Although economics is typically categorized as a social science, it also draws a lot upon business coursework, opening the door for graduates of economics programs to work in a variety of business settings. Having an academic background in economics also equips you with critical workplace skills like conducting research, analyzing and synthesizing data, determining trends, and communicating about your findings. Below we’ve compiled some career ideas that would make an excellent fit for drawing upon the unique strengths of an economic major.
1. Financial Advisor
Economics majors spend a lot of their coursework learning about numbers and money, so a career as a financial advisor would be a natural fit. Financial advisors, also known as financial planners, assist their clients with their financial goals and provide guidance on investments, savings, insurance, mortgages, retirement, and more. This job involves conducting research into market conditions; understanding stocks, bonds, and funds; and having strong interpersonal skills since this is a client-facing role.
2. Economics/Business Reporter
Economics majors are adept at writing, analysis, and research, all of which are essential for a career as a reporter or journalist. More specifically, economics majors can choose to specialize in economics and business reporting due to their subject matter expertise. Business reporters work for news organizations, online publications, or in-house for companies to write business/economics news, interview industry experts, and translate complex business concepts to an audience.
Actuaries work with statistics and computer programs to calculate the risks and possible outcomes associated with major business decisions. These major business decisions might include pricing out new policies for an insurance company or determining investment options on behalf of a bank or pension provider. Furthermore, actuaries seek to manage and reduce the risks involved, as well as maximize financial viability for a company. Most actuaries work in the insurance industry, although others might work in consulting, government, or finance. To become an actuary, you must pass a series of certification exams in addition to receiving your bachelor’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an actuary is $102,880 per year.
4. Market Research Analyst
Another one of the research-intensive jobs on this list is market research analyst. Market research analysts use quantitative and qualitative data to gain a better understanding of market conditions that will affect the consumer landscape, as well as the demand for a company’s products or services. Market research analysts might use surveys, polls, or focus groups in order to gather their data about consumer preferences, and then must also synthesize, analyze, and present findings to their employer (if they work in-house) or to a client (if they work for an agency or consulting firm).
5. Investment Banker
Economics majors who have an interest in working on Wall Street should consider a career as an investment banker. Investment bankers issue stocks and bonds on behalf of companies and government agencies in order to assist them in raising money. They also assist in mergers and acquisitions, as well as coordinating the launch of an initial public offering (IPO) for a company. Investment bankers also fill out the necessary paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ensure compliance for their financial activities. Investment bankers are known for working long hours, traveling often, and commanding high salaries.
6. Management Consultant
While many of the jobs on this list draw most on quantitative reasoning and data skills, a career as a management consultant is more client-facing role and therefore requires interpersonal skills. Management consultants are contracted by organizations to analyze which operational, financial, and leadership procedures are working well and which could use improvement. To get a snapshot of the client’s current situation, management consultants gather data from interviews, observations, and financial statements, then create an actionable solutions based on the data and present those findings to the client’s senior leadership.
7. Budget Analyst
Budget analysts work within organizations to assist with managing a company-wide or department-wide budget, allocating funds appropriately to different areas of business, suggesting spending cuts when necessary, and estimating future costs. They often work in conjunction with company executives and project managers and typically prepare an annual report for review. As with many of the other jobs on this list, budget analysts must be skilled in data analysis and reporting. Since budget analysts are employed by every type of organization, this gives you the freedom to explore different industries, company sizes, and types of workplaces – as well as using the skills you learned in your major!
8. Insurance Underwriter
Insurance underwriters analyze data to evaluate the risks associated with individual or corporate applicants for insurance and determine the appropriate cost for a premium. Underwriters often focus on a specific niche within insurance, such as auto, home, commercial, or travel. Based on the specific type of insurance that underwriters work with, some of the data that they analyze include financial statements, location, and driving record. Insurance underwriters often work with actuaries and sales agents, and this is typically not a client-facing role.
9. Statistician / Data Analyst
These two jobs have a lot of overlap in job responsibilities, though their level of educational requirements differ. Statisticians and data analysts collect and analyze quantitative data, distilling it into actionable insights and predictions for higher-level executives to use in making decisions. Professionals with these jobs are often employed by market research companies, hospitals and healthcare organizations, educational institutions, think tanks, and government agencies. Most statisticians pursue a graduate degree, although some government organizations will hire individuals with a bachelor’s degree. Data analysts typically do not require advanced education, but a bachelor’s in economics fosters both the technical skills and soft skills used in this occupation.
Last but not least, economics majors can become economists! Similar to the academic curriculum associated with an economics major, economists study market activity at the domestic and international scale, and understand how the world’s scarce resources are allocated. Economists often use their statistical background to analyze financial and socioeconomic data, make informed predictions about the future of the economy, and present actionable recommendations to organizations and governments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most economists are required to have a master’s degree or Ph.D. However, it is still possible to work in an entry-level position with the federal government with a bachelor’s degree.
Economics majors are also highly sought after for a variety of internship and leadership development programs, providing the opportunity to explore different fields and determine the best fit while still in college. With an economics major under your belt, the sky is the limit!