A career in economics can be more diverse than you might first imagine. Economics is more than stocks, finance, banking, and government. Most jobs in economics don’t even have the word economics in the title. So, what is economics, and what type of work do economics professionals do?
Economics is a discipline focused on understanding the science of human behavior and using it to shape the world around us.
Because economics is vital to our everyday lives, it should be no surprise that its job outlook is more bull than bear. The demand is expected to be strongest in the private industry, particularly with scientific, management, and consulting services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports job opportunities will be best for individuals with strong quantitative and analytical skills, related work experience, and advanced degrees.
Your educational qualifications and experience, as well as local market factors, can influence your job opportunities and salary potential. Keep reading to explore a sample of the many paths you can take in your economics career.
Advance Your Career with a Master’s in Economics
Combine theory with practice to prepare for a career contributing to social, economic, and environmental change.
What Can You Do with an Economics Degree?
A master’s degree is the gateway to hundreds of job opportunities spanning the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, as well as academic research. In the world of economics, a master’s degree is typically the entry-level education required for an economics career. With an advanced degree in economics, you also have the opportunity to edge your foot in the door of leading companies and be uniquely positioned to move up the ranks quickly.
Economics graduates work in a variety of industries, including:
- Financial services
- Public policy
- Urban planning
Fortunately for aspiring professionals, there’s no shortage of paths you can take in your economics career. You can shape public policy at one of the preeminent think tanks in the country, help economically underdeveloped areas worldwide learn how to thrive, or work as an advisor on Wall Street. Your path to success is wide-open.
Top 10 In-Demand Economics Careers
These 10 lucrative and growing economics jobs will put you on a clear path toward success.
1. Securities Trader
Median Pay: $130,299
Securities traders invest and sell securities for clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies. They’re responsible for the success of these transactions and use their economic knowledge and foresight to make sound decisions. This fast-paced job requires strong communication and writing skills and lots of energy. Because securities traders spend their days contacting market makers to execute client orders, prepare financial reports to monitor corporate finances, and review securities transactions.
2. Financial Manager
Median Pay: $129,890
This is a classic job for business economics majors since it involves analyzing market trends to reduce a business’s costs and increase its profits. Financial managers also devise strategies to help companies expand. An undergraduate degree is the bare minimum requirement, but most employers look for candidates with a master’s degree and five-plus years of experience in the financial field. The best part? The number of available financial manager jobs is projected to grow 15 percent by 2029.
Median Pay: $129,826
Economists study how society uses limited resources, such as land, water, raw materials, and human labor, to satisfy their needs and wants. They then take the insights they learn to forecast market trends, build economic models, and present their findings to senior managers. Like many other master’s in economics jobs, this career requires excellent inductive and deductive reasoning skills.
Median Pay: $122,960
Lawyers can impact a wide range of issues such as law, business, and finance. General job duties can range from representing clients in court to performing research on legal issues. Because legal work often requires finding patterns and inconsistencies in large amounts of information, lawyers with an advanced degree in economics can excel in the field.
Median Pay: $121,077
Actuaries, like other master’s of economics jobs, handle data and deal with matters of probability. They examine data for specific situations, especially disasters like floods. Then, they figure out the probability of these events happening in specific regions. They typically work for entities like insurance companies, helping to determine their prices and coverage options. With projected job growth of 18 percent by 2029, the future for actuaries looks bright.
6. Data Scientist
Median Pay: $116,185
Data scientists collect, interpret, and publish data to help support economic decision-making. The data they find often applies to finances or productivity in the business world. For example, a data scientist may look at sales figures against business decisions made over a specific time frame to determine how successful those decisions were. These professionals provide the forecasting knowledge a business needs to know whether changes will be significant before deciding. Data scientists working in this discipline may have a master’s degree in economics and work in various industries, such as IT, healthcare, finance, retail, or marketing.
7. Management Consultant
Median Pay: $103,022
Management consultants propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. Among the master’s of economics jobs, management consultants have one of the most important for private businesses. They analyze economic trends and business practices, and they advise business owners on maximizing their earnings while minimizing their risks.
8. Mathematicians and Statisticians
Median Pay: $93,808
Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply mathematical and statistical techniques to solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. They typically work in conjunction with other professionals to interpret numerical data to determine or project outcomes and needs, whether statistical or mathematical. Jobs in this field are projected to grow a whopping 33 percent by 2029.
9. Budget Analyst
Median Pay: $81,344
Budget analysts evaluate budget proposals to determine the optimal allocation of project funds. They’re responsible for reviewing budget proposals and requests for funding, evaluating spending needs, conducting cost-benefit analyses, and other duties. Budget analysts are well-versed in statistical modeling and are expert mathematicians. Beyond their quantitative skill set, they also need to petition and persuade management to approve their requests, requiring good communication and interpersonal skills.
10. Pricing Analyst
Median Pay: $72,220
Pricing analysts have to juggle many tasks. They combine economic data with marketing research and use it to determine the ideal prices for certain products and services. The business owners who employ pricing analysts want to know how they strike the right balance in their pricing and maximize their profits without alienating potential clients. Pricing analysts help them find that balance.
The Benefits of Advancing Your Economics Career
Here are three ways that furthering your economics education and career can positively impact your life.
1. You’ll learn how you fit into the financial picture of life.
Economics influences your daily life in more ways than one. Want to know why the price of gasoline changes? How about why watching a summer blockbuster at the movie theater is more expensive at night? What about why Uncle Sam takes so much money out of your paycheck? Earning a master’s degree in economics can help you figure out the answers to these questions and a whole lot more. It will also help you understand financial trends and can help lead you to higher-paying jobs.
2. You’ll gain powerful insights.
Economic analysis can generate insights into people’s behaviors, allowing society to use scarce resources in innovative ways. By increasing our country’s gross domestic product, we can improve the allocation of resources, so people have access to healthier food, education opportunities, clean water, and the ability to protect themselves and their communities against deadly diseases.
3. You’ll see the world in a whole new light.
With an advanced degree in economics, you’ll see trends others won’t. For example, let’s say the government creates a tax to pay for a program. If the tax isn’t well-crafted, the tax may change people’s buying behavior, leading to a downturn in the economy. As an economist, you’ll have the unique ability to see these trends and provide solutions.
Take the Next Step in Your Economics Career
As industries continue to evolve rapidly, there’s a growing need now more than ever for skilled professionals with an advanced degree in economics to lead the way. If you’re interested in advancing your economics career, explore Northeastern’s program page to learn more about how earning a Master of Science in Economics can help.