After graduation, you are faced with another journey – finding a suitable job. For economics graduates, most of the jobs they get do not come with ‘economist’ as the job title. This is a challenge because many potential employers feel that economics is all about monetary and fiscal policies or at most, determining the GDP of a country.
This slows down the chances of an average economics graduate getting a job offer. It takes smartness to major in economics and this is a strong one should leverage on. However, there are skills that you will need to look out for in any job opening. Since some job vacancies are not going to specify that an economist is needed to fill out a particular position, you need to outsmart the situation and get yourself a job.
Not to sound out of place, there are common career paths that are open to economics majors and they include:
- Pure economist
- Economic analyst
- Economic research assistant
- Financial planner
- Economic researcher
- Financial risk analyst
- Financial consultant
- Investment consultant, and so on
If for any reason, you want a closely-related job in economics, you could look for jobs with the following skills.
- Communication: If you have the ability to explain ambiguous situations in a very simple and concise term, you might consider job options with communication skills. You could also take a course in communications to master the skill better.
- Data analysis and statistics: Ability to manipulate data, statistics, and finding relationships between variables are very important to an economist. Your ability to analyze a situation and choose whether, for instance, to make a profit by selling your product at a cheaper rate to a large number of people or making the product more expensive and attract only a few high-paying clients could get you a job in a firm. So, you should know the factors that could lead to higher sales and lower costs.
- Learning about new products: Some firms try to test-run the market before launching out their products. This could be an opportunity for you to get a job. Fast-growing industries might be in need of such an ability.
- Other common job openings graduates with economic backgrounds could kick off their careers include auditing, stock brokerage, insurance, business management, price analysis, statistics, sales, financial consultancy, and a host of them. This is to tell you that there is virtually no job you cannot do.
- In some extreme cases, you may want to consider broader career options like international development, business intelligence, IT, journalism, public relations, politics, business law, human resources, management, marketing, researching, and many more. You could even consider entrepreneurial skills and build up your own business. In everything, you will need to acquire some relevant skills necessary to scale through.
Starting a Successful Career in Economics
To start a successful career with an economics major, you need to start the preparation, even while in your grad school. This will help you to make the best of your education and also become a hot cake after graduation. Like we pointed out, working with a degree in economics does not entail working in a government establishment only, there are other jobs you could do that have no business with your certificate. This is why you must brush up your skills in related fields so as to spread out the more.
It is of utmost necessity for you to start early to sharpen your skills in relevant fields because you may not have time after graduation. This could put you in a tight corner when you have needed it. The following skills will be very useful for you to acquire. You may not have all of them, but a combination of them will give you an edge when applying for jobs. Similarly, you may not acquire them at once. Drip makes a mighty ocean. Just start with one and keep improving all along.
- Math skills: Knowing your way through numbers and ability to analyze data could help you secure a good position in one of the biggest firms in the world. If you lack math skills, you could take remedial courses to improve.
- Software and programming skills: Computer skills like Word, Access, Tableau, Excel, and Powerpoint are compulsory. Data analysis is something an economist should not joke with. This is why you should not overestimate your knowledge of Excel. You could also consider enrolling in any spreadsheet course, as the skill will give you an edge over other applicants when you are applying for a vacant position. Knowledge of the computer is very important in any field because of the jet age. There is virtually nothing you can do without computer literacy. So, get yourself equipped ahead of time.
- Enroll in an internship: You may not get a paid internship, still, enroll in one. Getting the experience will pay you in the long run. If you are being offered some money for the internship, it means that you are being paid to acquire experience. Luck could shine on you too and you are hired afterward. You could see that internship is a very great option. Sadly, it is very difficult to get; every student is looking for one.
- Networking: Networking with people is the best connection nowadays. Getting some jobs in some countries is based on who you know versus who knows you. You could know someone but he does not know you. Networking helps to bridge this gap. Send mail to people. Get to know your professors and classmates. Go on a date with close friends who could also come with their other friends. Social media platforms could help you to reach out to quite a large number of people these days. Be polite while reaching out to people as it will help them to open up to you.
- Do not joke with your studies: You need your grades to scale up too. While in school, you could get distracted by the happenings around you. Don’t forget that if your grade is poor, other skills may not outshine it. Look forward to smashing your academic goals.
- Do some part-time jobs: Part-time jobs help to build your resume. Getting some certifications will also add some beautiful feathers to the resume. So, start building up now.
- Participate in some services: Community service, volunteering, organizing events, and so on, will help to boost your chances of starting your career with economics. They all provide you with opportunities to practice your leadership skills and also gain experiences.
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Industries Where Economics Majors can Build their Careers
There is no industry where economics graduates cannot work. However, there are industries that are in many demands of these set of people. If you can gear up your job search in these industries, you are likely going to start off a career in any of them.
Companies are taking advantage of the internet for analytics. With your skills as a data analyst, you can pitch your tent in one of these companies, thereby building your career.
The health sector may be great at analyzing people’s health conditions, but they may not be able to analyze their costs. You can focus your job search in the health sector and find yourself upscaling every hurdle.
The banking sector is a related sector of economics and may not mind having economists as one of them. You could be employed to take up roles in financial control, financial planning, data analysis, risk analysis, and so on.
If you can take up some professional accounting courses, you might be able to get jobs in the accounting sector. Furthermore, there are some accounting roles you can take up across different industries. Recording, classifying, interpreting, communicating, and analyzing the financial situation of a firm is one of the duties you can perform as an accountant.
Business and financial consultancy is another field in which you can build your career as an economist. Economic experts are ruling the business world. You too can! Companies that need economic researchers could hire you to assess some economic theories and models with your analytical, mathematics, and problem-solving skills.
In the public sector or government owned- institutions, an economics major will be very relevant. There are so many available roles you can take up and they could be pricing and risk analysis, economic planning and financial consultancy. Your career could boom in areas like public taxation,waste management services, commercial, transportation and any kind of government spending. With the recent global recession, economists are in high demands in the public sector.
Data analysis and actuarial sectors also have the need for economic graduates to be part of the crew. Your role in the actuary cannot be overemphasized as it involves determination and advice on the effect of financial risks or uncertainties. You are also required to devise means by which these risks and uncertainties could be reduced or completely eliminated. You need to be skilled in mathematics and statistics in order to excel in this career.
How Much Does an Economics Graduate Earn?
As a fresh graduate, you may not start earning so much in your career. But as you progress, gathering experiences and building your career, you are likely to earn enormously. The Institute for Fiscal Studies reported that economics is the second most lucrative degree subject in the world. So, looking at what you could earn ten years after graduation, nothing less than 100,000 pounds should grace your account. This is according to the report. As an economist, you cannot be stuck in life when it comes to career building and advancement.
Whatever you decide to do should be based on your strengths, capabilities, interests, and so on. If you start a career in a field you do not like, you might end up frustrated or become stuck in life. Nevertheless, you can choose to have a change of career, acquire some relevant skills, and move. Don’t forget to go for your masters and doctoral programs as they will help to make you an authority in your career choice.