Finance & accounting

Economist

Economists advise government departments, businesses, banks and other organisations about the economy.

Annual Salary

£25,000 to £80,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

37

What's it all about?

Your work will vary depending on whether you’re advising the government or business sector, but your day-to-day duties might include:

  • researching information from computer databases, websites, journals and newspapers
  • monitoring past and present economic issues and trends
  • creating mathematical models to predict future economic developments
  • analysing statistics
  • writing reports and presenting findings
  • examining the effectiveness of current policies
  • advising on the potential economic impact of policies and ideas

University

You'll need a degree in economics or a related subject, like:

  • statistics
  • mathematics
  • business studies
  • finance and accounting

Some employers may prefer you to have a postgraduate master's degree in economics.

Your university course should include both macro and microeconomics.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • 2 or more A levels, including maths or economics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

Apprenticeship

You could complete a professional economist degree apprenticeship.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship

£25,000 to £80,000

Starter salary: £25,000 to £28,000 (assistant)

Experienced salary: £43,000 to £55,000 (adviser)

Private companies may offer higher salaries than in the public sector or government.

These figures are a guide.

37

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

You’ll be office-based, but may need to travel in the UK and possibly overseas.

You could apply for a place on the Government Economic Service Fast Stream programme, starting out as an assistant economist.

You'll need a degree in economics or a combined degree, with at least 50% economics. A postgraduate award in economics may be acceptable.

You can find professional development training and networking opportunities with the Royal Economic Society and the The Society of Professional Economists.

With experience, you could progress to senior levels or become a self-employed freelance consultant.

You'll find more advice about working as an economist in the public sector through the Government Economic Service.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of economics and accounting
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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