How to Be a Profitable Economist


Businesses and organizations increasingly rely on economists to help them analyze and quantify methods to forecast business, sales and other trends from the economy. As the global economy continues to recover, the demand for economists is expected to grow by 14 percent over the next 8 years.

This demand,however, is not universal. Currently the top employer is the Federal Government who employs about 45 percent of all economists. Over the next decade it is expected that the Federal Government will demand less economists and opportunities will dry up for new entrants to the market.

On the other hand, those who are looking to work in the private sector might see their opportunities increase substantially. It is likely that the demand will mean that economists will frequently find the most prevalent opportunities will be with a consultancy.

The current trend for pay also shows that the private sector is attempting to identify and attract the best economic talent. The median wage for an economist in 2012 was $91,860. Yet those working in the financial industry were able to take home $110,580. Some of the top earners were taking home $155,490.Even those paid at the bottom end of the scale earn $51,410 a year, which is still greater than the median average wage within the U.S.

Daily Work Expectations

If you are considering the economic career path, expect significant variation in your daily activities. The work can also come with some stress; as an economist you can expect to have strict deadlines and pressure with many of your projects. This means you could often be working late to finish projects on time.

An example assignment would be to study the economic impact an event would have on an economy. This could be anything from hosting a large sporting event to an economic conference for members of the largest economies in the world.

Work isn’t just related to money. As an economist you might have to examine the employment levels locally or nationally or determine various financial impacts in relation to exchange rates, taxes, inflation or interest rates.

Your insights will be critical to the decisions which senior managers make in your department, business or government agency. These insights will be generated through the use of looking at the current scenario and comparing it with historical data and running the data through software programs to look at possible outcomes.

Diverse Career Opportunities

One of the most rewarding aspects of becoming an economist, if you join a think tank or a research group, is when your work is published in national newspapers and journals. This can give you a great sense of achievement.

Those who do not want to spend their entire working careers as an economist may also find that this career offers them significant opportunities. The skills which an economist collects during their career are highly sought after, especially in the post secondary education.

Required Qualifications

If you are looking to become an economist you need to consider your qualifications as well. The vast majority of economists at least have a master’s degree in economics and so gaining this qualification is essential if you want to succeed.

If you are able to gain this qualification and you have the raw skills to be an economist you can look forward to a long and productive career. As you progress through your career you will find that your responsibilities grow as you gain recognition for your hard work and dedication.

Necessary Job Skills

The skills required for economists are unlikely to be diminished as the demand for them increases. One of the most important skills is the analytical mind. Being able to review data and observe patterns to determine highly logical conclusions is the mainstay of the job.

To help with the logical conclusion development, a critical thinking mind is required of economists. Some of the problems they are asked to solve are highly complex and a critical thinking mind helps them to logically go through the problem and seek solutions.

Once the information has been sorted and a solution found, this information needs to be conveyed to an audience. It could be given in the form of a presentation, written report or in an advice session with a client.

To portray this information an economist needs to have excellent communication skills in order to explain complicated economical concepts to individuals who do not have an understanding or background in the industry.

Besides communication skills you should be a person who is detail orientated with good math and writing skills. The latter is especially important as you may be asked to complete a paper or article for a national publication.


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