Consulting & Strategy
Economists study the production and distribution of goods and services by analysing data, researching trends and evaluating economic issues.
What does an Economist do?
Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analysing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues. They advise and provide forecasts on areas such as taxation, wages and prices, employment and unemployment, imports and exports, and interest and exchange rates.
As an economist, your research would help governments or businesses to develop policies and plan financial strategies. Your work would vary according to whether you were advising the government or business sector, but typical tasks would include:
- researching information from a variety of sources
- monitoring past and present economic issues and trends
- creating mathematical models to predict future economic developments
- analysing statistics
- producing reports and presenting findings to your employer or client
- writing reports for the press
- examining the effectiveness of current policies
- advising on the potential economic impact of policies and ideas.
In university-based jobs you may also teach students as well as carrying out research work.
You might also specialise in a particular area, such as environmental economics, where you might conduct analysis related to environmental protection and use of the natural environment, such as water, air, land, and renewable energy resources.
Key skills and interests
To become an economist, you would need:
- an excellent understanding of business and economic theory
- good research skills
- the ability to analyse complex information and statistics
- good mathematics and computer skills
- good communication skills, with the ability to explain complex issues to non-economists
- report writing skills.
Working hours and conditions
An economist would typically work standard office hours Monday to Friday, although flexible and part-time work may be available with some employers.
The work is generally office-based. You may need to travel, depending on the projects you were working on.
How to become an Economist?
Entry Level Education
To become an economist you usually have to complete a degree in economics at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics and economics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Employment of economists is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Businesses and organisations across many industries are increasingly relying on economic analysis and quantitative methods to analyse and forecast business, sales, and other economic trends.
Demand for economists should grow as a result of the increasing complexity of the global economy, additional financial regulations, and a more competitive business environment. As a result, there will be strong demand for economists in private industry, especially in management, scientific, and professional consulting services.