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How To Become an Economist

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Economists are professionals who study the demand and supply of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues.

They apply economic analysis to topics within a variety of fields, such as education, health, development, and the environment.

Some economists study the cost of products, healthcare, or energy, while others examine employment levels, business cycles, exchange rates, taxes, inflation, or interest rates to calculate the national income of the country.

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From a career perspective, a degree in economics is popular because of the range of work opportunities it provides for graduates in a number of sectors.

However, economics as a field has grown increasingly complex and competition for economist jobs have begun to favour those with post-graduate degrees.

The government and the University are the largest employers of economists. In the private sector, oil and gas or other utilities-based companies rely on economists as part of forming and implementing their business model, as well as large financial institutions.


Responsibilities of an Economist


As an economist, you will need to:

  • design methods and procedures for obtaining data
  • understand various sampling techniques used to conduct different types of surveys
  • create, as well as use, econometric and other financial modelling techniques to develop forecasts
  • carry out background research and literature reviews
  • collect, sift and assemble data
  • analyse and interpret the collected data to test the effectiveness of current policies, products or services and advise on the suitability of alternative courses of action and the allocation of scarce resources
  • explain research methodology and justify conclusions drawn from research data
  • write technical and non-technical reports and policy briefs on economic trends and forecasts
  • provide economic advice to a range of stakeholders
  • evaluate past and present economic issues and trends
  • Deliver oral and visual presentations, which non-economist audiences must be able to understand in order to inform decisions.
  • analysing the performance of companies with a view to advising fund managers or clients on investments
  • analysing the economic impact of transport infrastructure developments
  • advising government, employers or trade unions on the economic implications of policy options
  • producing research on the global economy to influence international economic organisations and forums


Skills Required as an Economist


Economists are often required to have the ability to combine an analytical approach with an understanding of how economics operates within the wider world. Economist operates in a wide-open sphere that cut across multiple areas of knowledge and they should be open to new ideas, solutions, and viewpoints that take into account numerous issues and opinions.

Here are some Important Qualities that an Economist should possess:

Analytical Skills:  Economists must be able to review data in detail, observe patterns, perform advanced calculations, and draw logical conclusions. For example, labour economists analyze the effects of labour policies on employment.

Critical-thinking Skills: Economists must be able to use logic and reasoning to solve complex problems. For instance, they might identify how economic trends may affect an organization.

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Communication Skills: An economist should possess excellent written and spoken communication skills to convey complex ideas to people with varying levels of economic expertise. They are often required to present and explain reports to clients who may not have a background in economics. A lot of people may find economic discourse tedious to understand, it is important therefore for the economist to present and organise their findings in clear, intelligible way that clients and the public can relate with. Many economists prepare reports for colleagues or clients; others write for publication in journals or for news media.

Research Skill: Economist must possess the ability to extract and analyse relevant data using a range of statistical software packages.

Managerial Skill: As an economist, you may be appointed to manage a team or a department and this requires an understanding of managerial procedures. It is also essential to have the capacity to work within a team and build productive working relationships.


Educational Requirements for a Career in Economist


To become an Economist, you will need to obtain a degree in Economics. An Economics degree can come in BA and BSc forms.

A BSc degree in Economics is likely to focus more on mathematics, statistical theories and techniques for the application of mathematics in economic theories.

B.A. in Economics focuses more on qualitative modules in related social sciences fields such as sociology and psychology.

If you are convinced that a career in Economics is the right path for you, the next step is finding the right institution.

Below are some University that you can consider:

University of East Anglia: The University of East Anglia is a public research university in Norwich, England. Established in 1963, and known worldwide for its ground-breaking research in behavioural and experimental economics, and for its expertise in competition policy. The University of East Anglia also has a global reputation for research excellence in economic theory, applied econometrics, finance, and in policy areas of environment, resources, conflict and migration. With its friendly, diverse environment, you will enjoy a wonderful sense of community within the school.

The cost of tuition for international students is £15,600.00.

Stanford University: Stanford’s four-year full-time undergraduate program aims to provide a liberal education which broadens knowledge and awareness in each of the major areas of human knowledge. Stanford’s Undergraduate Economics programmes provide a toolkit for thinking about how the economy works and how economic policies affect us. It teaches students to think about real-world problems in an analytically rigorous way. And it provides the skills to analyze complex data, which is increasingly valuable in our data-driven world.

