profitability or productivity. People interested in management consulting careers often combine an undergraduate degree in economics with an MBA.
The banking industry hires economics graduates in a wide range of roles, including financial planning, risk analysis, and data analysis. Expertise in economics is particularly important in areas such as investment and private banking which require the ability to understand how macroeconomic issues may affect markets. Bankers can also work as loan officers or in other customer-facing positions. Jobs in banking can lead to careers in bank regulation and vice versa.
Economics training can lead to careers in accounting, although additional certification as a CPA is advisable for such a career track. Accountants can specialize in such areas as taxation, auditing, compliance, or finance. Combining a background in the broader analytical skills of economics with technical skills in accounting is a path to roles in corporate finance which include analysis, policy, and strategic planning, in such roles as financial analyst, controller, taxation specialist, or eventually executive positions such as Chief Financial Officer.
A wide range of businesses need analysts. Economics graduates can work for "big data" companies looking for trends in online browsing habits or purchasing. Within most other businesses, analysts can examine productivity and profitability, identifying ways to improve both. Analysts can be part of teams creating new products or identifying new markets or opportunities. Analysts can work to improve existing business operations or become involved in long-term and strategic planning.
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There are many different careers available for economic graduates. Although, according to the American Economic Association, many of these careers are in business, opportunities abound in such diverse areas as law, government, medicine, and international relations.