You've learned everything there is to know about supply and demand, pricing, trade, interest rates, and how money makes the world go around, well almost. How do you put that knowledge to use?
Few things in life are more rewarding than obtaining a degree. Now that you've finished your economics education program, it's time to put on your go-to-work hat. Perhaps you entered school knowing exactly what you were going to do with your degree. However, if you haven't quite settled on what that just-right job looks like, we have some ideas.
Forbes lists economics degrees in the top ten of best master's degrees. The information you learn in your degree program can be used in major-league corporate roles, government positions, and even in jobs with nonprofit agencies. Let's dive into the 10 best jobs for people with economics degrees.
Here are the top 10 jobs you can land with your degree in economics:
Whether you've obtained a Bachelor's degree or Master's degree, there is a range of opportunities for you. If you've already had some career experience, that's great. Transferable skills can complement the information you learned during school. Add to that the soft skills, like critical thinking, you'll be able to fine-tune during college, and you'll be all set to enter the workforce.
Transferable and soft skills economy majors have
No matter which career you choose, you will be turning a lot of quantitative data into qualitative insights. So, of course, analytics is a huge skill that you'll bring with you from your economics degree program.
Here are some others:
Communication: Being able to communicate and articulate complex concepts to laypersons is going to be one of the main things you do. You're solving problems for people who have little to no knowledge of economics and how what is happening will be affected by external forces.
Problem-solving: As you analyze situations, change initiatives or new program implementations, you'll need the ability to reasonably infer answers to questions to solve problems.
Computing: Each role that you research will use different types of software. You're not expected to know them all, but it helps to be moderately computer savvy so that you can quickly assimilate to whatever program is being used by the company you work for.
Time management: There is a lot of research and analysis that goes on with roles that economy majors can choose. Oftentimes, research can go on and on forever depending on how finely tuned you want to make the details of your report. You'll have to set specific goals with each project you work on to ensure that you get things done within a given timeframe.
Critical thinking: You'll likely be handling some very large and complex data sets. It can be easy to get overwhelmed. Employing an ability to think critically, will allow you to build a set of actionable insights for the company's leadership.
Private sector jobs
An important step in narrowing down your job search is to decide whether you want to work in the private sector, with the government, or for a nonprofit agency. There are lesser-known positions available in academia and the science community, but the private is where a lot of economists hang their hats.
Whether you decide to work in a bank, at an investment firm, or at some major corporation, you'll enjoy a great deal more fluidity in job opportunities. You'll also experience a quicker climb up the career ladder in a private sector job than in a public job. The biggest downfall is that increased competition among companies can cause you to have to work longer hours.
Public sector jobs
Jobs held within the public sector include places like schools, healthcare, civil service, the armed forces, and emergency services. All of these need people who can analyze and review budgets and gather data to help make long-range decisions. You can choose to work at the local, state, or federal level.
Since the public sector isn't subjected to the same type of competition found in the private sector, you likely won't have to endure long hours. In fact, your overall career will probably be more stable with the government because profitability and market stability don't usually influence hiring decisions. You can also chase some of your passions by influencing policy and legislation based on research, analysis, and interpretation of market events.
Don't let the term 'nonprofit' fool you. You can still make a good bit of money working in the nonprofit arena. Nonprofits receive funding, have surplus revenue, and perform services that are for the greater good. They need economists who can help their organization make a positive impact on the world.
You can flex your knowledge of politics, complex funding strategies, and supply and demand to help agencies drive change and fuel stability. Many people choose to work with nonprofits simply because there is a great sense of satisfaction. It can be rewarding to know the efforts you spent tens of thousands of dollars on learning are making a big splash in the world.
Here are the top 10 jobs for people with degrees in economics
While the possible job options are countless, there are careers that people with economics degrees tend to gravitate towards. They include:
1. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
If you desire to work with individual clients and their families to pave pathways to financial freedom, this is the role for you. CFPs assist their clients with everything from tax and estate planning to retirement and insurance. There will be an exam you have to take after college for the certification, and you have to commit to ongoing annual continuing education programs. As far as rewarding careers in finance and economics, CFP ranks right up at the top.
Important skills: Relationship building, business development, research, analytics, communication, and attention to detail.
