If you’re studying economics and don’t know what you want to do yet, don’t worry — you’re not alone! Plenty of people still in college (and even after, for that matter) are still trying to figure out what their ideal career path is.
While you don’t have to make your decision just yet, now is a great time to start learning more about the different opportunities available to you. To aid you in your search, we’ve put together a guide that will help you identify your marketable skillsets and evaluate career paths. Read on below!
Skills for Economics Majors
The skills you gain from studying economics are invaluable in an era where companies are increasingly looking for candidates with a quantitative background. Your economics studies will give you tools that are highly desirable in the workplace, such as:
- Data analysis
- Quantitative reasoning
- Critical thinking
- Knowledge of how markets operate
- An understanding of business
Where to Begin Your Career After Getting an Economics Degree
Don't feel pressured to immediately select your dream career — start small by simply identifying where your passions lie. For example, if you really enjoy identifying trends in data and crunching numbers, you would likely be well-suited for a field such as data science or statistics. If you love learning about how legislation affects the market, you might consider pursuing a career in policy. Research which titles are associated with each field, and browse open roles on Glassdoor to get a better idea of what your job options are.
It’s also worth considering which kind of working environment is best for you based on your personality and work style. If you want to move quickly and make a big impact, you may want to consider working at a small, nimble startup. If you’re passionate about serving the public good, a career in government may be for you. And if you want to work with large data sets and have significant resources at your team’s disposal, you may want to work for a larger, more established company or financial institution.
Job Search Tips for Economics Majors
Regardless of your major, many of the typical job search tips will apply — for example, it’s always a good idea to network with others in your field, research the companies you’re interested in and rehearse before an interview. But there are a few things that economics majors should be particularly mindful of.
- Think outside the box. Most economics majors know that there are plenty of job opportunities for them in finance and government, but don’t discount the private sector! Many companies, especially in tech, are increasingly seeing the value of hiring economists, and roles in demand forecasting and data science are available everywhere from retail companies to software as a service (SaaS) companies.
- Go on as many informational interviews as possible. Because there are so many different career paths within economics, it’s critical that you research your options thoroughly. While you can certainly find a lot of information online, there’s nothing quite like talking to somebody firsthand to understand what a certain job involves and how you can make your application stand out. Not sure who to go to? Turn to your friends, family, online network, alumni associations and professional organizations for contacts.
- Hone your technical skills. In today’s high tech, data-driven world, hard skills reign supreme. Look up which technologies, software programs and coding languages are associated with the field you’re interested in, and then familiarize yourself with them. For instance, many economists in private sector jobs regularly use R and Python, so gaining a working knowledge of those languages is sure to impress.
Receiving your bachelor’s degree in economics doesn’t have to signal the end of your formal learning. Many universities offer master’s and PhD programs in economics, although whether or not you decide to pursue one will depend on what exactly you’re hoping to get out of the experience.
Universities in the United States typically don’t offer bespoke master’s programs in economics, but there are a few who do, as well as many options abroad. A master’s in economics will usually take between one to two years to complete, and will cost in the tens of thousands of dollars range. However, they can be beneficial to those who are hoping to climb the ranks in financial services or consulting.
PhD programs, on the other hand, typically don’t cost anything, as they’re fully-funded by universities. They take between five and seven years to complete and are best for those who are hoping to work in academia or pursue high-ranking positions in fields like government, research and policy. It’s worth noting that both master’s and PhD economics programs involve a great deal of math, so if that’s not your forte, you might want to consider an alternate path.
Another common advanced degree for economics majors to pursue is an MBA. MBAs can help provide you with invaluable business and strategy skills, and position you well for management and leadership roles. MBAs typically take two years and cost in the tens of thousands of dollars range — however, MBAs often lead to higher salaries down the road.
Some common roles for economics majors don’t require an advanced degree, but do require additional licensing or certification. This includes jobs like:
Most Common Jobs for Economics Majors
If you’re majoring in economics, congratulations — you will likely be entering a lucrative field! In fact, Glassdoor found that economics was one of the highest-paying college majors. Some of the most common jobs for economics majors include:
Entry-Level Economics Major Jobs
Finding a job right out of college can seem challenging, but there are plenty of great options for new graduates who majored in economics. A few ideas to get you started:
Top Jobs for Economics Majors
Average Base Pay: $102,339/yr
Economists interpret data, perform research, identify trends and make predictions based on the information that they gather. Contrary to popular belief, economists don’t just work for the federal government or think tanks — it’s one of the hottest jobs in tech right now, and many other mainstream companies are jumping on the trend as well.
Average Base Pay: $117,345/yr
With a high job satisfaction rating, median base pay and number of open jobs, Data Scientist has earned the #1 spot on Glassdoor’s Best Jobs in America list for four years in a row. At their core, Data Scientists look at large volumes of data in order to identify trends and derive insights. This information is then used to influence business decisions.
Average Base Pay: $105,031/yr
Actuaries analyze the probability of certain events happening. Often employed by insurance companies, they typically look at the likelihood of risks like fires, accidents or flooding to help inform the financial strategy behind insurance policies.
Average Base Pay: $105,461/yr
Management Consultants are responsible for providing high-level recommendations on how a business should be run. Focused on efficiency, improvement and profit maximization, these influential employees identify areas of risk and opportunity throughout a business’s operations in order to drive growth.
Average Base Pay: $68,611/yr
Pricing Analysts combine analytical skills and market research to strategically determine the optimal price for products and services. Specific tasks may involve conducting a competitive pricing audit, working with secret shoppers, monitoring the price of raw materials and collaborating with product marketing teams on pricing strategy and messaging.
Internships for Economics Majors
With so many options, where should you begin your internship search as an economics major? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Now that you know which types of jobs to look for and where to apply, brush up on some job search basics to prep yourself for success! From resume advice to interviewing tips and more, Glassdoor’s got you covered.