The academic year at Stanford is divided into quarters, with undergraduate tuition costing $16,901 per quarter.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Mind and Hand” is the thought-provoking motto of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, known also as MIT. This motto encapsulates this famous institution’s mission to advance knowledge in science, technology and areas of scholarship that can help to make the world a better place.

MIT’s Economics Department offers one of the most rigorous undergraduate economics educations of any U.S. college or university, and its classes attract a large undergraduate student enrolment.

The cost of tuition for international students is $67,430


Career Specializations in Economics


Research Economists:  Their job is to develop mathematical models to explain and interpret business cycles, inflation, demand, supply effects of tax policies or unemployment Use Mathematics and Statistics to the theory and principles of Economics. They apply econometrics for analysis and prediction of all economic activity

Industrial Economists: They study the organizational structure of a company or a business to maximise the use of assets to increase profits. Apart from this, they also investigate the methods of costs, analyse market trends, study demand and supply in relation to industrial policies.

International Economists:  They study, collect, and analyze the data related to foreign trade and how it can be profitable for the home country. They work and establish international trade policies, exchange control and operation of foreign exchange. They also analyse global financial markets and exchange rates.

Econometricians: They develop models and make use of mathematical analyses to study and test economic relationships. To study the same use techniques like calculus, regression analysis, game theory among others.

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Financial Economists: Their job role is to develop monetary policies, predict future financial activity. The financial economist also studies banking methods, credit structures etc.

Business Economists: They are economists who work as the company’s administrators. They make decisions about company policies, plan future business activities in relation to general business conditions, national and international trade policies, governmental regulations and directives.

Labour Economists: They study the supply of workers and the demand for labour by employers. They also study research on employment levels and how wages are set. They also analyze the effects of labour-related policies and labour-related institutions.


Job Outlook for Economics


Employment of economists is projected to grow 14%  from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects would be best for those with a master’s degree or Ph. D., and those who possess strong analytical skills, and experience using statistical analysis software.


Typical Employers of an Economist


  • Banks
  • Business journals and newspapers
  • Census organization
  • Employment organizations
  • Finance and investment firms
  • Government and public enterprises
  • Labour departments
  • Labour tribunals
  • Market research organisations
  • Stock Exchanges
  • Media Houses
  • Research organizations


Salary Estimates for Economist


  • In the UK, Economists earn about £23,000 to £30,000 when starting out and this may increase to £35,000 with a few more years of experience.
  • Economists in Canada could expect to start out on a salary of about $52,000 moving upwards to $90,000 for senior roles.
  • In the USA the starting salary for graduates is about $50,000 which can move upwards of $80,000 for senior roles.

Postgraduate Options for Economist


Economics MSc, University of Warwick: University of Warwick’s Economics Master’s degree offers a combination of strong core studies, specialist options and the opportunity to conduct academic research with the guidance of world-leading experts.

Warwick Economics department, which is the 3rd in the UK in The Complete University Guide 2020, provides professional training in modern economics.

Economics and Finance MA, University of Alberta: The Department of Economics at the University of Alberta offers a 24 month course-based MA in Economics and Finance.

The Faculty and students are involved in the following areas of research: Applied Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics; Environmental, Natural Resource, and Energy Economics; Monetary and Financial Economics; International and Development Economics; Labour and Education Economics; Industrial Organization and Regulatory Economics; Public Economics and Law and Economics; and Health Economics.

Economics MA, Columbia University: Columbia University’s MA program in Economics is intended for students who wish to improve their knowledge of economic theory and its applications, but who plan to pursue only the MA degree.

The MA program may also be of interest to students seeking further training in economics before deciding whether to pursue a PhD in economics.

The program has been designed to provide a technical and rigorous approach to the study of economic theory. At the same time, the program offers students the flexibility to take field electives in order to tailor their programs of study to their academic and professional areas of specialization.


Careers Related to Economics



Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk of potential events, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk. Actuaries’ work is essential to the insurance industry.

Budget Analysts

Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances. They prepare budget reports and monitor institutional spending.

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.





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