Average salary: $94,170*
*Salary and job growth data were obtained from Salary.com, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, and Zippia.
2. Data Scientist
Are you a problem solver? If you love analyzing data, both structured and unstructured, to make sense of a situation and recommend actionable changes, then welcome to your future. A propensity for mathematics and statistics will serve you well in this career. On top of that, you can leverage critical soft skills like being creative.
Important skills: Analytics, data management, computer savvy/cloud services, mathematics, communication, process improvements, and leadership.
Average Salary: $100,910
3. Financial Analyst
This is different from a financial planner because of the level of research you provide into your client's (or employer's) finances and the advice you provide. Your role can be broken down into a buy-side role or a sale-side role. You'll study market trends, perform competitor analyses, and monitor policies and regulations to provide investment advice. You could also supervise mutual and hedge funds.
Important skills: Strategic thinking, powers of persuasion, communication, time management, regulatory compliance, and problem-solving.
Average Salary: $83,660
4. Investment Fund Manager
This role could also show up in your job search as Portfolio Manager or Investment Analyst. Basically, you'll oversee the investment strategy of large liquid assets. These assets could be from an individual or a business. The ultimate goal is to maximize the return on whatever investments you select. Your degree in economics will give you a solid footing for monitoring financial and operations performance and mitigating market risk.
Important skills: Intellectual curiosity, analytics, communication, business understanding, financial statements, relationship building, and due diligence.
Average Salary: $134,180
A career representing a group of constituents is perfect for an economics major. You don't even have to become a politician, you could be a member of the politician's staff. No matter where you begin a political career, a basic understanding of things that affect economies (e.g., inflation, unemployment, and taxes) will help you. As your political career progresses, you'll be able to analyze economic problems and present legislation to correct them.
Important skills: Social awareness, networking, critical thinking, research, public speaking, crisis management, and problem-solving.
Average Salary: $122,510
The Controller position is usually where the buck stops as far as financial decision-making within a business. Depending on the size of the company you work for, you could have a team of accountants and financial analysts reporting to you. You're responsible for ensuring that your company maintains compliance with regulations, which is especially critical if your company is publicly traded. As a Controller, you'll also set budgets and manage expenses.
Important skills: Accounting, regulatory compliance, technology, analytics, communication, internal controls, leadership, and business strategy.
Average Salary: $131,710
7. Urban Planner
Have you ever driven through your city and thought, “This empty field would be a great place for a dog park.”? Well, if you become an urban planner, you may be able to do something about that. An economics degree is great for someone who desires a foray into the world of urban planning because you will need to draw parallels between economic, social, and environmental issues.
Important skills: Analytics, communication, decision-making, leadership, economic development, planning, creativity, and high emotional IQ.
Average Salary: $75,950
The field of law has so many areas, including those that require some background in economics. For example, you could go into corporate law, tax law, antitrust law, and even medical malpractice law. Much of what you'll do will require you to be a data analyst, controller, and financial planner all rolled into a single position, making this a great career choice for an economics major.
Important skills: Analytics, research, communication, relationship building, persuasion, communication, articulation, stress management, business operations, and time management.
Average Salary: $127,990
Regardless of the anticipated decline in the number of Business Reporters over the next ten years, someone will need to analyze facts, do research, observe business changes, and inform the public about what's going on. You'll need to know a lot about the world of business and build up some contacts to get the inside scoop. Most commonly, you'll write about things like business news and international economic trends.
Important skills: Discernment, research, communication, articulation, transparency, accountability, social awareness, and critical thinking.
Average Salary: $62,945
10. Market Research Analyst
As a Market Research Analyst, you'll analyze and review business conditions and competitors to draw correlations between consumer needs, company offerings, and product pricing. You'll devise a marketing strategy that closes any gaps between supply and demand to maximize profitability and generate new revenue. Your background in economics is perfectly suited for this role and will help you identify patterns in consumer behavior and predict sales forecasts based on the economy.
Important skills: Analytics, research, communication, critical thinking, pattern and trend awareness, process improvement, data-driven insights, and attention to detail.
Average Salary: $63,920
The versatility of an economics degree cannot be understated. Whether you go into academia, private industry, or government jobs, you'll need a stellar resume.
TopResume has a team of professional resume writers standing by to make your career and education history shine.
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