Economists are financial professionals in charge of conducting research, monitoring data, analyzing information, and preparing reports and plans to solve economic and business problems, as well as developing models to analyze, explain, and forecast economic behaviours and patterns. A good Economist is sought after in basically any industry. They are employed by government departments and agencies, as well as throughout the private sector by associations, unions, commercial enterprises, research organizations, banks, universities, and investment and consultancy firms.
An Economist applies their technical knowledge to actual, real-life events and developments to be able to provide vital insights into their financial, political, and social impact. They give advice on matters such as Finance, fiscal and monetary policy, international trade, agricultural and natural resource commodities, and labour and industrial markets. Some Economists study the cost of products, healthcare, or energy, while others examine employment levels, business cycles, or exchange rates. Furthermore, they could also analyze the effect of taxes, inflation, or interest rates.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Economists are required to complete.
- Conducting research and developing reports to analyze, explain, and forecast economic behaviours and patterns, as well as devising methods for collection and analysis of data:
- Forecasting production and consumption of specific products and services based on past records and general economic and industry-specific conditions;
- using a variety of software programs, including spreadsheets, statistical analysis, and database management programs in order to research and analyze data;
- preparing forecasts of income and expenses, as well as interest and exchange rates;
- analyzing factors which determine economic growth and advising on policies to increase economic activities;
- analyzing factors which determine labour force participation, employment, wages, unemployment, and other labour market outcomes; and
- monitoring economic data to assess its effectiveness and advise on the appropriateness of monetary and fiscal policies.
- Reviewing mathematical models and statistical techniques in order to apply them to the testing and quantifying of economic theories and to help resolve economic problems:
- Examining issues related to the economic activity of individual companies; and
- conducting research on financial methods, production costs and techniques, and marketing policies to recommend possible improvements.
- Researching the nature of money, credit, and bank operations, as well as other financial institutions to develop monetary policies and financial activity forecasts.
- Researching and analyzing data that affects the fiscal and monetary policies of governments around the world, as well as explaining and forecasting economic trends based upon that data:
- Examining the statistical data on the exchange of goods and services among the different nations; and
- forecasting production and consumption of renewable resources and supply, as well as the consumption and depletion of non-renewable resources.
- Conducting research on market conditions in local, regional, or national areas to set sales and pricing levels for goods and services, to assess market potential and future trends, and to develop new business strategies:
- Monitoring regional and local economic trends.
- Writing articles for publication in newsletters and academic journals.
- Researching and analyzing economic issues to be able to provide the appropriate advice.
- Conducting surveys and collecting financial data.
- Analyzing the collected data using mathematical models and statistical techniques.
- Interpreting and forecasting market trends.
- Preparing and presenting reports, tables, and charts showing their results.
- Advising businesses, government entities, and individuals on economic/financial topics.
- Designing policies or making recommendations for solving economic issues.
The average Economist salary is $95,513 per year or $49 per hour. This is around 2.9 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $67,000 while most experienced workers make up to $134,000. These results are based on 30 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to give presentations, explain reports, and advise clients on economic issues, using non-technical language when required;
- being capable of writing with clarity, precision, and flair;
- being able to write and present economic reports based on the collected data; and
- establishing and maintaining supportive work relationships.
- Outstanding organizational and time management skills:
- Prioritizing and planning work activities in order to manage time efficiently while handling a high volume of work; and
- multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Effectively researching and analyzing numerical data, using a variety of software programs, including spreadsheets, statistical analysis, and database management programs, and providing reasonable recommendations;
- being able to review data, observe patterns, and draw logical conclusions;
- demonstrating a commitment to teamwork and collaborative problem solving, as well as an aspiration for continuous learning and professional development;
- identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner; and
- being able to exercise strategical thinking and mature judgment.
- Strong attention to detail and critical-thinking skills:
- Entering and analyzing data efficiently and accurately in order to provide more precise forecasts; and
- being able to use logic and reasoning to solve complex problems.
- Computer skills and mathematical knowledge:
- Demonstrated computer proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, including the ability to develop and use mathematical formulas and statistical programming languages (e.g. SAS, Stata, and R);
- using the principles of statistics, calculus, and other advanced topics in mathematics in their economic analyses; and
- experience in creating graphics, flow charts, and projections in order to explain forecasts.
It is crucial for this line of work to display a strong interest in applying quantitative methods to real-world research problems in various fields and industries. Economists must also have a critical eye in identifying flaws in analyses, autonomy in managing deadlines, and the ability to continuously deliver high-quality work.
Economists need a degree in quantitative sciences such as Economics, Health Economics, Biostatistics, Econometrics, or Statistics in order to apply for a job in the field. Furthermore, a master’s degree or Ph.D. is required for most Economist jobs. Positions in government entities, research, or international organizations often require a combination of graduate education and work experience. Aspiring Economists can gain valuable experience from internships that involve gathering and analyzing data, researching economic issues and trends, and writing reports on their findings. Moreover, related experience working in Business or Finance can be advantageous for the applicant, as well as demonstrating strong research skills and being proficient in synthesizing complex concepts and information from a variety of sources.
These professionals tend to work the typical 9-to-5 office hours, though they may increase significantly when working on project-based assignments or at times when publishing deadlines are approaching. Frequent travel is often required in this profession in order to attend seminars and conferences to present their work or collaborate on international projects; Economists spend a large part of their initial professional years attending external learning programs and courses, including conferences, seminars, and workshops. Developing a solid reputation and significant experience is crucial for Economists who wish to work independently.