An economics degree will boost your employability in many areas, regardless of the industry you work in. There is strong demand for highly numerate graduates throughout the global labor market, and the widely transferable analytical and problem-solving skills developed by economics students means that careers in economics are extremely wide ranging and diverse.
Below are a range of popular economics careers, with details on what to expect and the skills you’ll need. For more advice on getting a graduate job, read our guide on how to find a job after university.
What can you do with an economics degree?
Common career paths for economics graduates include:
- Financial risk analyst
- Data analyst
- Financial planner
- Economic researcher
- Financial consultant
- Investment analyst
- Public sector roles
While some choose to continue to study economics at graduate level (e.g. a Masters in Economics), this is not a necessity to find a good graduate job. This shouldn’t deter you from further study if you’re aiming at highly specialized roles (such as becoming a professional economist), but it’s useful to know that economics careers in finance and other sectors are widely available to those with just a bachelor’s degree. See below for more common careers in economics.
Professional economist careers
As a professional economist, you’ll be involved in researching and analyzing economic data, issues and trends. For the majority of economist careers, you’ll need to study economics at postgraduate level to gain the specialist skills required. To be a professional economist you’ll also need to be confident in producing economic forecasts and reports to present to clients (individuals, companies, financial organizations and public bodies) and to advise on policy and/or business strategy accordingly.
Possible employers include local and national government, public and private banks, insurance companies, think-tanks, large multinational companies, financial consultancies, accountancy firms and local authorities. A sound awareness of current affairs and economic contexts is essential in these roles.
Economics careers in banking
Banking careers are very popular with economics graduates, offering scope for high earnings and have a high demand for economists. Graduates with a background in economics are particularly valued for roles in financial control, financial planning, risk analysis, data analysis and consultancy. With a focus on keeping the financial requirements of clients and businesses on track, banking careers are largely concerned with advising and providing services for a range of banking clients and consumers.
Economics careers in accountancy
To become a qualified accountant you’ll need further professional qualifications, but many accountancy roles are available to those who studied economics. In accounting roles you can work across multiple industries, focusing on monitoring the financial situation of an organization, business or individual. Careers in accountancy typically focus on recording, classifying, interpreting and communicating financial data.
These careers require strong analytical skills, mathematical proficiency, computer literacy, an understanding of all elements of company finances, and the ability to contextualize the data collected. Economics graduates are often able to make sense of complex data sets and identify the root of financial problems, making them good matches for accountancy roles.
Economics careers in business and financial consultancy
Economists and economics experts are at the heart of the business world and financial consulting. Economics graduates may find positions in large and medium-sized organizations where economic research is required. The role of an economic researcher requires in-depth knowledge of economic theories and models, thorough analytical and problem-solving skills and mathematical ability. Financial consultants in the area of economics would fill similar roles but may work for multiple clients instead of just one organization, producing reports and advising on business strategy. Up-to-date industry knowledge and awareness of corporate finance is essential in these roles.
Economics careers in the public sector
Those who study economics will be valued in all areas of public and private spending, including roles within pricing and risk analysis, financial consultancy and economic planning. Economist careers in the public sector are often involved in public taxation, transport, commercial and waste services, energy and other forms of government spending. Thanks in large part to the most recent global recession, and the tightening of economic regulation by governments across the globe, economics students are currently seeing an increase in demand in this sector.
Actuarial and data analysis careers in economics
An actuary is a business professional whose role is to evaluate and advise on the impacts of financial risk and uncertainty. Using knowledge of both business and economics, actuaries provide reports and devise strategies on how to lessen these risks. Most entry-level job roles in this field are within pensions and insurance, but later on you may have the opportunity to move towards areas including banking, investment and healthcare. Actuaries should be skilled in mathematics and compiling statistics, but also able to communicate complex data effectively to non-experts.
Alternative economics degree jobs and careers
With a background in economics it seems anything is possible. Other common economics careers and roles include auditor, stockbroker, insurer, business manager, retail merchandizer, pricing analyst, statistician, financial consultant and salesperson.
But what can you do with an economics degree if none of the above appeals to you? Well, you may want to also consider these broader options: business intelligence, international development, human resource management, IT, journalism, law, management, market research, politics, public relations, social research and taxation. Or, you could even become an entrepreneur and start your own business!