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Economist

Economists advise government departments, businesses, banks and other organisations about the economy.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £25,000 to £80,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a degree in economics or a related subject like business studies. Your course must include both macro and microeconomics.

Some employers may prefer you to have a postgraduate qualification in economics. 

In the private sector, you’ll usually start as an economic research officer or analyst. Employers may accept degrees in related subjects, like maths, statistics, or finance and accounting.

In the public sector, you could start as an assistant economist with the Government Economic Service (GES) and follow a structured fast-track development programme. 

You’ll need a degree (2:1 or higher) in economics or a combined degree with at least 50 per cent economics.

The Civil Service Fast Stream has more information on becoming an economist for the government.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • research skills
  • the ability to analyse complex information and statistics
  • report writing skills
  • maths and IT skills
  • communication skills, for explaining complex information clearly
  • organisational ability, for working on several projects at once
  • the ability to build good working relationships with a range of professionals

3. What you'll do

You’ll help governments develop policies, and businesses plan financial strategies.
 
Your work will vary depending on whether you’re advising the government or business sector, but your day-to-day duties might include:

  • researching information from computer databases, websites, journals and newspapers
  • monitoring past and present economic issues and trends
  • creating mathematical models to predict future economic developments
  • analysing statistics
  • writing reports and presenting findings
  • examining the effectiveness of current policies
  • advising on the potential economic impact of policies and ideas
In university-based jobs you’ll teach students and carry out research.

4. Salary

Starter: £25,000 to £28,000 (assistant)

Experienced: £43,000 to £55,000 (adviser)

Highly Experienced: £60,000 to £80,000 (senior)

Private companies may offer higher salaries than in the public sector or government.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

You’ll be office-based, but may need to travel in the UK and possibly overseas.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior levels or become a self-employed freelance consultant.

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Last updated: 14 December 2016