Career Options: Economics

An Economics degree gives you one of the widest range of skills and knowledge of any degree. Not only have you acquired knowledge of the science of economics which plays such an important role in all modern societies, but also an understanding of the social impact of economic policies. Having studies such topics you'll have developed a large number of sought-after employment skills; these would include data analysis and interpretation, IT, problem solving, and communication.
Economics Career Options
Graduate Destinations What did last year's undergraduates go on to do? For job titles and employers see the main Destinations section.
Main Activity - Undergraduates (as %)
Main Activity - Undergraduates (as %)
Knowns only
2014
Full-time paid work 75
Part-time paid work 3
Work and study 3
Full-time study 9
Unemployed 6
Other (travel) 3

Through working with your colleagues you'll have become familiar with team working, and the importance of sound listening skills and working co-operatively. In addition you'll have honed your presentation abilities. So with such skills and knowledge an extensive range of career options is open to you, either directly on graduation or after further professional or academic study. Of course with such choice it is important that you spend time considering how, and where you wish to use your knowledge, skills and interests.

For more details on all opportunities, look at the data opposite and the details below for more information.

Sectors

These links show: how the sectors break down; the main graduate recruiters; characteristics of working in the sector and key current issues; as well as lists of job roles available in the sector.

Economics graduates will be found in all sectors of the economy. Many work within the private sector, often directly using their subject knowledge in economic consultancies, financial organisations, or policy think tanks. Many others will enter the public sector making use of their specialist economics background, or in other administrative roles in the departments and agencies of central and local government, or the health service. Whilst others will use their background skills and interests in a variety of roles in many other sectors including accountancy and banking, retail, manufacturing industry, and the extensive communications sector.

Roles

The study of your discipline may have already helped you tailor your career interests. The following roles are often entered by graduates from your discipline. Each job title typically links through to a detailed generic job description which includes a broad job description, salary and conditions, entry requirements, typical recruiters and links to further, pre-assessed, useful information.

Economist

Economist - Economists provide specialist advice based on the application of economic theory and knowledge. They do this by studying data and statistics and using their understanding of economic relationships to uncover trends, carrying out considerable amounts of research and collecting large amounts of information. They then analyse all the data they have amassed to assess feasibility, produce forecasts of economic trends, determine the implications of their findings and make recommendations of ways to improve efficiency. They may be found in Government, The Bank of England, and in Private Consultancies in the UK and Overseas.

Chartered Accountant/Auditor

Chartered Accountant - Chartered Accountants/Auditors provide services for and safeguard clients ensuring business accounts are a true and fair reflection of their real financial situation. If you'd prefer to advise one larger business, then consider Management Accountancy. Chemists can specialise with science employers or scientific clients.

Financial Risk Analyst

Financial Risk Analyst - this role involves identifying and analysing any risks that may negatively impact on the assets and potential earnings of those assets for a client. The work involves forecasting costs and anticipating relevant changes and trends.

Investment Analyst

Investment Analyst - Investment analysts support investment fund managers making decisions through the provision of information and data about the risks associated with investment portfolios.

Investment Banker

Investment bankers support investment fund managers making decisions through the provision of information and data about the risks associated with investment portfolios - see Prospects job description and Oxford Careers job description.

Management Consultant

Management Consultant - Management consultants help organisations improve their business performance; typically by exploring areas such as strategy, structure, management or operations of an organisation. They will suggest recommendations for change and may provide resources to help implement solutions.

Tax Inspector

Tax Inspector - Tax inspectors work within HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) ensuring organisations and individuals pay the correct amount of tax at the right time. In addition Inspectors detect and investigate tax evasion; where tax is disputed they represent HMRC at independent appeal tribunals.

Underwriter

Underwriter - An insurance underwriter will assess the risks of applications for insurance cover. This can be a routine assessment for common forms of insurance or very complex calculations that involve weighing up many variables for other forms. The aim is to minimise company losses and ensure a profit is made which can be complicated when assessing unusual risks such as sending satellites into space or oil tankers across an ocean.

Marketing Executive

Marketing Executive - This role creates marketing campaigns to improve sales of products or services and involves planning campaigns, organising advertising and PR, research with consumers and new product development. Brand Managers focus on the visual concepts in marketing.

Higher Education Lecturer

Higher Education Lecturer - HE lecturers teach subjects to undergraduate and postgraduate students via lectures, seminars, tutorials, demonstrations, field work and blended learning. They typically balance this demand alongside a thriving research career which results in publications that bolster their academic reputation. Administration, and ultimately management, is also an important part of the job.

Finding Opportunities

For researching professional training and other postgraduate courses, Prospects provides a comprehensive source of information. Many professional economist jobs would expect you to have developed the study of your discipline via a postgraduate course. Lecturers within your department could be a useful source of information on these higher degrees, either taught or by research. Should your desired occupation require a professional course of training, the relevant professional Institute will provide information on available courses. Some of the occupations listed above, e.g. accountancy, would require you to train "on the job", but following professional training courses, sponsored by your employer, but sometimes in your own time. Do check via the information sources above, and by talking to Careers Advisers so that you are aware of the implications of your choices.

As with most occupations work experience, internships, voluntary work and work shadowing can help enormously in helping you to decide not only on the work area that suits you, but also in finding employment. The web links below to will provide details of some opportunities. Many opportunities aren't advertised so networking through contacts, department's alumni/ae, Societies, and direct approaches to potential employers may also be profitable. Don't neglect the possibility of approaching small organisations and companies local to your home area with a suitably composed covering letter. Using your local media may also be useful as advertising nationally can be expensive for employers. See the Careers Centre's information on Placements and other experience which has advice on how to go about this activity, and links to many useful vacancy sites.

Large employers will advertise their vacancies directly to students via the Careers Centre - see the My Jobs Online portal.

Many employers will advertise roles through the relevant professional training body or associations that represent those organisations thus roles in accountancy will often be advertised on the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) website and on the CIMA website for Management Accountancy.

You'll find the links listed below also helpful to explore opportunities and vacancies:

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