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?

You’ll help governments develop policies, and businesses plan financial strategies.
 
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

In university-based jobs you’ll teach students and carry out research.

You’ll need a degree in economics or a related subject like business studies. Your course must include both macro and microeconomics.

Some employers may prefer you to have a postgraduate qualification in economics. 

In the private sector, you’ll usually start as an economic research officer or analyst. Employers may accept degrees in related subjects, like maths, statistics, or finance and accounting.

In the public sector, you could start as an assistant economist with the Government Economic Service (GES) and follow a structured fast-track development programme. 

You’ll need a degree (2:1 or higher) in economics or a combined degree with at least 50 per cent economics.

The Civil Service Fast Stream has more information on becoming an economist for the government.

£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.

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

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • research skills
  • the ability to analyse complex information and statistics
  • report writing skills
  • maths and IT skills
  • communication skills, for explaining complex information clearly
  • organisational ability, for working on several projects at once
  • the ability to build good working relationships with a range of professionals
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