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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 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in an office or at a university.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • a graduate training scheme
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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths or economics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could complete a professional economist or senior professional economist degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could start as an economic research officer or analyst in the private sector and work your way up.

Other routes

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.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

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

Further information

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

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
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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